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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bio




Art Lynch, PhD



Art has a PhD in Education, Masters in Communication, and Bachelors in Speech-Theater-Mass Communication, with an additional two years of post graduate work in theater. He grew up in Chicago and developed an interest in high school in theater and journalism.  His high school, Oak Park River Forest, is well known for its active theater arts program, producing internationally known performers. He also worked on the school newspaper. These early interests influenced his college and career choices. While at University of Illinois, Chicago he managed the college radio station and participated in theater. After graduation he worked in radio, doing stints as a reporter, news director and operations manager in several states, winning awards along the way. He also stayed active in theater and film (particularly musical theater). He developed and coordinated the Las Vegas branch of the Screen Actors Conservatory. He has served on SAG National Board of Directors for the past 18 years.  He left journalism and broadcasting and worked in advertising and public relations, founding a successful, award- winning boutique agency. He discovered his love for teaching, which allows him to employ both his performance and journalistic aptitudes, and has taught at both public and private colleges.  He continues to pursue theater and film as an actor and teacher, and works Sundays at the public radio station, KNPR. He now lives in the small, historic town of Boulder City, Nevada, close to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. He completed his dissertation researching the 31ers Education Program, which keeps alive the history of Boulder City. He also serves on the Dam Short Film Festival Board in Boulder City

Betty Boop in restored 1932 "Minnie the Moocher"





Betty Boop made her first appearance on August 9, 1930, in the cartoon "Dizzy Dishes"; the sixth installment in Fleischer's Talkartoon series. Although Clara Bow is often given as being the model for Boop, she actually began as a caricature of singer Helen Kane. The eight Talkartoons that followed all starred Betty, leading her into her own series beginning in 1932. With the release of "Stopping the Show" (August 1932), the Talkartoons were replaced by the Betty Boop series, which continued for the next seven years.

Max Fleischer finalized Betty Boop as a human character in 1932, in the cartoon "Any Rags". Her floppy poodle ears became hoop earrings, and her black poodle nose became a girl's button-like nose. Betty Boop appeared as a supporting character in 10 cartoons as a flapper girl with more heart than brains.

Betty Boop was the star of the Talkartoons by 1932 and was given her own series that same year, beginning with Stopping the Show. From that point on, she was crowned "The Queen of the Animated Screen." The series was popular throughout the 1930s, lasting until 1939.
Betty Boop is regarded as one of the first and most famous sex symbols on the animated screen; she is a symbol of the Depression era, and a reminder of the more carefree days of Jazz Age flappers. Her popularity was drawn largely from adult audiences, and the cartoons, while seemingly surreal, contained many sexual and psychological elements, particularly in the "Talkartoon," "Minnie the Moocher", featuring Cab Calloway and his orchestra. "Minnie the Moocher" defined Betty's character as a teenager of a modern era, at odds with the old world ways of her parents. In the cartoon, after a disagreement with her parents, Betty runs away from home, accompanied by her boyfriend Bimbo, only to get lost in a haunted cave. A ghostly walrus (rotoscoped from live-action footage of Calloway), sings Calloway's famous song "Minnie the Moocher", accompanied by several other ghosts and skeletons. This haunting performance sends the frightened Betty and Bimbo back to the safety of home. "Minnie the Moocher" served as a promotion for Calloway's subsequent stage appearances and also established Betty Boop as a cartoon star.

Apple on TV and Film Sets

Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk

William Shatner as Kirk in a promotional photo...From Forbes.com (click here)

Captain James T. Kirk is one of the most famous Captains in the history of Starfleet. There’s a good reason for that. He saved the planet Earth several times, stopped the Doomsday Machine, helped negotiate peace with the Klingon Empire, kept the balance of power between the Federation and the Romulan Empire, and even managed to fight Nazis. On his five-year mission commanding the U.S.S. Enterprise, as well as subsequent commands, James T. Kirk was a quintessential leader, who led his crew into the unknown and continued to succeed time and time again.
(Image via Wikipedia)
Kirk’s success was no fluke, either. His style of command demonstrates a keen understanding of leadership and how to maintain a team that succeeds time and time again, regardless of the dangers faced.  Here are five of the key leadership lessons that you can take away from Captain Kirk as you pilot your own organization into unknown futures.

1. Never Stop Learning
“You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as the unknown– only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.”



