Home Blog

The Influencer Collective Podcast

Hi Everyone, 
 
I was interviewed last week by Jennifer Sherman who runs a video blog called The Influencer Collective Show. I’ve included a link to the interview. Please take a moment to watch it in its entirety here
 
The interview is a discussion of what it means to be an influencer, my philosophy about the Tahzoo corporate culture, and how it takes its shape. I would love to hear from you about what you think makes someone an influencer, our culture, or any other commentary you’d like to share. 
 
Let’s go be great! 
 
Brad 

We Can Do Better

Hi Everyone,

As humans in the very early stages of our cognitive development (as early as two years old), we begin to recognize right from wrong. As we mature through our adolescence, we develop an understanding of morality, a moral compass. What is moral and immoral and how we are expected to respond or act in the presence of immorality.
 
The policing practices of African Americans and people of color in America is not just wrong – it’s immoral. If not from a sense of personal compassion for your fellow human beings, then as a citizen with an obligation to ensure that there is equal justice under the law, each of us must take action to rectify this situation. Racism has no place in our country, and it has no place at Tahzoo. We are an example of a racially diverse and successful company, but that doesn’t just happen by accident, it is by design, we will talk more about that in a minute.
 
Lawless and racially based policing has gone unchecked for far too long. I am proud to be an American and I am ashamed of how we have failed to ensure equal justice under the law. President Reagan once said, “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere”. We are in a unique position to promote democracy and human rights around the world but how are we doing at home? We cannot hold ourselves up with high regard for the noble values and purpose of our country, while as citizens, we allow systemic prejudice and bigotry to continue unchecked.
 
I was living in Los Angles during the Rodney King riots; it was absolutely tragic and terrifying. When the riots started, I hiked up to the top of the Hollywood Hills so I could have a better view of the city. I’ve never seen that many fires in my entire life. It was apocalyptic and surreal. The National Guard was called in and the city spent several days under a curfew. I remember watching the video of multiple police officers beating Rodney King while he was on the ground. It was shocking, heart wrenching, and disgusting. Four police officers were charged with assault and excessive force, all four were acquitted despite overwhelming video evidence of their guilt. Eventually, the four officers were tried in Federal court for violating Rodney King’s civil rights, two were convicted and given modest sentences. It was in every respect, a total miscarriage of justice and as it turns out not an isolated incident. This had a lasting impact on me about the rule of law and racism.
 
With the advent of cell phones, now we are seeing on camera what so many African Americans have been experiencing for decades. Were it not for the presence of mind and courage of Darnella Frazier (a 17-year-old girl who recorded the murder of George Floyd), Derek Chauvin would not have been convicted. His death would have been remembered as it was at first officially recorded by the police department; “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.” Imagine that? … The injustice and outright misrepresentation of the truth by police officers who are sworn to uphold the rule of law. Although Chauvin was rightly convicted of murder, George Floyd lost his life. Not a total miscarriage of justice but what about all the officers who stood by and watched the murder of a man who they are sworn to protect. This was not an isolated incident.
 
How can we call ourselves the land of the free and the brave when these crimes continue unchecked? It is hard to keep track of all the killings and injustices perpetrated on African Americans just in the last year. With story after story on the news, we cannot allow this to desensitize us nor let it become the new normal. We must act. It’s not someone else’s problem. I call upon each of you to search your heart and commit yourself to responsibly affecting change in your community and in our country. If not out of sense of personal compassion, then for the sake of the country, as written across the entrance to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, “Equal Justice Under the Law”. Do what you think is right and what is necessary, each of us should be exercising our constitutionally protected rights. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best, “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”
 
There are concepts in the law like Qualified immunity, no-knock warrants, rules about the use of force, and the role of policing in America. We’ve mixed up our policing function with our taxing function. Police departments should not be profit centers for state and local governments. Our elected representatives aren’t being transparent about how they are raising funds to support the government through ticketing and civil asset forfeiture. Do you know that in many states, the government can seize your assets if the police assert that they were used in or acquired as part of a crime? Seems reasonable at first glance, however you need not be convicted of a crime for the police to seize your assets, the mere assertion is all that is required. That does not sound like the 4th Amendment protections to me.   
 
