Friday Thoughts – Nov 23 – Thanksgiving Rerun – The Rabbit

By , 11/24/2010 2:58 PM

It seemed like it was time to refresh our tagline ….a friend suggested this one.  I have no idea what it means….. but I think Latin gives FT a sophisticated and educated look – which we needed……

Last week’s “Sue, What Do You Do ?!??” generated lots of email with many suggested rhymes – even some good ones!  We will send out our favorites next week – so send  yours in.

This morning I started to write about my favorite Thanksgiving memory……. but then remembered that I did that last year – and since my brain has been full of rhymes and I am feeling a bit lazy, I decided for a rerun of The Rabbit.  

 I know there are many FT readers outside the US that do not celebrate Thanksgiving – I hope you will forgive my narrow, domestic indulgence……

*           *           *           *

For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us
truly thankful and ever mindful of the needs of others.

It’s just a simple ceramic mold in the shape of rabbit… but the minute we bring it out for Thanksgiving, a flood of warm memories washes over me..…

My mother’s two aunts, Margaret and Lulla, were probably in their 60s, never married and were the epitome of Southern Ladies….

They lived in Atlanta in a big house in Brookhaven….the house was filled with “antiques and heirlooms” that had been passed down from generations of ancestors in Collierville, Tennessee, Camden, SC and Charleston.

I remember the feeling as we drove up the steep driveway …..they would rush outside to greet us with beaming joy and smothering hugs that made it clear we had entered a home of unconditional love………which was a big deal since 6 wild kids under the age of 10 were about to terrorize their beautiful home.

Lulla and Margaret were effortlessly gracious, unfailingly polite and always generous. They relentlessly labored to shape this redneck, uncivilized boy into a young southern gentleman reminding me of “Please”, “Thank you” and “Yes, Mam”….correcting grammar, instructing refined table manners, teaching about the honor of Robert E. Lee ……and, oh yeah, checking fingernails for dirt.

My earliest memory of Thanksgiving is at their house – I was probably 5 or 6.

The kitchen was a flurry of intense, noisy activity and a tense countdown was taking place ……rich, intoxicating smells filled the air …..

….the dining room table stretched the length of a football field… was a work of art…each place setting was careful arranged with a myriad of glasses, plates of different sizes and multiple knives forks and spoons….

… overflowed the table to the sideboard ….mashed potatoes, gravy as thick as molasses in December…. green beans, corn bread stuffing, collard greens, asparagus casserole, yams, rice, . ….the turkey was the size of a sofa and carving was a careful ritual that was reverently observed by all.

Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving painting, “Freedom from Want” brilliantly captures the warmth of the moment.

At just the right time, Aunt Margaret would reverently bring her hands together and bow her head – everyone followed and the room went silent s …….with the thickest and most dignified Southern accent she would say:

“For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us
truly thankful and ever mindful of the needs of others.”

….the brevity gave it gravity….. the word Lord was at least 4 syllables .. and sounded more like “Laaaaawd” ….. she emphasized the word “ever” in a sharp, scolding way….. the words “ever mindful of the needs of others” would hang in the air and echo in my mind ….

As a kid I was fascinated by The Rabbit. Instead of cranberry sauce in a bowl, there was a prominent and highly celebrated cranberry mold in the shape of a quite dignified rabbit.

There was a fairly loud and heated debate (by the standards of southern ladies) between the two sisters over whose turn it was to take the special first slice of The Rabbit.

I did not understand this ritual negotiation until much later in life ….I learned that they had been fighting over the privilege of the “rear” part of the rabbit since they were young ladies…….I also learned that they referred to this sacred part of the poor rabbit’s anatomy as the “Pope’s Nose” They were staunch Episcopalians. I also learned that this annual clash of wills was likely fueled by the abundant pre-dinner gin and tonics.

So 45 years later, I have The Rabbit….. and the tradition continues. For several years we did not get the recipe quite right and it would melt before dinner started ….it looked more like road kill.

As The Rabbit makes its way to the table tomorrow, I will be reminded that there are many people with many needs. I will also know that for no reason, I am incredibly blessed with an abundance of family that continues to give that same unconditional love. My family is the greatest gift my aunts, my parents and my wife could have possibly given me.

I am truly thankful…. and must remember to be “ever mindful of the needs of others”

I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!! 