Captain Kirk may have a reputation as a suave ladies man, but don’t let that exterior cool fool you. Kirk’s reputation at the Academy was that of a “walking stack of books,” in the words of his former first officer, Gary Mitchell. And a passion for learning helped him through several missions. Perhaps the best demonstration of this is in the episode “Arena,” where Kirk is forced to fight a Gorn Captain in single combat by advanced beings. Using his own knowledge and materials at hand, Kirk is able to build a rudimentary shotgun, which he uses to defeat the Gorn.
If you think about it, there’s no need for a 23rd Century Starship Captain to know how to mix and prepare gunpowder if the occasion called for it. After all, Starfleet officers fight with phasers and photon torpedoes. To them, gunpowder is obsolete. But the same drive for knowledge that drove Kirk to the stars also caused him to learn that bit of information, and it paid off several years later.
In the same way, no matter what your organization does, it helps to never stop learning. The more knowledge you have, the more creative you can be. The more you’re able to do, the more solutions you have for problems at your disposal. Sure, you might never have to face down a reptilian alien on a desert planet, but you never know what the future holds. Knowledge is your best key to overcoming whatever obstacles are in your way.

2. Have Advisors With Different Worldviews
“One of the advantages of being a captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.”

Kirk’s closest two advisors are Commander Spock, a Vulcan committed to a philosophy of logic, and Dr. Leonard McCoy, a human driven by compassion and scientific curiosity. Both Spock and McCoy are frequently at odds with each other, recommended different courses of action and bringing very different types of arguments to bear in defense of those points of view. Kirk sometimes goes with one, or the other, or sometimes takes their advice as a springboard to developing an entirely different course of action.

However, the very fact that Kirk has advisors who have a different worldview not only from each other, but also from himself, is a clear demonstration of Kirk’s confidence in himself as a leader. Weak leaders surround themselves with yes men who are afraid to argue with them. That fosters an organizational culture that stifles creativity and innovation, and leaves members of the organization afraid to speak up. That can leave the organization unable to solve problems or change course. Historically, this has led to some serious disasters, such as Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Organizations that allow for differences of opinion are better at developing innovation, better at solving problems, and better at avoiding groupthink. We all need a McCoy and a Spock in our lives and organizations.

3. Be Part Of The Away Team
“Risk is our business. That’s what this starship is all about. That’s why we’re aboard her.”

Whenever an interesting or challenging mission came up, Kirk was always willing to put himself in harm’s way by joining the Away Team. With his boots on the ground, he was always able to make quick assessments of the situation, leading to superior results. At least, superior for everyone with a name and not wearing a red shirt. Kirk was very much a hands-on leader, leading the vanguard of his crew as they explored interesting and dangerous situations.

When you’re in a leadership role, it’s sometimes easy to let yourself get away from leading Away Team missions. After all, with leadership comes perks, right? You get the nice office on the higher floor. You finally get an assistant to help you with day to day activities, and your days are filled with meetings and decisions to be made, And many of these things are absolutely necessary. But it’s sometimes easy to trap yourself in the corner office and forget what life is like on the front lines. When you lose that perspective, it’s that much harder to understand what your team is doing, and the best way to get out of the problem. What’s more, when you’re not involved with your team, it’s easy to lose their trust and have them gripe about how they don’t understand what the job is like.

This is a lesson that was actually imprinted on me in one of my first jobs, making pizzas for a franchise that doesn’t exist anymore. Our general manager spent a lot of time in his office, focused on the paperwork and making sure that we could stay afloat on the razor-thin margins we were running. But one thing he made sure to do, every day, was to come out during peak times and help make pizza. He didn’t have to do that, but he did. The fact that he did so made me like him a lot more. It also meant that I trusted his decisions a lot more. In much the same way, I’m sure, as Kirk’s crew trusted his decisions, because he knew the risks of command personally.


4. Play Poker, Not Chess
“Not chess, Mr. Spock. Poker. Do you know the game?”

In one of my all-time favorite Star Trek episodes, Kirk and his crew face down an unknown vessel from a group calling themselves the “First Federation.”  Threats from the vessel escalate until it seems that the destruction of the Enterprise is imminent. Kirk asks Spock for options, who replies that the Enterprise has been playing a game of chess, and now there are no winning moves left. Kirk counters that they shouldn’t play chess – they should play poker. He then bluffs the ship by telling them that the Enterprise has a substance in its hull called “corbomite” which will reflect the energy of any weapon back against an attacker. This begins a series of actions that enables the Enterprise crew to establish peaceful relations with the First Federation.

I love chess as much as the next geek, but chess is often taken too seriously as a metaphor for leadership strategy. For all of its intricacies, chess is a game of defined rules that can be mathematically determined. It’s ultimately a game of boxes and limitations. A far better analogy to strategy is poker, not chess. Life is a game of probabilities, not defined rules. And often understanding your opponents is a much greater advantage than the cards you have in your hand. It was knowledge of his opponent that allowed Kirk to defeat Khan in Star Trek II by exploiting Khan’s two-dimensional thinking. Bluffs, tells, and bets are all a big part of real-life strategy. Playing that strategy with an eye to the psychology of our competitors, not just the rules and circumstances of the game  can often lead to better outcomes than following the rigid lines of chess.