Should a simple traffic violation be a crime or an infraction? Since when is not having an observable license plate on a car a reason for a police officer to make a stop with his gun drawn? Read up on US Army Second Lt. Nazario’s encounter with the police in Windsor VA. I read the 58-page lawsuit against the two police officers filed in US District Court. There is a video of the incident, the behavior of both police officers is absolutely appalling. It made me proud of our armed forces after seeing the courage, poise, and discipline of an Army officer under untenable circumstances.
 
Reforming policing in America and addressing the problem of systemic racism will be challenging. There are many ideas and approaches that need to be researched and understood so that we can influence our elected officials properly. Peaceful protests and good legislation are going to matter if we are to make substantive changes to rid our country of this scourge.  
 
Switching gears for a moment, as the founder of Tahzoo, I want each of you to understand what I expect of us as an industry-leading company. I believe that everyone is created equal and the each of us has an “unalienable right” to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” … full stop. There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind at Tahzoo. If you have agreed to work at Tahzoo then you’ve also agreed to participating and promoting a diverse culture.
 
As the leader of Tahzoo or with liberties, as the Shepard of my flock, I take my obligations to each of you and our company seriously. I am so grateful for my life, the opportunities that have been afforded to me, to the mentors who have taken a profound interest in my success and the blessing of a loving family. I want to “pay it forward”. Our mission is to make millions of people a little happier every day, it’s one of the ways that we can pay our good fortune forward. We can do this through great work for our clients and set an example of how a 21st century company can not only be financially successful but also socially and culturally impactful. Each of you, every day, plays a critical role in achieving our shared vision.  
 
As I mentioned earlier, we are diverse by design. When conceiving Tahzoo, I was concerned with the artifacts and structures that would ensure our lasting success. I started with our core values because without guiding principles we might as well be walking blindfolded through a forest. We send out the Voice Of The Culture Survey every week, so that everyone in the company has a forum to voice their thoughts and ideas. It’s only through a consistent and rich exchange of opinions and ideas that a culture can thrive. Most of our recognitions and rewards come through peer evaluations, the kudos alias or the Tahzoo annual awards. You might be able to fool a few people, but you cannot fool an entire company if you’re not committed to our values. On an almost weekly basis, I review and discuss with Gabi and other senior leaders within Tahzoo how to ensure that Tahzoo is diverse. Not just in terms of race, but also gender, sexual orientation, and intellectual acumen. These are my work habits that promote vigilance and focus my attention.
 
With our values as the foundation of Tahzoo and related to this topic, there are three that immediately come to mind.
  If you care about you customers and you care about your employees, you’ll have a company worth caring about We hire for character before we hire for capability We believe in the marketplace of ideas.  
Within each of these values is an expectation of you, how you will conduct yourself and your obligation to the greater good of Tahzoo. 
  If you care for someone, you help them become the best versions of themselves. If you have strong character, you act openly and honestly. If you believe in the marketplace of ideas, then you humbly embrace someone else’s genius. 

It would be impossible to truly live up to these values and harbor racism or a less than opinion of your fellow colleagues. Being a values and mission driven company is wired into Tahzoo. Are we perfect, no! Can we do more to get better, yes! … and we will. Tahzoo is my life’s work, I am not done, and neither are you.

This is a long DOB and you may wonder why I am wading into these subjects. Frankly it’s because I am concerned over our shared future. We have got to pull together and focus on holding ourselves to a higher standard of involvement and accountability. I am admonishing each of you to recognize and embrace your responsibility as an individual, as an employee of Tahzoo and as a citizen of the United States of America. We can do better. As I conclude this letter, I am reminded of a quote from Edmund Burke – “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” 


Let’s go be great!

Brad

A Year of Growth

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for chatting with me today regarding market conditions and opportunity for Tahzoo. We are in an enviable position given our clients and the types of projects we’ve completed. Every Fortune 500 company needs a direct relationship with their customers. We are founded on the idea that personalized and contextually relevant experiences will help businesses grow and prosper. For Tahzoo, our mission is to make millions of people a little bit happier every day. We are the right company at the right time in history to make a big difference in the world.

This will be a growth year for Tahzoo. Growth will mean change and opportunity for each of you to progress in your careers. What sounds good to you? What skills or jobs would you like to have? Anyone interested in my job? I was at Nordstrom during its glory days – the company was growing rapidly; we were opening stores frequently. I decided I wanted to be part of the new store opening team, travel to new cities, hire new employees, and train them in the Nordstrom way. I opened 14 stores and learned so much, what a great experience it was for me. Foundational in career and an important step in building my career confidence.