Interesting Unrelated facts:

– Both the turkey and bald eagle were once considered as the national symbol of America. Benjamin Franklin argued passionately on behalf of the turkey.

– According to the USDA Poultry Data Handbook Americans will consume 45 million turkeys this holiday season.

– looking for a holiday getaway? – try one of the  11 prisons turned into hotels for your incarcer-vacation.

Friday Thoughts – Nov 19 -Sue, What do you do!??!

By , 11/19/2010 3:03 PM

As we gather with our families for the coming holidays, many of us will again face that uncomfortable moment……..

… front of the whole family, Great Aunt Millie will look over her glasses with a stern and suspicious look and ask you “Just what IS it you do?”

In our never ending quest to support our loyal readers with life’s most difficult crises, Friday Thoughts brings you a poem that can be used to explain to both adults and children exactly what a consultant does.

 I gratefully acknowledge the poem inspiration came from Dan  and the extraordinary literary help of my colleagues Claire, Vicki   and Tom.

With deep and sincere apologies to Dr. Seuss …….

 Sue, what do you do? 

Hello, Sue! So nice to hear from you!
We’re very proud of you.
 We just wish we knew
 exactly what do you do??

Mother, I told you before, you see,
companies have issues and turn to me.
I am a consultant, I give advice for a fee.
I work for a consultancy!

Yes, that’s what you always say.
I just need a basic replay.
Can you please just convey
 what do you do all day??

I calculate and estimate
extrapolate and interpolate
correlate and prorate
calibrate and concatenate!
Your bright brother Hugh                          
runs a kangaroo zoo.
And he worries too
what do you do?

I organize and optimize,                       
synthesize and summarize,
standardize and synchronize,
strategize and scrutinize.                        

It sounds like you hypnotize!                               
It sounds like you mesmerize!

I analyze and amortize,
monetize and capitalize,
normalize and itemize,
prioritize and mobilize.

It sounds like you terrorize!!
it sounds like you downsize!!

We right size and sympathize,                        
empathize and stabilize,                                            
energize and galvanize,
identifize and processize!!

Your great aunt Lou                                
plays a blue didgeridoo.
She wonders where do you do
this thing that you do?

I do it in the air, I do it at O’Hare.
I do it on a call, I do it in a hall.
I do it on a plane, I do it on a train.
I do it in a car, and sometimes in a bar.          

For goodness sake, this sounds so fake.
Just tell me, what, what do you make?

Transformation and value creation,
Organization innovation,
Globalization implementation,
Collaboration coordination.  

We had high hopes for you,
sent you off to Purdue.                                                    
Please tell me true        
Really, what do you do?                                                          

I do
Situation, complication
Implication, presentation
Information, automation                              
Segmentation, integration           

Is this your imagination?
Are you on medication?
and this is your fabrication!??
I need an explanation!!

Projects and programs, proposals and plans!
Budgets and benchmarks, breakouts and brands!

I can’t understand this sleight of hand!!
Have you been living in Wonderland??

Metrics and meetings, targets and tracking !
Leaders and ladders, racking and stacking!! 

It sounds repetitive!

We make them competitive!

Your nice cousin Drew             

Sells kudzu shampoo.
That’s honest and true,
Sue, what do you do?

With a guideline and outline                          
we streamline the frontline
fix the bottom line
 before the deadline
Well…… most of the time

Oh dear, my daughter has lost her mind!
From sun-up to sun-down she’s on the grind!

We write a storyline
and build a pipeline
Clients push to be first in line
To be transformed by design! 

Your father Stu,
is a shoe glue guru.
But we all wish we knew,

what the heck you do!


The look at spending
is never ending
they’re always defending
the rules they are bending

My nephew Galoo                      
does kung fu tattoos,
 a job that’s tried and true.
Again, what do you do??

It’s simple mother, can’t you see?
We help companies fix their IT
whatever the problem happens to be

Java, Oracle or SAP.
Issue to outcome – that is the key!!

Oh brother! Oh Dear! Golly Geez!
This is all consultantese!
I don’t have a three PhDs,
will you explain in English, please? 

Go-Live date is very well known
I must reach the next milestone
I work my fingers to the bone
I even sleep with my phone
And we will never, ever postpone       

 This behavior I can’t condone!
Snap out of this consultant zone! 

