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April 27, 2006 [ More archived home pages here ]

Expected Disclosures

Today's song is Games People Play by Joe South, released in 1969.

I thank everyone who sent them, the kind comments I received regarding the recent wedding anniversary Sherry and I celebrated. They are too personal to disclose here, but Sherry and I really appreciate them.

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What I write here on this site is the truth. Even before the birth of the Internet, I was once admonished for my disclosures as being "too honest". I think the ability of a person for telling the truth is a good thing. Those that lie or deceive, ironically ask for full disclosures from others, but don't mind practicing hypocrisy when it's their turn to be open on matters of importance. Such is the theme of today's message.

Right now there is a trial for some former Enron executives. They stand accused of breaking the law and cheating those that trusted them. They aren't the only executives that stood trial over the years for similar reasons. Many people today want change in laws to provide more or perhaps full disclosure to protect them from abuse in such cases.

It remains to be seen if effective change occurs or if new legal loopholes emerge afterwards. From my experience in the corporate world, I know there are companies who always seem to find ways to create loopholes in any new laws that pass. It's all part of business, but you won't know about those loopholes ahead of time because that isn't how the game is played. So go ahead and write your thoughts (complaints?), but don't expect much measurable improvement.

But such incomplete disclosure examples aren't confined to corporate offenders or those that are hired to either create or find loopholes to avoid disclosure.

Union executives have not always provided full disclosure. I was once part of the Auto Workers Union and during labor negotiations, I asked my local leadership to provide full disclosure during the meetings between the company representatives and the union representatives. That request was denied. I never knew what was given up by the local union in exchange for having the company hire back people fired for violating company policies. It seems that the "rights" of some workers are more important than the "brotherhood-at-large", even when those hired back in hypocrisy are subsequently fired soon after the new contract was signed for the same offenses for which they were previously fired. That example seems tame compared to the next item of misuse of authority.

Back in 1980, I was attending a college class and my instructor told me about one of his experiences. His story has implications of non-disclosure by both corporate and union management at the same firm he cited. It seems that an Illinois-based company planned to move their entire operations to a southern state where labor costs in the early 1970's were cheaper and the labor laws more relaxed. The Illinois employees were not aware of this plan to close their facility. The company was almost ready for the transfer of equipment to take place after their new southern facilities were built. They knew it would take several months to move all the equipment and so they needed to shutdown operations in the Illinois plant for that purpose. To avoid paying Unemployment Compensation to the displaced workers, they bribed the local union management to call a worker strike over "Work Safety Issues".

Keep in mind that workers on strike are not eligible for Unemployment Compensation. So while the union pickets went up, the transfer of equipment took place until the new plant down south was operational. Then the strike was "suddenly resolved" by the union management, some workers returned to work to find the Illinois facility closing a short time later. The timing of all this caused a loss not only in earnings that affected the former employees, but lowered the earnings calculations on which their subsequent unemployment compensation was based when they were laid-off! This all occurred prior to the time laws were enacted governing plant closings by corporations, when disclosure of such plans were not required.

In my own life, I have been lied to more than once. At the time, I wasn't aware I was being lied to, being deceived, setup for abandonment. The face attached to the lies and deceit didn't offer any clues to me that I was being taken for a fool, even when they looked directly into my eyes. No apologies were offered to me, leaving a soul debt unpaid.

The curious thing about life is that "what goes around, comes around." That outcome seems to be some kind of "natural law". Sometimes I just need to remind myself that the world regains balance in time, occasionally decades need to pass before rectification is achieved.

"Soul debts" come due one way or another and are ultimately redeemed. I don't have a hand in such matters, that is not my style. My observations obtained from a variety of sources validate my conviction that repayments are made, even if indirectly.

For those that seek full-disclosure, I suggest they be prepared to offer it themselves to those they owe it to, or be left wanting and unsatisfied due to the natural scheme of things...

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As some of you already know, I am involved in project management. For over twenty years now, I have been involved in that realm in various forms inside and outside of my career. Full disclosure is an important factor in project management. A project will fail if the truth isn't out in the open.

Last January I decided to update my project management skills by taking a couple online classes offered through a local college. I finished the first six-week class in March. This week I completed the second class by passing my Project Management Applications Final Exam with a 92 to receive my Certificate (shown below).

The instructor I had is great! He is very qualified and based many of his lessons on the book A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. Through his lessons, I acquired increased knowledge about: Earned Value; Statistics; Estimating; Team Management Theories; Organizational Concepts; Cost Analysis; and other aspects including project management charting techniques. All the information he imparted was comprehensive and well connected.

When I worked for IBM as a project manager, I used Microsoft Project in my position. I liked the idea of capturing the information and creating baselines. I had some ideas about the auto-generation of project plans, but my boss at the time wasn't much of a visionary for such productivity savings. Maybe I'll work on my ideas when I get some time next Fall and return to classes.

I can start taking additional online classes once the new Mac-Intel high-powered tower systems are available. I plan on purchasing one with plenty of RAM so I can run Microsoft Project in a Windows XP virtualization segment of my Mac's memory.

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One of my friends asked me yesterday if I would be interested in doing "new technology appraisals". I need to talk to him more about his offer as it does sound interesting to me. It seems that opportunity would be another area where full disclosure would be advised. The timing for me with his suggestion is very good. Being open with you about my thoughts about it feels good too. :-)

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Congress and the President are going to investigate the cause of high gas prices. I've witnessed "high energy cost investigations" several times in my life since 1972. Nothing ever changes afterwards that makes any real difference. However, that isn't the only price increase coming our way. We we all know that Electricity and Natural Gas prices go up in our competitive markets even though those latter energy types aren't facing any restrictions in supply.

You'll see Senators and Representatives holding committee sessions soon, pulling in oil execs and consultants and all kinds of political comments exchanged as they point fingers at each other. When the dust settles, the energy landscape will remain the same as it has been. You might think some new disclosures will be made public, but don't hold your breath. That finger-pointing script has worked many times over the past 30+ years when this issue has been raised.

We need to cut our demand for foreign oil and increase domestic supply and refinery capacity. Will public pressure cause those actions to be taken this time? If so, then there's hope for us. I rather think the grown person knows the world they live in...

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Finally, my upcoming book will be full of disclosures; about me, about some of those that impacted my life. The intention throughout the entire book's theme is to reveal parts of my life where I faced, "Lies Deceit, and Abandonment" and then how I turned those negatives around into positive approaches to life.

I didn't live my life in a vacuum so my book can't be a solitary journey. Just as some caused me harm on the path, there are others that reached out to help me. Different kinds of people in the two groups; those that care and those that don't.

Some people hide from the truth of their lives, I don't. I know I make mistakes, I don't pretend to be perfect. I'll apologize when a mistake occurs.

I've already directly apologized in writing to those I harmed. I disclosed my recognition of the need to apologize and explained my reasons to them. I didn't hear anything back from some of them. If they had a "soul debt" to me, they still have it.

I know we all make mistakes; that's not a secret either, it's the truth. For those that appreciate the concept of truth through disclosure, I hope they will respect my book.

Don


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