Friday, March 27, 2009

All I Know About Management I Learned From My Dog

For the last many months I have been writing this book and it will finally come to be a reality. It is a short book ---about 100 plus pages. I was fortunate enough to discover Tiffany Schwarz, a brilliant young photographer. The book will contain about 20 great pictures of Angel in full color. I am in the process now of working on the final editing, design, and creating a working dummy before production.

If you would like to see it, call Pinky my legal assistant at 212-790-9200 X560 and she will send it you. In any event, read the following introduction and let me have your comments.

Martin

Enter “Angel”

After 68 years of a special marriage, my wife Marcia died. I was grieving and I sought help. As weeks of counseling turned into months, my sage and sympathetic therapist, said, “You will feel better if you get a dog.” And week after week, he would walk me to the door of his office, and as I left I heard, “You will feel better if you get a dog.” I thought to myself disdainfully, “I had a dog, in fact I had several dogs”. Finally one sunny Sunday, Paula, my friend and I found a photograph in the local newspaper announcing the “Pet of the Week”. Since I was getting a failing grade in grief management, I thought, “Let’s give this dog thing a shot.”

Little did I expect when I was walking down a path of barking dogs crying for attention at the Briarcliff SPCA and rescuing “Angel”, an 11 year old female Golden Retriever mix with Chow, that I had not only found a companion in my 89th year, but even more important, I now know, I had found my management guru.

Angel is a full sized dog with the typical light and dark brown coloring weighing when I adopted her about 50 pounds. Now because of her full participation in my life, including her regular appearance at the dinner table she is a hefty 71 pounds. As you will see from her photograph she is quite a looker, and her wisdom shows.

In the year that we have been together, Angel has taught me a great deal. Without the benefit of language (which I now realize is less important than I thought it was), I had to understand what Angel’s needs were, and she had to understand mine. I learned there were rules to achieve a harmonious and mutually meaning full relationship between Angel and me.

As I learned about the rules and commands that made us achieve our common objectives, it appeared to parallel my more than half a century as a follower and leader in management. This relationship called for me to establish a compatible leadership style, gain her respect and trust, communicate clearly and consistently, make decisions in an informed manner, and display human values while respecting her animal values.

This seemed to be an epiphany. And I decided to test this bit of wisdom in light of my own business and personal experience and to share this.

I realize that asking you to believe that a dog could enable me to synthesize a career will take a leap of faith. If you are a dog lover, I know I have your attention and I established my credibility many sentences ago. For others, non-dog owners, I beg your patience. Even if you do not give Angel full credit, I think you will find my revelatory moments interesting and helpful in sharpening your management skills. And in the end you might even adopt a dog.

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