Rick Baker Thought Posts
Left Menu Space Holder

About the author

Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

E-mail me Send mail
Follow me LinkedIn Twitter



<<  June 2019  >>

View posts in large calendar

Recent Comments

Comment RSS

Do Unto Yourself Before You Do Unto Others

by Rick Baker
On Apr 18, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Do unto others as you would have them do to unto you

[The Golden Rule...the foundation of major religions]


Don't do unto others what you wouldn't want them to do unto you

[a restatement that aligns with a Spirited definition of Integrity]


Do Unto Yourself Before You Do Unto Others

[a restatement that adds even tougher limits...and thickens the skin]


He who carries the gold makes the rules

[as if that's not enough of them - another Golden Rule]


Constructive Criticism - make sure you can take a self-injection of that oxymoron

Stepping On, Stepping Aside, & Stepping Up

by Rick Baker
On Apr 3, 2017

"Whenever we focus on what others need to do we give away our power and let ourselves off the hook."

John Izzo

'Stepping Up', (2012)

While this quote is tied to standing back and expecting others to step up to create positive change, it has some very interesting implications in the area of criticizing others' performance.  

One conclusion: We will be far better off if we learn to step aside and analyze our own actions and motives before we criticize other people’s actions and motives. 

So this John Izzo quote has value in two areas.

When we face problems we can: 

  1. step up rather than step aside and
  2. step up rather than step on other people. 

At least every once in a while, each one of us feels the urge to criticize other people's words, actions and motives. In a sense, we feel the urge to step on other people. Before we step on others, we ought to take a breath, take a time out, step aside, and think about our own motives and actions.  If we cannot do this then we must understand our criticism of others is probably not well grounded. It is biased. It is flippant. It is reactive. It is poorly thought out. 

Also, if we cannot step aside and hold back on criticizing others when they are doing the best they can then we likely lack the ability to step up and do things beyond the things we are currently doing.  And, even if we do have the ability to step up our motives will likely be flawed.  Rarely do flawed motives result in successful stepping up

So -

Stepping aside is better than stepping on and stepping up is better than stepping aside

If we step on we are stepping toward failure.

If we step aside we are in a position to watch success.

If we step up we are stepping toward success.

Self-knowledge unlocks success. 


Criticism: Constructive Criticism is an Oxymoron | Leaders' Thoughts

The Law of the Barbell: Some people spot, some people lift, and some people just keep adding weights.

by Rick Baker
On Jan 30, 2017

For example, consider Civility...

Civility is defined as polite and respectable behaviour. It is part of good manners. Good manners means things like respect, civility, and harmony. Whereas, bad manners means the opposite: disrespect, incivility, and conflict. Good manners are linked to courteous behavior, which is marked by visible consideration of others. 

Some people 'spot': they return kindness with kindness; if you are respectful of them, they return the favour.

Some people 'lift': they display natural civility and courteousness, both learned traits [either taught by parents or others in early childhood or learned through self-education].

Some people 'just keep adding weights': they appear to derive satisfaction out of criticizing, humbling, and otherwise causing grief for other people. Evidently, they do not understand this approach removes the ability for long-term success. Sure, it can yield short-term results. Regardless, over time, no strong person will tolerate people who 'just keep adding weights' to their lives. And, people who are not strong will struggle more as weights are added and ultimately be crushed, in spirit if not physically. And, people who are not strong are by nature not very helpful on the road to long-term success.

The road to long-term success contains a nearly-endless series of challenges. People who 'spot' and people who 'lift' do a better job of handling those challenges. People who are civil and courteous do a better job of handling those challenges.

Favouring a realistic approach to Values, Virtues & Rules

by Rick Baker
On Jan 4, 2017

Values are concepts covering things important and admirable to us (our minds). Values are our perceptions of intrinsically valuable or desirable ways of doing things.

Virtues are concepts about good behavior and character, reflecting how other people think of us…perceptions they carry in their minds about us.

Rules are concepts, which set boundaries on thoughts and action. Rules are determined by our values. Actions are things we do. Actions are governed by our rules.


When you have Integrity – I mean when you have Integrity as I define it - your actions are closely aligned with your values. You say what you mean and you mean what you say…and you do what you say. Put another way, when you have Integrity your perceptions of your values closely match other people’s perceptions of your virtues.

When your values and virtues are closely aligned people find it easier to trust you. Trust grows naturally…organically. You feel no need to advertise your Integrity and other people have no need to witness such advertising. They observe the ‘real thing’ when they see the consistency of your behaviour and that’s the way trust is built between people.

There’s a saying, “Rules are made to be broken.” That’s a fair and accurate statement considering the reality of human behavior. All rules get broken…by someone…sooner or later…(and often we don’t have to wait for later). 

Even rules based on our deepest and most-admirable values get broken. As one example – nearly everyone lies…even to the people who mean the most to them. People have their secrets and certain questions defy honest answers. While it is admirable to think people can behave like open-honest books, that expectation is inconsistent with reality. Those who seek perfection in others will find the human condition is laced with imperfections. So, when considering others virtues and drawing conclusions about their personal values and their character it is important to set the bar at a reasonable level.

When people slip up - when people who matter to you clearly illustrate they have broken their own values-rules - 

  • Fight the urge to question their virtues and write them off [as Covey described the reality of human behaviour] by quickly emptying their ‘trust account’,
  • Step back and consider the reality of your own values-rules breaches and try to counteract your natural attribution bias, and
  • Be open and candid with the people, but stop well short of dragging them through the coals or humbling them as if you are blessed to administer that right. 

10 Thoughts for Firing Good People

by Rick Baker
On Nov 16, 2016
  1. Fire when the cost of presence exceeds its value: that's on the self-serving end of things [...and that is one of the ends]
  2. Fire when bad habits violate master rules: have as few rules as possible; know where lines must be and will be drawn
  3. Fire when troubling attitudes become contagious: protect your Culture
  4. Fire when skills do not keep up with change: not ruthlessly; in planned ways...after training & education have been exhausted, without success
  5. Do it yourself, don't delegate your way out of it: it's about courage and confidence [...these are 'in action', one way or another, for both parties...choose the better course]
  6. Be concise, yet not rushed: no value in prolonging the stress [...and you better experience some stress, otherwise you are too accustomed to firing people and you will not handle it well]
  7. Be calm and clear, and not insensitive: expect emotional reactions and negative feedback and know exactly how you will not react poorly to it
  8. Be kind, and decisive: this is not a time for negotiation
  9. Be overly fair about money
  10. Help the person find a more-suitable job: remember, whenever you are firing people you are firing good people

10 Thoughts for Keeping Good People

by Rick Baker
On Nov 15, 2016
  1. Have Culture - if it isn't defined it will define itself
  2. Give Compliments - everyone wants to use talents to create value...and get regular pats on the back
  3. Embrace Communication - especially listening; especially not criticizing
  4. Show desire for industry leadership; embrace differences and change-for-the-better
  5. Show excitement around not-Routine work: nurture curiosity; build skills for innovation and creativity
  6. Show lots of organization, talk little about it - illustrate process clarity
  7. Nip performance problems in the bud: it's about courage, confidence, conviction & communication
  8. Don't fall into the attribution-bias trap: keep egos, especially your own, in check
  9. Don't confuse personality mismatch with role/task incompetence
  10. Train the brain: the leader's job is thinking; thinking is the catalyst for progress...think...pass it on

490 Dutton Drive - Suite C6 - Waterloo ON N2L 6H7 - phone 519-886-6522 - fax 519-886-8795
Copyright © 2012. W.F.C (Rick) Baker. All Rights Reserved.