As Tahzoo grows, what do you imagine is a good next step for you? Does your manager know your goals and are you working as a team to achieve those goals? I created Tahzoo so that each of us would have an opportunity to learn and grow. We are making significant investments in the Elevate and Accelerate program. Dori’s presentation on SMART goal setting is an important step for each of you to embrace as you plan out your career. Think about where you’d like to be in a year and then three years. Write it down and share it with your manager.

As always, I am happy to talk with you about career progression and share my experiences. I am on my third career; it’s been a great run. Many mistakes, many victories, and mostly many lessons learned. I look forward to hearing from you as you consider your next steps.


Let’s go be great!

Brad

Where We are Headed

Dear Tahzoo,


I’ve spent much of the last year writing to you about change, I’d like to touch on where we are headed.  
 
Every company evolves over time. We started out as an SDL Tridion Sites shop and grew from there into other aspects of the enterprise marketing platform. We have always “pitched” personalization as a core value proposition, although at times, we’ve struggled to deliver on that promise. Nonetheless, the core principle that personalized experiences will be a competitive advantage for our clients, is as true today as it was when we started Tahzoo.
 
In a post Covid world, Fortune 500 companies that engage their customers in a consistent, thoughtful, and personalized way will gain a lasting competitive advantage. You may think that Amazon has an insurmountable lead in the consumer goods market, however their lead is not based on a great experience, it’s based on logistics. It is the example of a one size fits all experience that panders to the lowest common denominator.
 
In the crowded consumer goods market, the question for the Brands is how can they market and sell their product, with Amazon as the intermediary? This is a real problem for most Brands and many of our clients. It’s not like they can just run more TV ads to break through to the customer. My prediction is that most of these Brands will move to a direct-to-consumer strategy; they will cut out the middleman which will drive additional profit but most important, they will be able to create experiences that are consistent and personalized.
 
We need to up our E-Commerce game, not just on the technology side but also the strategy side. If we can be the firm that brings the technology prowess to launch global commerce solutions and be the experts in user experience design, we will have a lot of opportunity in the coming years. Take all of that and embed structured content so that the post purchase consumer experience is also personalized, then Tahzoo will drive the marketing trifecta: Attracting customers, Converting customers, and Retaining customers. We need 5% market share in the Fortune 500, just 25 clients to achieve our goals. We have the market opportunity, the know-how, and a fantastic company full of smart and happy people. 2021 will be a breakout year for Tahzoo, a year of change.


Let’s go be great!

Brad

Spring Cleaning Exercise

Hi Everyone,

As the saying goes; March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. Spring is finally here!!! So, while I am soaking up the sunshine, feeling like there is some hope that the Covid vaccine will be widely available soon, and seeing the opportunity for Tahzoo, I am reminded it’s time for some Spring Cleaning.

At Tahzoo, this is a good time for you to look at what’s working and not working. What is costing you time? Where could you have better practices for communication and collaboration? Is there something in your work process that could be improved? Jot down three things you’d like to improve. If you don’t write it down, then it’s a wish and not a goal.

I thought I’d share with you some of the things that I am doing for Spring Cleaning. I’ve finally decided to get all my folders organized so I can better find information. I’ve been wasting so much time trying to find things. I really appreciated Heather’s presentation today about where to find branded content. I was classically trained at one of the first companies I worked for to use email as my principal document repository. Turns out that my late ‘90s solution isn’t cutting it any more 🙂

I have been examining my time allocations. I think of time like money, which means I need a budget for my time. I make investments of my time with an expected result. Gabi and I are working on my time budget – ensuring that rather than spread my time evenly across every day, to find large chunks of time that can be dedicated to the priorities of the company. No more peanut butter time management.

These are just a couple of things that I’m working on as part of my Spring Cleaning exercise. Think about this over the weekend and write down three things you’d like to do. If you write it down, it’s a goal – if it’s a goal, you can make it happen. Enjoy Spring and be refreshed, use that extra energy to make some modest improvements in your work and personal life.

Let’s go be great!

Brad

How Proud I am of You

Hi Everyone,

One year ago, today, the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic. It has been a year for the record books. Mostly people write about how quickly time goes by, this past year seems to have been the slowest year on record. Isolated and lonely, punctuated with moments of epic significance and consequence. It’s taken its toll on you.

