Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Path of Wisdom


Knowledge is everywhere,
Like carbon atoms surrounding us on earth.
Intelligence is abundant,
As coal deposits with utility and worth.
But wisdom is fairly scarce,
Like dazzling diamonds, most precious since their birth.
All carbon, all related, but not the same.


Knowledge is understanding;
Each path, its length and its direction.
Intelligence is discerning;
The benefit of the path selection.
But true wisdom is choosing;
To walk the strait path of perfection.
All are good but wisdom is man’s best aim.


Wisdom rejects egotism.
The major obstacle to overcome.
A lust for power and riches,
Causes too many people to succumb.
Unchecked physical passions,
Prevent that which one might have become.
All evils shun wisdom, equally to blame.


Proverbs tells all good things are not the same.
“For wisdom is more precious than rubies,
And nothing you desire can compare.”
Wisdom, of all, is worthy of acclaim.


The twenty-first century has brought us a world where knowledge of almost any topic is at our fingertips.  A ubiquitous store of information is available to anyone who has access to a computer or a smart phone.

This almost limitless accumulation of facts should mean that mankind would make better choices and be better people than in the past.  That does not appear to be the case.  You can read thousands of books or spend all of your free time Googling but that does not mean that you will make wise choices.

There are millions of very intelligent people on earth.  They have the ability to understand the knowledge that is around them.  They are learned and are able to determine how separate facts relate to one another.

With so many intelligent people on earth, mankind should be able to make better choices and be better people than in the past.  That does not appear to be the case.    You can be incredibly intelligent and have multiple degrees from renowned universities but that does not mean that you will make wise choices.

Those who are wise choose the correct information that will achieve the best result for all and then properly use that information to govern their lives.  Wisdom does not come from having the most information or being the smartest.  Wisdom comes from avoiding the traps that ensnare most knowledgeable, intelligent people.  The wise are not seduced by the sophistries of society and their own agendas and egos. They, instead, focus on the best answers to the problems that face mankind.

Consider the powerful and intelligent people who have destroyed their reputations, and the lives of others, by making unwise choices.  In recent history those names would include Bernie Madoff, Richard Nixon, Jeff Skilling, Bill Clinton, Dennis Koslowski, Jerry Sandusky, and the list goes on.

Wisdom only comes to those who can successfully abstain from egotism, lust for power and riches and unchecked physical appetites.  These three evils have disgraced powerful men and women since the dawn of civilization.  These same evils also damage those of us who are less knowledgeable and intelligent.

Pride and ego continue to plague even those who can control the other two evils.  It is insidious because everyone wants to feel good about themselves and what they are doing.  The downfall of the egotist comes from two sources.   First, they become more concerned about appearing intelligent and sophisticated rather than standing for that which is right.  Second, they make choices that are politically correct rather than actually correct.

The morality of Hollywood, political agendas and the philosophies of misguided men and women are taking a toll on the wisdom of even the best people.  Pride and ego make them believe and advocate ideas that appeal to the intellect but reject wisdom.  Remember, just because the news reports, “A study shows…” does not mean that the conclusion of the commentator is correct.

While satisfying our egos with intellectualism and elitism makes us feel important, being wise will make us happier. Making wise choices will also benefit those within our sphere of influence.  Most of all, being wise is the best thing we can do for our children and the generations that follow.

 A version of this article was published by here.

Children’s Curfews are Critical                 

Core AllredsAs a parent, I was adamant about curfews for our children.  Our kids had a curfew of 10 pm on school nights and midnight on weekends, until they reached age 18 and had graduated from high school.   Any variance from the appointed curfew had to be negotiated in advance and wasn’t usually approved, unless it was a very special occasion, like a Senior Prom. 

When our kids were out at night, I would usually sit on the couch and watch TV until they arrived home.  We would exchange pleasantries, and then I would go to bed.  When curfew was violated, we had a discussion about how parents worry about their children, why they worry, and a penalty was imposed.  The penalty was usually making the curfew earlier for the next weekend.  Consistent enforcement seemed to prevent repeat offenses.

Since we had nine children, I played Curfew Cop for over 20 years.  These are the reasons that I felt it necessary to wait for my children to come home before I went to bed.

