October 2019 Soto’s Chronicles
Protecting your most valuable asset — your family
FROM THE DESK OF
Happy October! Which means happy fall!
Although we don’t have a change of colors here in California, hopefully, we will have a change of weather! Change is coming. I once read you are always either preparing to go through change, going through change, or coming out of change! With so much change that happens in one’s lifetime, I do hope your estate plan will be updated and change with you. Some changes include the following: having a baby, your child getting married, getting a divorce, getting married, a loved one passing, or your child having marital issues or even mental health issues. There are ways to protect your children and family with a little bit of planning. I love this saying: “Plan for what is difficult while it is easy. Do what is great while it is small.”With that, I hope to hear from you soon, and I hope you will pass this along to your family and friends who need to review and plan their estates.
5 MONSTERS DESTROYING YOUR COMPANY CULTURE H ow to D odge the B usiness B oogeymen T his H alloween
When Halloween rolls around, it’s easy to become so preoccupied with the monsters stalking the sidewalks and TV screens that you forget about the everyday boogeymen plaguing your office year-round. While the pillagers of workplace culture don’t wear fake fur, excessive makeup, or rubber masks, they can be just as terrifying as their fictional counterparts. Here’s a list of monsters to watch for, just in time for collecting candy.
Until next time, many blessings.
BOREDOM: THE MUMMY
Though it often creeps up quietly, few monsters are more damaging to workplace culture than the boredom mummy. If excessive routine has made your office yawn-inducing or has mummified your employees at their desks, a crisis is likely nearby. One CNN article postulated that boredom is “the new stress,” and bored employees are more likely to be unhappy and seek new positions, even if they’re still effective. To keep boredom levels in check, try to automate repetitive tasks, offer new challenges, and encourage communication.
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GOSSIP: THE WEREWOLF
Gossip is like a werewolf. It doesn’t show up every day, but, when it does, it wreaks havoc. Rumors quickly destroy morale, erode relationships, and ramp up workplace tension. Worse, they can cause even the most dedicated employees to quit due to what’s often labeled as a “toxic” office culture. Inc. Magazine claims that zero-tolerance policies, regular meetings to air
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expectations well. To keep your managers from causing shrieks and scurries every time they pop in on their charges, ensure they maintain good, consistent relationships with staff and spend regular hours in the office. That way, employees will be more likely to run to them rather than from them.
grievances, and one-on-one discussions with loose-lipped personnel are good strategies to keep the werewolf in check.
OVERWORK: THE VAMPIRE
While some employees can handle packed schedules and extra work, overloading your entire team or office can be as ambition-sucking as the
MISGUIDED INITIATIVES: FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER
thirstiest vampire. Too many tasks can throw off your team’s work-life balance, keeping your employees up all night and inviting angst, sleepiness, and inefficiency. To stake the vampire, encourage your employees to share concerns about their workloads, embrace flextime, and set a good example by keeping reasonable hours yourself.
Like the scientist Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s tale, it’s all too common for businesses to begin projects with the best of intentions, only to create monsters instead of successes. A project that stems from a good idea but lacks realism or follow-through can turn into a money pit for your company and a time-suck for your employees, rearing its ugly head again and again like Frankenstein’s Monster — and perhaps even bringing your company down. Try preventing the monster’s rise by investigating all eventualities and assigning specific roles to team members before you put the final stitch in a new initiative.
ABSENTEE MANAGEMENT: THE GHOST
An absentee manager can terrorize an office just as effectively as an unhappy ghost. If a manager is there one minute and gone the next, their presence can cause stress for employees, who won’t know them or their
REIGNITE YOUR PASSION Lessons in Innovation From Henry Ford
both. He looked at how cars were actually made and found that, if he could build more cars within a certain time frame, he could pay less per car, per worker. Thus, the moving assembly line was born. When looking for ways to innovate in your industry, rethinking even the smallest, simplest details can make a huge difference for your business. You may not be able to reinvent the wheel, but who said you couldn’t reinvent the brake pads? Henry Ford may have changed the automobile industry forever, but you don’t have to go to such lengths to innovate in your own. The next time you find yourself uninspired or stagnant, look to those who made your industry what it is today. You might just find the inspiration you’ve been searching for.
and, if you apply them to your own journey, you could gain a new perspective and be inspired to create and innovate in your industry.