I want to make sure you know how proud I am of you. You’ve managed to keep it together, take care of yourself and those around you. You’ve been a good teammate to your peers and participated in keeping the spirits high throughout the company. This last year has been some of your best work, innovative and often under difficult circumstances. All the while you’ve been setting an example for others to follow. Truly you have been tested and strengthened through the crucible of a year to remember.

You should take some time to inventory yourself. You have changed, how? What is more precious to you now? What are the things you have decided to let go? If you are holding any self-doubt about how you handled the last year, I want to disavow you of this. You are amazing and you have reached down deep and persevered. We all grow at our own rate, we all fall short, and we all rise to the occasion. You are just like everyone else in that respect. So, give yourself some grace and celebrate, if I told you one year ago today how truly difficult this year would be, you would not have believed it. Yet here you are, stronger, clearer minded, and more in touch with what really matters in your life.

We are all going to Spring Forward this weekend, Daylight saves on Sunday, set your clocks ahead. The weather is getting better and there is a lot of reasons to be hopeful and optimistic. If you haven’t received your vaccine yet, I am sure you’re on a list to get one soon. With this renewal and return of hopefulness, what are you going to do next? How are you planning to take what you have learned and move your life forward in meaningful ways? I’m asking you to write a few things down about what you’ve learned and how you’d like your life to be different now, because we are all going to get back to normal soon and I don’t want the clarity of this moment to slip from your consciousness.

I recently found a bunch of journals from my teenage years and it’s been a remarkable journey to remember where I thought I was headed, where I wanted to go and where I am now. I suspect that what you write down today will provide a similar moment of introspection for you at some later date.

I am gratified to be able to work with you and call you my teammate. Let’s not let this last year together go unacknowledged or undiscussed, we’ve been through a lot. We’re not quite done yet, but you’ve stuck by me and given me hope when I’ve been down, I want to do the same for you. I know we can do anything, accomplish everything if we stick together. It’s been great getting to know you under pressure and you’ve proven to me that I can count on you when the going gets tough. 

Let’s go be great!

Brad

How To Handle Stress In 2021

Hi Everyone, 

I’ve been thinking lately about how Covid and all the other world issues might affect our mental health. My primary concern right now is that people are wearing out. Long-term stress and ambiguity have a real impact on judgment and decision making. For the last ten years, leading Tahzoo has been an exercise in finding “the balance.” The question is not, how can you avoid the stress, but how do you manage it? With stress left unchecked, you’ll lose your mental health and make errors in judgment. I’ll share for me, the secret for keeping the stress at bay boils down to four things; exercise, planning, losing track of time, and empathy. 

Exercising – It doesn’t matter what you do, do it regularly; anything that gets you up and moving for twenty minutes. Long walks are great, working in the yard, going to the gym, up to training for a marathon – just be active. Do something moderately physical three or four times a week. Fill your lungs, get your heart rate up, and enjoy it wherever you are at from a fitness perspective. The last point, don’t make the goals for exercise so difficult that they become unachievable; just do it. I won’t pummel you with the reams of data about the benefits of being active. We all know it’s true. I never want to go to the gym, but I always feel better when I do.  

Planning – Write out a to-do list every day. This will help you see your progress and remind you of what is important. I write a list every day, and it’s just a daily habit that gives me my sense of direction. Your to-do list will always contain more items than you can accomplish in any one day, and that is ok! Break your list into two sections, tactical things you can finish in a day and longer-term projects requiring your continued focus and attention. I get so much joy from crossing off an item on my “to-do list” that sometimes I write down stuff that I already did so that I can have the joy of crossing it off. On the term paper items, do one thing, big or small, every day towards the goal. Give yourself grace – you deserve forgiveness. There are days when you’ll kill your to-do list and days when you won’t get anything done. The point is writing the list, not completing the list. 

Losing Track of Time – When you do something you love, your brain turns off its “time tracking mechanism.” This happens because your mind is fully occupied, and therefore it reduces your stress levels and produces healthy endorphins. Although your brain is engaged, you’re actually giving your brain a rest; it’s akin to sleeping. If you want to know more, read up on “Flow” by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. I have a simple exercise for you; write down a list of 10 things that, when you do them, you lose track of time. Then make sure you do these things more often. In fact, as much as possible. Work them into your day and your routines. 

Here are the things that cause me to lose track of time… Playing Chess, Tennis, Reading, Writing, Cooking, Drinking Wine, Playing Card Games, Math, Golf, Selling, Giving Speeches, Listening to Music, Solving Strategy Problems, Studying Physics, and Spending Time with My Family. Go write out your list and do those things more often. 

