Tom Garrity

Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

Government Webcasting and Blogging

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2009 at 11:49 pm
webcamThe first few weeks of any legislative session is a time for elected leaders and their staff to set the pace for the next 60-days. 
The collective activity of the first several weeks is usually a tell-tale sign of what the insanity will be like in the final seventy two hours of the session.
With that in mind, the first few weeks have been crazy around one topic, transparency.
First the legislative leadership announced it wouldn’t make live webcasting available. In the name of budget cuts, installed webcams were removed. 
Today a State Representative started the next phase of the transparency revolution by streaming live from a House committee meeting. Doing so, she effectively drew a line in the sand to the disgust of at least one colleague.
Shortly thereafter, the Senate requested its leadership to reconsider its webcast policy. It has been taken under advisement.
Meanwhile, the Governor’s office, which appears to have remained quiet on this issue, announced that the top executive’s staff would be blogging again during the 60-day session.  However, a key to blogging nirvana is found in RSS feeds… you know that technology that makes updates easy to access. Nirvana is but a dream because the Governor’s website lacks RSS technology.
Several reporters and wall leaner’s were twittering their thoughts about the age of internet transparency, providing a play by play of legislator remarks. More transparency is a good thing, but could inadvertently push the sometimes open conversation to another quiet corner, out of the public domain.
Transparency is good, but it is only effective when all political conversations are brought to the forefront. And that is something which has yet to be mastered by any local, state or federal government entity.

When Winning is Lost

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Basketball2One of those spectacles in sport transpired on a Texas basketball court recently in a game between two independent schools. Dallas Academy was playing on the road at Covenant-Dallas. The home team won, Covenant-Dallas “100” and Dallas Academy “0”.

It was the largest margin of victory in girls high school basketball where both teams lost.

One wonders, as many have wondered about this situation, at what point does winning by 30 points or 100 points matter… a win is a win.

Even the ruthless Bill Belichick, legendary head coach of the New England Patriots, has a heart (though there are some Jets fans who would disagree).

Covenant-Dallas’ head coach Micah Grimes wasn’t heartless, he was headless! Leading 35-0 after the first quarter, 59-0 after the second quarter and 88-0 after the third quarter provided enough signs that this game was well in hand during the first five minutes of the game.

Nine days after the blow-out, Covenant-Dallas posted a statement on its website. It concluded with “a victory without honor is a great loss.”

Across the way at Dallas Academy, the team was unified. The school received some major props for character, class and poise (which is like gold in the world of independent schools). They even received some assistance from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

However, the headmaster was quoted as saying “the hell with it” and, according to news reports, canceled the balance of the season. If that is true, it is lost opportunity.

I can see the headmaster’s reasoning. Dallas Academy is first and foremost focused on education, the competitive sports program became a distraction. But by canceling the balance of the season, instead of finishing and canceling the program with graduation, a different message is sent indicating that winning and losing does matter regardless of the character on the court.

All of the teams/schools lost in so many ways. The only victor were the Dallas Academy players. One spoke to a reporter: “Even if you are losing, you might as well keep playing,” said Shelby Hyatt, a freshman on the team. “Keep trying, and it’s going to be OK.

An E-mail Worth Sharing

In Uncategorized on January 22, 2009 at 11:44 pm
TireYou ever have one of those days that goes into the record books as being “unique”… not good or bad, just “unique”. Such was the case earlier this week when I had a professional come out to my house to do some needed work. He did a fantastic job, the follow-up was what made this memorable.
Since I was heading off to meetings in Santa Fe, I provided the professional a check from my personal account to cover the services. 
While en route to Santa Fe, the professional called and said he inadvertently lost the check and asked that I place a “stop payment” on it. He continued to offer that he lost the check when he opened his driver side window while going down the interstate. The vacuum created by the open window sucked out most of the papers on his dash board, including my signed check.
He apologized, I was gracious and we both had a check list of items to accomplish as a result of the check that “suddenly grew wings and flew.”
While I understand that these things happen, I still couldn’t help but get a bit angst-ridden thinking a document with my signature, bank account number and address was somehow aimlessly floating around Albuquerque.
Later that night, I am having dinner with a client and this email comes through on my pocket PC from the professional:
First of all, I would like to thank you for your business. It was a pleasure working for you. Secondly, in regards to our conversation today I found the check. It was stuck to my tire. Unfortunately when I pulled it off it ripped into three pieces. I have two of them and one is still attached to my tire.
This was classic. His humility and honesty are great traits that make up for his lack of filing and prying things off of tires.
Will I use him again? Absolutely! Not because he is a good paper person, but because he provided outstanding customer service… and I know that he won’t lose a check of mine ever again!Tire

A New Look At Safety

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2009 at 4:16 am
The amazing footage and stories of US Air crash landing, being dubbed “Miracle on the Hudson” is placing a renewed focus on the standard safety briefings. Usually taking place as the aircraft is pulling back from the gate, it is a struggle for flight attendants to attract and hold attention during the choreographed routines.DeltaSafety
Southwest Airlines’ flight attendants have fun with the briefing, sometime adding in some comical lines during the overview. On one of my flights, they gave a free drink coupon to someone who actually pulled out the safety card during the briefing.
Until recently, all other airlines fit the same mold of presenting the lifesaving safety information. Continental, American, United, Frontier, Great Lakes and MESA (all airlines I have flown in the last year) leverage either recorded or sometimes stale presentations – very few passengers pay attention.
The only exception to the safety drool was Delta Airlines. Yes, I know, my last experience on Delta as less than pleasant (as those who subscribe to my twitter account could attest). However, the highlight of the delayed planes, lost baggage and mostly rude professionals was a new safety video.
The video short is slick, edgy, cultish, fun and a little bit freaky. It features a finger-wagging, hottie by the name of Katherine Lee. Her nick name “Deltalina” appears to be a hit, generating just south of 9,000 Google references.
The best part, you don’t have to fly on Delta to watch the safety briefing (yeah, still a little sore from my last flight). Just click here.
Smart move Delta on finding a new way to relay the same old, and important, safety information.

Transparency & Accessibility

In Uncategorized on January 5, 2009 at 4:13 am

A powerful politico is faced with an image problem.

What can the “accused” and “named”  do to clear their own name – which is a challenge when there are only verbal accusations and innuendos.

Let’s touch on three key items…

  1. You need to understand that there is a courtroom of law and a courtroom of public opinion. The two arenas tend to use vastly different strategies when addressing issues like this.
  2. Mega-stars and regular Joe’s appear to have two sets of rules. This is a fallacy. Mega-stars have a quicker “public rebound” cycle because of their access to the spotlight.
  3. If the media inquires and you ignore the question the issue/topic will somehow go away. This is another fallacy.

In a crisis, the entity/person showing compassion to the victim will have an easier time of recovering their reputation and/or getting things back on track.

In this particular case, some would argue, truth is an apparent victim.

When truth is a victim, respond with transparency.

If your attorney won’t allow full transparency, then ensure you provide accessibility. Take the calls and provide a “vetted” response to any and all who ask or inquire.

Transparency and accessibility are two strong approaches to safeguarding/defending your reputation. However, there is a lot more to both strategies – just as there is more to making pizza than just having dough and sauce.