unintended benefits of PPP money

Has anyone studied the actual uses of the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loans/forgiveness?

Because the pandemic totally devastated approximately 20% of the economy in sectors like travel, events, hotels and dining, it is hard to imagine how these industries have survived, or how the PPP money could have helped them for long. If they are still surviving, they are maybe 1/3 the size they had been before the pandemic. For them it has been tragic. Hopefully, they will come back as the economy reopens. >


From the time I was young and impatient to be a teenager and then an adult and then a manager and then an owner and then to sell and so on, I wondered if there would ever be a time when I was content to just be. At 66 years old, the answer is still no. But I’m seeing glimmers in this new role of grandparent. >

Exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed

The sign-in sheet for my group meeting was filled with feeling words and issues all related to members being exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed. Just as it seems we are about to come out of what seems like a decade of Covid, just as there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the way seems harder, almost unsurmountable. Why is that and what do we do about it? >

Do what only you can do

My new Vistage Member looked uncomfortable, well maybe downright unhappy. I was a brand new Vistage Chair and a little uncertain. I put down my notebook and just looked her in the eye and asked, “What’s wrong? You look pretty unhappy.” She sighed deeply. >

Blame someone

Forgive me for getting political for a hot second. It has a business purpose. The impact of the terrible power and water outage in Texas was made worse when the Governor’s first reaction was to blame someone. And, who did he blame? The stoppage of wind and solar which was 1/10th of the power in Texas. Everything froze. Oil and gas lines and nuclear power plants froze. Why would he make a claim that was verifiably wrong? How does that help power get restored? And how does such a false narrative give anyone confidence that the existing crisis will be fixed and that steps will be taken that it won’t happen again?

It is not clear to me how blaming anyone gets a problem solved. But somehow it is a popular tactic especially among politicians dealing with extremely difficult and complex problems that are going to cost a lot of money to fix. Well, spending that kind of money is unpopular, especially if it means raising taxes to pay for the fix.

We see this short term head-scratching behavior in publicly traded companies also where the CEO knows he only has about 4 years to make the money and run. Maximize share-holder value for now and let the next guy deal with the fall out.

Can I say that this is not what I call leadership? Leadership is taking responsibility and working towards long term sustainable solutions. Texas made several decisions around their power supply to keep the prices low. They refused to connect outside of Texas to avoid federal regulation.They  recommended but didn’t require the power transmitters and generators to weatherproof their systems. It worked until it didn’t work. There was a small probability but high consequence of error. At least 4 million people lost power for days in freezing weather and 22 people died. It wasn’t as if they hadn’t been warned by the storms of 2011.

I wish Governor Abbot would have said, “This didn’t get set up under my watch, but I am going to take responsibility to fix it.” That would have been a really cool leadership move.

Next time you start to blame someone else, close your mouth really tightly and count to ten. There is a leadership opportunity if you just stop to consider your options.


From the heart

I bolted awake at 4:30 this morning. My heart was pumping, my eyes shot open and I was flooded with joy. I reached over and held Paul’s arm gently, not wanting to wake him. The joy of a safe arrival of a new baby in the family. Our granddaughter,Olive, joined this world at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. >

Pandemic Moms

Covid statistics are everywhere these days. Women (read Moms) are taking themselves out of the workforce in such numbers that since February 2020, 2.3mm women have left the workforce v. 1.8mm men. 196,000 women lost their jobs in December which was 86.3% of the job loss.* >

What does the data tell us?

As the first year of Covid closes, what have we learned? What will we do again when the pandemic tamps down, and what will never come back? While we have our own lived experience, what does the broader data tell us about budget allocation? >

Shot of hope

Rain poured down at 5 p.m. as we joined the double-line of cars snaking into Dodger Stadium for our 5:10 appointments for the Moderna Covid vaccine. Paul plugged in his phone and we continued listening to the book we’ve been listening to on our long drives to Mammoth – the Splendid and the Vile – about London under attack during WW2. It seemed exceedingly appropriate to listen to as we have sheltered from the attack of Covid. >