Empathetic Decision Making – Every day, we make tradeoffs around allocating time to people and prioritizing our to-do list. You can’t make everyone happy, nor should you try; it’s not good leadership. However, I want to offer a model for decision making that naturally creates empathy. The goal here is that you make managing your relationships your priority. Before you make a decision, take a moment to consider, “How will the people in my life be emotionally impacted?” More specifically, put yourself in their shoes and ask, “How will they interpret and experience this decision?” This does not mean that you won’t need to make hard decisions or that you can shy away from hurting someone’s feelings. It means you’ll consider how you’re going to keep your relationship healthy as part of your decision-making process. To put yourself in someone’s shoes, you’ll have to get to know them. You’ll be building a foundation of empathy. 

These are just habits. They take practice to become automatic. But I know you can incorporate all or most of this into your daily life. I’ve spent decades dealing with long-term, highly ambiguous stress, and it can wear you out. I’m still going strong after all these years, including 2020 and Covid. “Man, we have a bright future ahead!” and that’s something to be excited about. These habits continue to clear the path for me. Let’s talk more about stress. I worry about you… if you need anything or want to chat, call my cell. 

These disciplines are so critical, and I cannot emphasize them enough. Just try it for one month, give me 30 days, then book a half-hour meeting with me to talk through your experience. I will give you an American Express gift card. We will get to know each other a little better. 

Let’s go be great! 

Brad 

Lessons Learned in 2020

Hi Everyone,

This will be the last Desk of Brad I send in 2020. Tomorrow is January 1st, 2021!!! It could not come soon enough. Wow, I mean, wow, what a year it’s been! I’ve been around longer than most of you (but not that much longer), and it’s safe to say that we’ve never seen anything like this before. I wonder how we will tell our Grandchildren about this year when they inevitably ask, “Grampa/Grandma, what was it like during the pandemic?”. I get the sense that history is unfolding right now, a series of events that will be consequential over the next century or more. And not just something that happened somewhere else, but something that is happening to each of us … So, what are you going to say?

For my part, I am going to talk mostly about the things I learned this year. Of course, the historical narrative will be woven into my discussion. It’s not many years that you have an Impeachment, Pandemic, An Economic Collapse, Millions of Fellow Americans Unemployed, Breadlines, Political Unrest, Racial Injustice, A Presidential Election, Developed Multiple Vaccines within a year, and the Loss of 100s of Thousands of American Lives. We all had to learn to stay at home, work from home, school our children from home, all while managing the low/high-grade stress of uncertainty and fear related to Covid. It’s safe to say that everyone has been tested mightily this year.

When I was a young teenager, I read a book called “The bumps are what you climb on.” The whole idea is that you learn from your challenges more than your successes. Along those lines, I’ve always appreciated Bill Gate’s quote, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” In the famous Commencement Speech of ’99, by Baz Luhrmann, there is an excerpt that has resonated with me since I first heard it “don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindsides you at 4:00 pm on some idle Tuesday.”

None of us saw 2020 coming. I share these quotes with you to have some insight into how I choose to experience the world.

Lessons learned for me from 2020:

It’s essential to have your life in order as best as you can, especially when times are good, because you never know when you’ll need to handle a crisis. Said differently, Dig your well before you’re thirsty by Harvey McKay. It’s so essential to make investments in your life and your friendships before you need help; otherwise, it will be too late when the crisis hits.

Gratefulness is the secret to happiness. I had to provide a lot of emotional support to family, friends, and many of you this year. When I was out of energy, tired or sad, rather than wallow in emotional suffering, I focused on what I am grateful for, and that ALWAYS lifted my spirits. My Pastor once always said, “you can’t minister from an empty well.” I learned to take this practice to a new level this year; every day, I took time to count my blessings. This habit has changed me forever.

Consciously decide what is important to you and make time for those things. Don’t let the urgent overtake the important in your life. Ironically, in the last Desk of Brad in January 2020, I was worried everyone was too busy and needed to focus on what’s important. Little did I know that 2020 would be a crucible of clarity.

From the first paragraph of that DOB …

Ever notice how much work you can get done the week before you go on vacation? Isn’t it just a matter of focus and prioritization? I am reminded of the Stephen Covey exercise in which you have several large rocks and small rocks that need to be squeezed into a large glass jar. If you put the little rocks in first, you can never make room for the large rocks. If you put the large rocks in first, then there is plenty of room for the small rocks to fit in and around the large rocks. Another way to think of this is that some urgent activities and activities are important. Always remember that the important is more important than the urgent.