As entrepreneurs scale their businesses, there is a lot to focus on: hiring the right staff, creating the most effective marketing strategies, and setting up efficient operations. With so much to do, it’s easy to lose sight of your initial vision for your company. If you’re stuck in a rut, know that you’re not alone. Plenty of the most successful entrepreneurs have endured the same struggles and, with a little ambition and a lot of creativity, came out on top. Take Henry Ford, for example. Henry Ford made the automobile accessible and appealing for the common citizen. This ignited interest in the market from consumers and manufacturers alike, which led to innovations like air conditioning and other appliances we can’t imagine living without today. There were some key factors that played into his success,
CONSUMER-FOCUSED Ford realized cars were unreliable and
unaffordable to most and set out to change that. After developing the first moving assembly line, Ford lowered the price of cars and made them accessible for people outside the upper class for the first time. As long as you keep the consumer and their needs in mind, you’ll find ways to make their experience better and increase your success. SMALL CHANGES, BIG IMPACT Unlike many companies today who sacrifice quality for quantity, Ford found ways to focus on
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HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS OR FIGHTING WORDS?
A Grave Legal Matter
Halloween decorations, but these tombstones displayed a special message for the neighbors. Each headstone was inscribed with a sarcastic message and house number, implying the occupants’ death dates. These messages soon caught the neighbors’ attention. “Bettewasn’t ready, but here she lies, ever since that night she died. Twelve feet deep in this trench, still wasn’t deep enough for that stench! 1690.” Insulted and a little afraid, Purtell’s neighbors called the police to have the headstones removed. After a couple of visits, Officer Bruce Mason arrived and threatened to arrest Purtell if he didn’t take the tombstones down. Purtell obliged, but the matter wasn’t put to rest.
We’ve all played a harmless trick or two, but sometimes, Halloween shenanigans get out of hand. They can lead to hurt feelings, outraged neighbors, and, in the case of Purtell v. Mason, a lawsuit. In the days leading up to Halloween, all was not quiet in the village of Bloomingdale. Previously parked in a storage unit, Jeff and Vicki Purtell’s 38-foot RV was now parked in front of their house. In protest, neighbors petitioned to town officials, wanting an ordinance put in place to prohibit RV parking on residential property. While the ordinance was under consideration, Jeff Purtell took matters into his own hands. He erected six wooden tombstones in his front yard. They seemed to be innocuous
THE VERDICT Purtell sued Officer Mason on the grounds of violating his rights to free speech, and the case made it all the way to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Sykes ruled that the tombstones did not constitute fighting words and were protected under the First Amendment. However, she also ruled that Officer Mason was entitled to qualified immunity, as any reasonable officer would act the same under the circumstances. The bigger question might be how this case made it all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals. As Judge Sykes wrote in her opinion,“Lawsuits like this one cast the legal profession in a bad light and contribute to the impression that Americans are an overlawyered and excessively litigious people.”
Take a Break!
HOW TO ASSEMBLE A VEGGIE SKELETON Thosewho eat paleomay struggle to find aHalloween treat suitable to their diet. But nomatter what your dietary restrictions are, everyone can enjoy some rawveggies with a healthy dip. Here are some tips for constructing your very own veggie skeleton—a spooky twist on a time-tested treat. For the Head Your favorite paleo-friendly dip makes a great canvas for a face. Pour it into a bowl and build features on top using different veggies. For the Ribcage Sliced cucumbers make for great vertebrae, and bell pepper slivers can be used to simulate ribs. Alternate between the two to give your skeleton some backbone. For the Arms and Legs Any long and straight vegetable will do the trick here. If you want to be anatomically accurate, consider using some spherical vegetables for joints.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and wacky with your veggie skeleton. The whole point, after all, is to have some fun and give people a reason to smile.
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