5. Blow up the Enterprise
“‘All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.’ You could feel the wind at your back in those days. The sounds of the sea beneath you, and even if you take away the wind and the water it’s still the same. The ship is yours. You can feel her. And the stars are still there, Bones.”

One recurring theme in the original Star Trek series is that Kirk’s first love is the Enterprise. That love kept him from succumbing to the mind-controlling spores in “This Side of Paradise,” and it’s hinted that his love for the ship kept him from forming any real relationships or starting a family. Despite that love, though, there came a point in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, where Captain Kirk made a decision that must have pained him enormously – in order to defeat the Klingons attacking him and save his crew, James Kirk destroyed the Enterprise. The occasion, in the film, was treated with the solemnity of a funeral, which no doubt matched Kirk’s mood. The film ends with the crew returning to Vulcan on a stolen Klingon vessel, rather than the Enterprise. But they returned victorious.

We are often, in our roles as leaders, driven by a passion. It might be a product or service, it might be a way of doing things. But no matter how much that passion burns within us, the reality is that times change. Different products are created. Different ways of doing things are developed. And there will come times in your life when that passion isn’t viable anymore. A time when it no longer makes sense to pursue your passion. When that happens, no matter how painful it is, you need to blow up the Enterprise. That is, change what isn’t working and embark on a new path, even if that means having to live in a Klingon ship for awhile.

Final Takeaway:
In his many years of service to the Federation, James Kirk embodied several leadership lessons that we can use in our own lives. We need to keep exploring and learning. We need to ensure that we encourage creativity and innovation by listening to the advice of people with vastly different opinions. We need to occasionally get down in the trenches with the members of our teams so we understand their needs and earn their trust and loyalty. We need to understand the psychology of our competitors and also learn to radically change course when circumstances dictate. By following these lessons, we can lead our organizations into places where none have gone before.

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Read my Forbes blog here.
From Forbes.com (click here) 

Students as customers


Consumer based education - the erosion of society


Is choosing a school like choosing a brand of television, clothing or food?

Should the consumer decide what it worth learning, what they need to know and how they wish to learn it?

I recently watched a television program where a group of young vampires were out to take over and run the world. The older vampire tried to tell them they were not ready, that they did not have the experience, patience and eduction to be the leaders and custodians of society. Of course they laughed him off, since at their age they felt ready and qualified for anything.

Should the buyer determine the inventory? What is taught? How much to pay?

Faculty are making, in real adjusted incomes, less than they did ten years ago and far less than at what be the height or American public education, the late 1960's and early 70's. That's full time faculty, which may be a dieing breed. It seems that the students, or consumers, expect teachers to do their jobs and do them well at pay levels the student consider fair. And students constantly complain about courses they are "forced" to take, ones they feel have no bearing on their lives or their futures. Classes such as history, philosophy, communication and art history. They see no value in the liberal arts, the very foundation of an educated, civic and operational society.

Can society function if students control education? What will happen to the advancement of scholarly knowledge? To the higher goals of education to advance society? To Jefferson's dream of a liberal arts  or classically trained educated electorate? To the ability to rise to higher levels of thought, achievement and intellectual advancement?

Will there be a classically educated elite and a trade educated, or self determined educational track workers caste?

In a consumer based system sales comes into play. Students are sold programs, and schools, with climbing walls and movie theaters in the student union, and campus social life overtaking the quality of programs and the basic foundation courses for success in our society. If it is about commissions then the power is in the hands of the marketers and not the educators.

Should the public, as a consumer, determine what constitutes an education?

Define education. Can society operate without a well balanced educational base? Yes, but lost will be the leaders, thinkers and the very foundation of Democracy, and educated voter base. I know of a school teacher who does own a single book. I am including e-books! This person is leading, teaching and influencing a future generation while not believing in or practicing the literacy tool of reading.

There is a role for trade colleges, on-line schools, public education systems, church based education and adult education programs. They all have value provided students understand that the school is set up to teach what you need to learn and to prepare the students for what comes next. Students are seldom in a position to decide if they need history, math, science, English, communication or other courses. Let the professionals guide you.

Make educated choices in choosing those professionals, then accept that they have your best interests in mind and follow the course work, doing the best you can and above all, to its completion and graduation.

First posted January 9, 2010