Tell the people you love that you love them more often. Show them you love them as often as you can. Frequent little gestures go a lot further than the occasional grand gesture. We are granted a limited amount of time in this life, express your emotions. Although we put it out of our minds most of the time, the clock is ticking.

As for Tahzoo – Work is more about who you work with than what you do. I’ve seen so many acts of overt kindness within the company this year that I’ve been overwhelmed at times. What has impressed me the most this year is our teamwork and collaboration. Not only did we manage our change, but we also helped our clients manage the changes as well. There is a reason we look to hire smart and happy people because it creates possibilities. It turns out that this year more than ever, being surrounded by colleagues who care made the year a little bit more tolerable. “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a teamwork, a company work, a society work, and a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi

Looking Forward 2021 

We have a lot to be thankful for, to say the least. We have so much opportunity, and we’ve spent the better part of 10 years learning how to drive and implement digital transformation. There is no C-Level Executive at a Fortune 500 company in the world who would not be the least interested in hearing what we have accomplished and what we can do. It turns out the enabling working from home, shopping from home, and being healthy at home, our core solutions are in high demand and will be for the foreseeable future. We’ve set the Tahzoo table for the next ten years of growth.

We really couldn’t be in a better market position, except maybe companies that sell Hepa Air Filters. True story, Matt Heidemann and I we’re playing golf on a muni course in San Diego in early February 2020, we were paired with two strangers. After the usual, I suck at golf speeches, and we talked about what we all did for a living. One of the guys owned a business selling Air Filters to hospitals, and he was already gearing up for a massive year. We should have offered to take over his marketing 🙂

We did okay in 2020 financially, we will be flat or just slightly below 2019 numbers in terms of revenue, and we’ll have a small loss from a profit perspective. I’m quite pleased with this performance, given what I’ve seen happen to many businesses. We managed to keep our accounts moving forward and avoid layoffs. 2021 will be a busy year, we’ve been hiring as fast as we can, and our pipeline is about as large as I’ve ever seen it. We will launch our software business in earnest, and the investments in operational excellence will not only improve the quality of our employee experience it will also improve our client experience.

We have a lot of work to do next year, and it will be challenging and rewarding. I am looking forward to this next phase of Tahzoo. We’ll call it Tahzoo 4.0. So much to be excited about, but as I always say, “don’t dance on the five-yard line, only dance after we score a touchdown.” Another salient excerpt from the class of ’99 speech “Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either — your choices are half chance; so are everybody else’s.” The grass isn’t greener on the other side; it’s just different grass. Control is just an illusion, and you can’t control your life; you can make decisions. Maybe they work out; perhaps they don’t. But we’ll do it together, as a team.

I’ll take these lessons and perspective to heart. They’ll be the basis for my storytelling to my Grandchildren one day. There are many good storytellers at Tahzoo, and if you have something you’d like to share with the company or me, I would be thrilled to hear from you. I am sure your teammates would too. Let’s continue to be generous with one another; we still have tough days ahead.

I am so proud and grateful to be working with each of you.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!!!

 Brad

Responsibility and Resolution

Dear Team,

Thank you for a good week, everyone. We are making significant progress on several fronts. We need to focus on making our deadlines and taking good care of clients as our top priority. It’s been a year of difficult challenges and we had some big wins. Let’s focus on finishing the year strong with an eye towards 2021.

I’ve been thinking about the difference between responsibility and resolution. I am working with the Team to ensure we provide more clarity about who’s responsible and how we reach a resolution on issues. It seems to me that we have too many problems that are languishing and remaining unresolved. I want everyone to inventory the top 5 to 10 challenges that you regularly face that go unresolved. Think categorically, not specifically. We are looking to identify the top 10 issue types to work them out of Tahzoo systematically.

In the voice of the culture this week, please put your thoughts in the comments section. We’ll use this as a starting point for defining our plan for improving the experience at Tahzoo.