Mother, all clients want to know
how to improve the status quo,
where to go
and ways to grow.

A good PMO
can make it so.

In school you grew and grew.
everything you could do.
Any career you could pursue!
You chose business jujitsu? 

We help them know.
We help them know what is below.
We help them know what is too slow.
We help them know about  BPO. 

 My daughter dear,
Can you be more clear??
I do not know
this BPO.

Our client takes a new view
Not to do all that they do.
So we propose to do
what they don’t want to do.
So they don’t do,
what they used to do. 

This conversation is deja vous!
This is what you put me thru?

We cure supply chain
of all the pain.
We share in the gain
and do it all from Spain!

Yes, Yes, that’s what you say!
But I worry and pray
in deep dismay
 what you really do all day??

We can help HR,
turn into a star.
We help them go far
way, way above par!

Please tell me Sue!
Is all of this really true?                        

PowerPoint, Excel, Word and OC
are great tools for me
to give the Client visibility
and (as the Army says), be all they can be!! 

For all of this they agree?
Agree, to pay you a fee?
What do they see?
It means nothing to me!

For their profit endeavor
we are very clever.
We pull every lever
and never say never.

With a good school try
and blink of an eye
their profits multiply
and stock shoots to the sky 

You don’t have to tell
But do they treat you “well”

They send lots of surveys.
They rank in strange ways.
But they gave me some praise
And they gave me a nice raise!

How is the pay
is it ground beef or filet?

Our salary and bonus is based on rank
This year it’s good, but last year it STANK! 

They give you a rank?
Like you work at a bank?


At the Very Top is the high highest place,
Significantly Above is down just one space.
Ranking Above is doing well in the race,              
Consistent With means pick up the pace.

 OK, OK. Now I want to know
where exactly do you go??

OH!  I go and I go !
Key Largo, Montego
Chicago, Toronto
Laredo, Ohio
Rio and Cabo

I worry about you!
Do you go to Kalamazoo?
Do you go to Katmandu?
Do you go to Timbuktu?
I am worried, worried about you!

 OH!  I go and I go!
Oslo and Idaho,
Mexico and Tokyo,
Monaco and Kokomo,
Silverado, Colorado.

 I worry about you !
Do you go to Peru?
Do you go to Cebu?
Do you go to Baku?
What about Zoligichiralararoo??

 OH!  I go and I go!
Sao Paolo and Milano,
Sacramento, San Francisco,
Puerto Rico, San Diego,
then Santiago on PTO! 

You travel every day
You travel far away
You have a secret way
Are  you with the CIA!!

Mother! I don’t break any laws!
I work and rarely pause.
But it’s fun to find the flaws
 then fix the root cause!

Our neighbor Boo
Cooks blue fondue
And Urdu stew,
she says your job is taboo           
that you do business voodoo!!

Mother! Please listen to me!
I have my integrity !

Sue please please try
try not to lie                                                     
Are you a rabbi?
Are you a…Spy?

 I love what I do
I like things that are new
I have my own point of view
I love what I do!

Sue, it’s time for a confession
There are so many questions.
Are there indiscretions?
Tell me, tell me, what is your profession?!?

Mother, I just told you,
I help my clients do!
I help them work through
what they need to do! 

My darling Sue!
You help people?
You help people?
 is THAT what you do

I’ve explained ‘til I am blue.
I help clients get through
what they need to do.
That’s exactly what I do

 Eureka, I get it!
Eureka, I get it!
You could have just said it!
You’re a business paramedic! 

Yes, Mother, Thank you!
That is precisely what I do. 

I’m so delighted now that I know,
But I have one more question – what is BPO?

Ugh !!!!! You don’t need to know!!
 I really have to go!!!

It’s so nice to hear from you
Stu, Hugh and Lou
 Drew, Boo and Galoo
We all love you                                                           
And we’re proud of you, too

Have fun doing whatever you do.
We wish we had a clue,
we just wish we knew,
Sue, what do you do???


Interesting unrelated facts:

– the real name of Dr. Seuss was Theodor Seuss Geisel.

– the accurate pronunciation of his name rhymed with “voice”,  but the popular pronunciation was encouraged by his publisher because it rhymed with Mother Goose.  More 

IKEA  floundered in Sweden for thirty years before finding an international audience.

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