By Dr. Marion D. Thorpe
The basic concepts of fairness and accountability have eluded some of Florida’s US Congressional Districts on a regrettably consistent basis through the years.
Though originally founded on the belief that Congressional re-districting should provide people with United States Representatives who look like them, worship like them, and/or come from where they are from, the repeated outcome of Florida’s US Congressional Districts has crossed the line when it comes to gerrymandering. On this matter the Florida Supreme Court and I are in agreement.
Reaching mutual agreement on the fact that our Congressional lines are less than fair to the people of Florida turns out to be the easy part. Reaching consensus on how best to re-draw Florida’s Congressional lines before the 2016 election has not been so easy.
The Florida Supreme Court hearing on November 10, 2015 will finalize new (and hopefully fair) US Congressional lines. As the hearing approaches, cries of desperation have been voiced more loudly by politicians than by Floridians. Quite frankly, I have a deaf ear when it comes to proponents of “coronations, incumbency, and safe-seats;” but rather, I care deeply about my fellow citizens who have been overlooked and taken for granted by “win at all cost” politicians.
As someone who traveled the State of Florida extensively (the 3rd largest state in the Union) while serving as Chief Medical Officer at the State of Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration, I am well aware that our needs in the southernmost portion of Miami-Dade county are different from other parts of the state.
Plain and simple, our US Representative must be attuned to our concerns, and more importantly, accountable to “We the People” regarding the issues that are important to us.
It is my strongest hope that the Florida Supreme Court will make certain that my fellow citizens are provided a fair Congressional election map; thus ensuring proper and accountable representation in Washington, D.C.
Marion D. Thorpe, Jr. MD MPH is the former Chief Medical Officer for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. You can follow his blog here.
Cover Photo Credit: Stephen Nakatani/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
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By Mario Moussa and Derek Newberry
On a balmy night in Oakland last October, the energy of the sell-out crowd at the Oracle Arena was flagging.
While the die-hard Golden State Warriors fans had high hopes for the season, their team had lost two of their first three pre-season games, and they were struggling to get momentum against the Houston Rockets early in the first quarter.
Trying to spark some life into his team, Steph Curry took the ball from Draymond Green at the top of the key and dribbled past four defenders on his way to what looked like an easy lay up.
At the last minute, he whipped a no-look pass to Brandon Rush for an open corner three.
The crowd jumped to their feet. Players on the bench laughed and high-fived each other as a grinning Curry jogged up the court.
It is fitting that the play happened against the talent-rich Rockets, a team that, for many experts and insiders, represented the future of the NBA. But the Warriors may actually be the team of the future. Their current season has featured similar scenes of flawless teamwork that may well produce the best season in NBA history.
The top player passes up a good shot for a great shot, tossing the ball to a bench player with a better look, while the rest of the team cheers.
Just a few years ago, the Moneyball model of talent management seemed poised to sweep the NBA. Led by luminaries like Sam Hinkie, who instilled this approach in the Rockets before moving to the Sixers, front office executives have become increasingly focused on acquiring “undervalued assets” rather than worrying about intangibles like chemistry and character.
Now, as our own hometown Sixers are in the NBA basement and the Rockets are underperforming, the Warriors appear to be ushering in a new era of basketball.
The Warriors’ philosophy is deceptively simple, but it confirms what we know from our own research on collaboration at the Wharton School of Business: High-performing teams trump collections of talented individuals.
In a league driven by lone superstars and individually-focused metrics, the Warriors are succeeding by putting in place what we have found to be the three foundations common to all high-performing teams: goals, roles and norms.
Define simple, clear goals
In a recent interview, center Andrew Bogut recalls how shocked his teammates were when they started their first practice with coach Steve Kerr by doing basic passing drills that they hadn’t seen since high school: “Guys were kind of like, ‘Ugh, we don’t want to do these petty little drills,’ but after a couple of weeks I think guys understood what he was trying to relay onto us. And it was genius in a way, because it’s just instilling the little things.”
Kerr believed that an overcomplicated strategy had caused the team to lose sight of the basic fundamentals.
According to Bogut, he told them: “[if we] just turn it over four or five times less per game, we’re going to win a championship.”
The prediction proved to be true, and it came from an insight shared by all leaders of top teams:
The best goals aren’t about big, abstract visions, but small, manageable steps.
Turn the ball over a few less times. Make a few more passes. Goals need to be clear and straightforward to be achievable, as Kerr himself has explained: “Run six or eight things really well, instead of 20 things in a mediocre fashion.” The Warriors’ success demonstrates the power of simplicity.
Define roles that work for individuals and for the team as a whole
When Kerr decided to bench Andre Iguodala and start Harrison Barnes last season, most people thought he was out of his mind. Iguodala had been acquired by the team as a franchise player, not a $12 million a year bench warmer.
But Kerr believed Barnes had struggled after a promising rookie season because his confidence was hurt when he was moved to a reserve role in his second year.
Barnes needed the security of having a consistent role on the team, and he would improve by being forced to keep up with better players.
Iguodala would provide a solid veteran presence for the bench unit and a boost of energy later in games when starters rested.
As it happened, both players excelled in their roles. Barnes returned to form while Iguodala became a serious candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award, on their way to winning their first title in 40 years.
Kerr understood that team roles don’t work in isolation—their effectiveness depends on how they interconnect and this will be different for every group.