Let’s go be great,
Brad

Being Thankful About The Better Things

Hi Everyone, 
 
I trust that you had a safe and restful Thanksgiving Day, that it was full of gratefulness. Although we’ve been through a lot this year, we have also been quite fortunate. As the holiday season begins in earnest, let’s try to be mindful of the grace and blessings in our lives. I know it’s been a tough year for everyone. I can see the company’s stress. Hopefully, we can lift one another when someone is having a down day. Let your character shine through when it matters most; build each other up and focus on taking care of clients and your colleagues. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, this year being the most poignant in my lifetime. More than ever, I recognize that the coming months will be difficult; we are entering a period in which we will need to come together and persevere. There is light at the end of the tunnel; the vaccine is on the way, we have many opportunities to grow the business and hire new people into our company. For this, I am very grateful and thankful that together we can make a difference. 
 
Let’s go be great, 

Brad

The Power of People

Hi Everyone, 
 
Monday was Memorial Day and, in my DOB, last Friday I shared with you the importance of remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. There is a small graveyard on Bainbridge Island and on Monday my children put small American flags on the gravestones of our veterans. My in-laws are buried there and they both served during world war II. I think the United States of America is an amazing country and I believe in American exceptionalism. 
  
America is in the middle of a pandemic, the worst health crisis in over a century and we have the highest unemployment rate since the great depression. We’ve all been in various levels of quarantine for a couple of months and more than 100,000 Americans have lost their life to Covid-19. The country is trying to find its way back to a healthy and safe place and start rebuilding our economy.   
  
Times are tough, really tough and we need leadership. I shared Lincoln’s speech last week because it represented a set of values that I believe in. Given that Lincoln was 28 when he shared that speech, it was an early indicator of his character and potential leadership skills. As it turned out he managed the country through the most difficult period in our nation’s history. 
  
It’s was galling to have seen the pointless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Then made even worse by a series of riots that erupted across the country last night, including 7 people who were shot in Louisville. This morning I watched a new crew from CNN arrested on live TV while covering the riots.   
  
If that was not enough to raise my sense of concern for the country, I was dismayed to see two incendiary tweets from the President in the last 24 hours. The first tweet was a retweet of a video in which a county commissioner declared ‘The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.’, although the commissioner quickly recanted his position as a jest. While not likely to meet the standard of illegal speech defined by the U.S. Supreme court case, Brandenburg vs. Ohio, http://landmarkcases.c-span.org/Case/23/Brandenburg-v-Ohio It is certainly not a representative example of quality leadership, decorum, and civility in our public discourse. Aren’t we all Americans, regardless of political affiliation? 
  
The second tweet from the president was far more odious. 
  
…” these THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” 
 
Read plainly, the President insinuating that the U.S. Military will be activated to assume control of Minneapolis and the if there is looting, U.S. troops will in an extrajudicial way, execute U.S. citizens? 
  
The Posse Comitatus Act https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42659.pdf is a law the prevents the use of the US military as a substitute for civilian policing activities. Furthermore, the President can’t just assume control of a State or municipality. I could go on and on about how ridiculous that portion of the tweet is relative to our laws and the power vested in the executive branch under the constitution, but I want to get to the central point. 
  
There is a historical context to the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. During the late Sixties, The Miami police chief, Walter Headley’s aggressive policing of black neighborhoods was denounced by civil-rights leaders. At a news conference in December 1967, as tensions simmered in response to months of police brutality, Headley threatened violent reprisals if the situation escalated. “We don’t mind being accused of police brutality. They haven’t seen anything yet.” …. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Headley told reporters, according to media reports at the time. 
  
Twitter tagged this last tweet as glorifying violence. 
  
We all have a right to free speech, but it is not unfettered. You can’t yell fire in a crowded movie theater, and you can’t incite people to violence or illegal activities. While the President’s conduct may not be illegal it is unbecoming of a leader. Lincoln feared that erosion of the rule of law could potentially unwind our great nation. The following is from my excerpt from Lincoln’s Lyceum speech in the DOB last week. 
  
The importance of the rule of law… 
 
“I hope I am over wary; but if I am not, there is, even now, something of ill-omen, amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions, in lieu of the sober judgment of Courts; and the worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice. This disposition is awfully fearful in any community; and that it now exists in ours, though grating to our feelings to admit, it would be a violation of truth, and an insult to our intelligence, to deny.” 
 
Our great Presidents, (to name a few) Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy brought the country together in service of a higher purpose. I remember vividly the tragedy of 9/11and how President Bush, with decorum and grace, brought our country together. The three first words in the constitution of the United States of America in the large font reads … WE THE PEOPLE. 
 
Let’s go be great! 
Brad