Posted by Harry Hertz, the Baldrige Cheermudgeon
So, the song that kept coming into my mind this week is that country and western hit “You Can Take this Job and…” Yes, it is a busy time for the Baldrige Program, with Baldrige applicant consensus calls, 2011 Baldrige Criteria revisions, the initiation of the Baldrige Fellows Program, and numerous other activities. But, the song was triggered by the newest U.S. antihero, Steven Slater, the now famous flight attendant, who departed down the emergency chute with beers in hand. Are you ever tempted to emulate his behavior? I have been tempted on occasion! But make mine a nice craft beer.
Why do we as a culture celebrate the antihero? According to one account I read, Steven Slater was adding 150 fans per minute to his Facebook page, was the top Google search, and the basis for the New York Times soliciting “last straw at work stories.” How many of us cheer on bad boy, good diagnostician House for his (mis)behavior?
Has this always been true or are we at such a loss for true heroes that we celebrate antiheroes? Are we engulfed with so much bad news that we enjoy the occasional triumph of mischief over good? And why does bad news always trump good news in news coverage. I have always been frustrated by the quick mention of Baldrige when a recipient stumbles, but the lack of coverage for all the good things Baldrige recipients do. When did you last read about the unique community outreach of some of our Award recipients? Did you know that MidwayUSA gives ten percent of its annual profits to community support? Did you know that after the Iowa floods in June 2008, Cargill Corn Milling employees were rebuilding their community with pay while their plant was being rebuilt? Did you know that the city of Coral Springs purchased and placed in trust 66 acres of environmentally sensitive land to protect native plants and animals? Did you know that Jenks Public Schools has an innovative community partnership with a local long-term care facility, providing pre-K and kindergarten classes in the facility thereby giving residents the meaningful experience of engaging with children? And did you know that Heartland Health cleaned up a brownfield site and created EmpowerU on the site to engage middle- and high-school students in a hands-on curriculum that focuses on civic education, critical thinking, team building, community problem solving, technological skill building, leadership development, and workforce readiness skills?
Do any of these thoughts cause you to ponder or contribute a thought of your own? I am eager to capture your musings!