  1. Kids have no good reason to stay out late. Socialization is very important to teenagers but it doesn’t need to be done late into the night, when fatigue could impair judgment. 
  2. Curfews help guard against serious problems. Crime, alcohol and drug use, auto accidents and teenage pregnancy statistics validate that statement.
  3. Children need help in establishing good health habits. Establishing good sleeping patterns is necessary for learning and proper brain development.  It is also an important habit to develop for holding a job. 
  4. Curfews teach teenagers to be responsible. Learning how to make and keep commitments is part of becoming a responsible adult.  Complying with a curfew can be a difficult choice when friends have more lenient parents, so it is a good testing ground.
  5. Waiting up gave me the chance to assess the condition of my kids when they came home. Knowing that they will be looking their dad in the eye and explaining how their evening went was a good way to help our kids make proper decisions earlier in the evening.  Sometimes, teenagers will come home with problems or concerns and want to talk without anyone else around.
  6. Enforcing curfews shows love. One of my daughters wrote this, “Dad (would be) sitting up every weekend night waiting for us to come in.  We knew he would be there on the couch, not tucked in to bed waiting for us to come wake him up.  He wanted to be awake and completely aware of what we looked like, smelled like, acted like when we came in from our wanderings.”  Another daughter wrote, “He realized how important it was to be awake and aware of when we were walking in the door and what we were doing all night, making sure we weren’t getting into too much trouble.”

Our children are all adults now.  I have never regretted the sleep I lost and I am grateful for the chance I had to show my kids that I was concerned about their physical, spiritual and emotional well-being by being there for them when they came home at night.

 A version of this article was published by here.

MBWA – ing

linked-152575_640Management By Wandering Around (MBWA) is a style of business management practiced by Hewlett-Packard since the 1970’s and popularized by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman in their book, In Search of Excellence, Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies.  The premise is that managers wander through the workplace, in an unstructured manner, observing operations and engaging employees.

Some leaders have substituted “walking around” for “wandering around” because it sounds more businesslike.  The problem with too much structure is that it eliminates the benefit of casually engaging employees, which are the most important assets of the company.  Making sure that they are content is much more important than checking off tasks in a schedule.   

MBWA also provides an opportunity for nurturing employees and improving productivity, as well as capturing new ideas from the front-line employees.  It is the best way to find the problems that exist in the organization.  Some leaders seem to want to scurry back to their computers to find the latest data, while Persuasive Leaders know that employees can provide the most valuable information.

As the “King of Quality,” W. Edwards Deming, said, “If you wait for people to come to you, you’ll only get small problems. You must go and find them. The big problems are where people don’t realize they have one in the first place.”

I developed the following list when I was working with a company to change its reputation of having a toxic working environment.  As company leaders engaged in these practices, their employees responded very favorably.  Those leaders who did not participate had the same problems as always.

Ten Best Practices of Management By Wandering Around

  1. Make MBWA part of your normal routine
  2. Relax, smile and greet people warmly
  3. Share company goals, philosophy, values, and vision
  4. Listen and observe more than you talk
  5. Ask for feedback and ideas
  6. Answer questions openly and honestly
  7. Wander around the entire organization   
  8. Use the time for spontaneous recognition
  9. Don’t bring an entourage   
  10. Don’t use this time to judge or critique

I share the following benefits of MBWA from my personal experience.

  • Trust – As your staff gets to know you as a person and not just their boss, they’ll trust you more. Then, information flows to you more uncensored and timely.
  • Business knowledge – Getting out and learning what’s happening on a regular basis will help you better understand how the company truly functions. You will not be blindsided very often.
  • Accountability – Everyone is more motivated to perform well because they see their bosses on a regular basis and they get a better sense of how important they and their job are to the organization.
  • Morale – People feel better about their jobs and their organization when they feel nurtured, and turnover will decrease.
  • Productivity – Great ideas often come from casual exchanges. Happy employees are productive employees.

In summary, MBWA is a tool that will help you be a more Persuasive Leader.  True leadership, effective leadership comes from the heart.  You can’t do that in your office behind closed doors.  You have to get up, get out and connect with people.