This topic is probably my favorite on many, many dimensions, and that is causality. Causality, what do I mean? Causality means something that causes something else, or is a partial cause for something else. The study, the watching, the asking of questions to delve into the depths of causality are critical for everything, from anything you’re going to do in business because it’s going to have an effect on the customer, or: What do you do that has an effect that’s negative or positive for the customer now? If you don’t understand that, what are you going to do in the future, all the way to your kids. Just take a look at what your kids do and how they do.
I’m not saying there’s right or wrong answers, but what I am saying is: Always look underneath the covers. Some of the examples are really kind of interesting. You take a look at kids, for example: What do you do if your kid does something wrong? What happens if your kid doesn’t study? If you repeatedly don’t do anything, are they going to study? What happens?
Watch any time—you may have done this, or caught yourself in this, or one of your spouses or whatever—what happens when a baby cries? You’ll see very often that the mother picks up the baby, and then the baby stops. There is sometimes that that’s necessary or appropriate, and other times you shouldn’t pick up the baby. Now, I don’t know the answers to that, not at all. I don’t have the foggiest idea, but watch how sometimes babies train their mothers because they want to be picked up, they want to be held. Heck, I do, too. (But I’m a little too big for the pick up part.)
Anyway, also take a look at education, everything that’s happening in education today. Here, again, ask questions. I see all the time, and it really, really gets to me when I see these flyers outside or the thing in the mail that says: “It’s time to vote for a new bond issue,” or this, or that, or the other thing, and it’s usually about something like: We need lower classroom size, or new classrooms, or more classrooms, or more teachers. First of all, there’s an over-supply of potential teachers out there. There’s all kinds of women, in general, (some men but mostly women), go through the education departments at our universities and then can’t find jobs. Why? Because the unions close them off because of the tenure, etc., role.
Then you think of: What’s the cause in there? The tenure causes not only the good, but also the bad teachers to be retained. The idea is supposed to protect the teachers. Why are we protecting them? They’re not supposed to be giving political speeches in class, either. They’re supposed to be teaching our kids. It’s also not a popularity place. They’re not supposed to be winning over the students, not in the sense to be popular, but in the sense to be respected, well thought of, and to be teaching.
Back to classroom size, much smaller than when I went to school, so the problem isn’t the classroom size, it’s that they can’t have discipline. The problem is other things that they have to figure out, but they have to go back to the root cause.
Take a look at government programs, how many programs there are for poverty, etc. None of them ever get deleted. What are they doing, what do they do? What is the purpose behind them? Okay, yes, to make somebody so that they’re not destitute or unhealthy, or something like that. But if it doesn’t work, why doesn’t it work? What happens when we supply or provide something, and make it easy to get? How easy should it be to get? I mean, these are difficult questions without easy answers, but they should be discussed and they should be thought about. The idea that when you have a program that makes it so that somebody has the ability to get income, and food, etc., and if they start making money, they’re going to lose that – they’ll be afraid to go out and make money. There’s a disincentive.
I’ve met, over time, a lot of women who were single moms, and they would talk to me, etc., and I would have to say: “Quite frankly, I can’t honestly tell you to do such-and-such. I think that it’s somewhat precarious, because you have the potential of losing all of your benefits,” and that’s horrible. Now, if they can go and get some training that they could become officially certified in something – that’s a different story, but to all of a sudden just leave benefits all behind when they’re trying to take care of one of their children, that’s a tough question. What do we do? What’s the causality in what we took and what we did?
Now I’ve got a couple of good ones. What about the death penalty? Lots of people are: “Oh, it’s terrible, it’s barbaric, we’re against the death penalty.” That sounds like a very nice, wonderful thing. What happens if somebody commits a crime that there’s no automatic life sentence? At that point, they have nothing to lose. If there’s no fear of anything more than what they already did or had, they’re an extreme danger to society if they’re out there, because they can and might do anything to anybody. So, how do you do that? Yeah, tough question, but it should be thought about.
Yes, you have to think of all of these, and delve into all of these different things, and realize that very often there’s not an easy or right answer. The world is not black and white; it’s grey – sorry. I’m lucky, I’m colorblind, so I don’t know the rest of the spectrum anyway.
Right now in business, business is trying to figure out: How do we enable or how do we get along with Millennials? I ask the question: Should you? Should you get along with them? That’s maybe part of the problem. What happened when they were growing up? They didn’t have to do anything. Something that I’ve been preaching for now 25-30 years, that we were starting to get to the point where everybody was wanting to make sure their kids had all the things they never had. What happened? They all grew up to be Millennials. So, what do we have? We have kids out there that don’t really know what it’s like to be in society, they don’t really have the obligations and the choices that have to be made, because they weren’t facing it when they were growing up through their teen years in particular. Now they are, say, in their 20s, many of them moving back to their parents. You’re in business, what do you do? One is you might want to make sure that you interview very carefully.
Back to another economic topic. Right now a big thing out there today is $15 per hour minimum wage. I was a little shocked, because I started to look up, as I always do, I go and check the data, etc. and I started to look up the government data, and all of a sudden they’re no longer calling this the “minimum wage,” they’re calling it a “living wage.” What in the hell are they doing? It’s not a living wage. There was supposed to be a minimum wage, and basically, that was a political movement to change it from “minimum” to “living.” What happens with that $15 an hour wage? Well, I can tell you because in particular I’ve helped a lot of small businesses, and gone through detailed records of their financials, etc. Many, and I’m talking many, many, many companies, small businesses, etc., are going to go out of business because they rely on having people that come in, work part time, maybe work full time, but at a lower wage, and because the costs are so much more.
I’m going to actually turn out something next week, comparing what’s going on in things like McDonald’s and their prices, etc. All of a sudden, the prices themselves are almost no longer making sense. It’s convenience, but it’s not beneficial, and I’ll explain that. What will happen with the $15? Are you going to pay $7-$8 for your burger from McDonald’s? That’s a big question.
The other thing is: What should a minimum wage job be? Remember those Millennials? It should be those people, maybe older people, whatever, or first-time employees. What are they (first time employees) doing? They’re getting a job, they’re learning how to treat a customer, how to react to a customer. If not, they’re fired and they have to go find another minimum wage job. They eventually learn the skills necessary to cooperate with one another, work as a team, and then they have something to go to the next phase of their life in another job.
If they want more than minimum wage, whatever that is, they should go and get it by the training in a community college for a trade or something else, or just go the natural progression (of starter jobs and learning ‘on the job’). But these jobs for teenagers and others are to learn what it’s like to be in the workforce, so they don’t all end up to be Millennials.
Thank you very much. I don’t want to make this any longer. (However, always think of causality, always ask the question ‘why.’) I have a bunch of other topics I’d love to talk on this, or send me a note.