As the better player, it would normally make sense to have Iguodala in the starting role with Barnes on the bench, but given the team dynamic, Kerr had the insight to switch them.
Establish shared norms by building trusting relationships
From top to bottom, the Warriors organization has built a culture around trust and transparency, to the point where owner Joe Lacob installed glass walls throughout the team offices to reinforce his message of openness.
The trust the team has built starts with a shared set of norms that encourage everyone to voice their opinion.
For Kerr, it began with one-on-one conversations he had with the team after he was hired. He impressed his players by visiting each one individually, even flying out to Australia for Andrew Bogut, and explaining to them how he thought they would fit into his strategy.
In fact, it was this process of sitting down face to face, being transparent, and asking for feedback that convinced Iguodala to go along with being moved to the bench.
This norm of honesty is reinforced in everything Kerr does, as Green noted in a recent interview: “Earlier this season I yelled at him during the game…[Later] he said, ‘Nah, you’re fine. I love your passion; why would I try to stop that? That makes you the player who you are.”
Transparency infuses the entire organization, as Lacob himself is known for inviting dissenting opinions from his staff, rather than running the team like a dictatorship as many owners do. By creating shared norms, the Warriors have built a high level of trust that makes their signature style of unselfish play possible, even on a team with big egos.
Kerr once described his coaching philosophy as being 90% team environment, 10% strategy.
At a time when the dominant trend in the NBA has been about analyzing players as individual assets, the Warriors are creating a counter-revolution based on group dynamics. As Lacob told writer Bruce Schoenfeld: “It’s not just Steph Curry. It’s architecting a team, a style of play, the way they all play together.”
It starts with putting the right foundations in place for collective success.
As they head toward a historic season by multiple measures, the Warriors are bringing the team back to basketball.
Dr. Mario Moussa and Dr. Derek Newberry are the authors of Committed Teams: Three Steps to Inspiring Passion and Performance. They both teach at the Wharton School of Business. For more information on their work, visit, www.committedteams.com
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.Cover Photo Credit: Golden State Warriors/ FacebookPost Views: 507
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By Kyle Jones
Earlier this month, the photograph of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned trying to flee to Greece with his brother and mother, horrified the world and focused its attention on the ongoing refugee crisis in Syria and throughout the Middle East.
Since the Syrian Civil War started nearly five years ago, more than 210,000 Syrians have been killed, and an estimated 10 million Syrians have been displaced inside the country or in camps in neighboring countries. As the Syrian Refugee crisis worsens and now spreads to Europe, many now question what the responsibility of the western world is in helping to resolve both the refugee crisis and the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Many nations and world leaders have attempted to lend aid to refugees seeking asylum. Turkey has taken in over 1.9 million refugees who have fled the conflict in Syria. Another 1.1 million have fled to Lebanon, nearly 637,000 have been taken in by Jordan, and Germany is expected to take in 800,000 refugees by the end of the year.
While many have been welcoming to the refugees, many throughout Europe have come out viscerally against accepting refugees. The Prime Minister of Slovakia has refused to accept any refugees and while a spokesperson for the Hungarian Government said they would abide resettlement of refuges, the government has also constructed a 109-mile razor tipped fence around its border to keep migrants out of their country.
Meanwhile the United States has accepted 1,500 refugees thus far and is preparing to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees. This figure would be allocated out of a U.S. quota of 75,000 total refugee admissions slated for the next fiscal year. Many Americans; however, fear that even this is too many. Congressional Republicans have raised concerns for months over the possibility that Syrian extremists, including ISIS sympathizers, could enter the country passing themselves off as refugees.
It is understandable that when the world is faced with a horrific crisis, that fear seizes the hearts of many. Undeniably, there are challenges when meeting a crisis of this magnitude. While the future is unclear; however, history is always there to guide us.
History most clearly remembers actions, or the lack there of. Following Kristallnacht, thousands of Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria fled to the United States trying to escape the growing shadow of Nazism. Then as now, the conflict seemed to many Americans to be a distant one and none of our affairs. Then as now, many people feared what would happen if we accepted these refugees in the wake of the nation’s economic turmoil. Ultimately the United States never increased its quotas for refugees, and as a result many lives that could have been saved were lost.
We are once again faced as a nation with people seeking refuge from a faraway conflict. Men, women, and children all hoping to find peace and mercy in a world that they know is far too often chaotic and unmerciful. We can either chose to commit the same mistake twice, or we can act like the world leader that we truly want to be.
Cover Photo Credit: Takver/Flickr (CC by SA-2.0)
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By Zhe Huang
Getting a job out of college is a tough process.
Students need to find companies that they are interested in and search for opportunities which match their interests and talents.
It can be stressful and confusing.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if you had a mentor when going through the process?
So why don’t more college professors make an effort to help their students get a college once they graduate?
Just think about it.
Professors have information about their students that they can use to further their careers. They have a good idea whether they are strong in certain areas and can give important insights to perspective employers.
However, professors oftentimes mislead their students about how much they are willing to help them.
I will make this concept clear using my friend’s example.
She is very smart and good at academic work.
My professor works with a management team of a hotel to run a research project in engineering and asked her to join in.
Before the project, my friend was not informed about the content of what she was going to be doing. But she trusted the professor and believed that it would end up helping her in the long run.
She was wrong.
It was not until the time my friend went to the hotel with my professor that she knew it was about engineering and she was upset but couldn’t quit the task.
Basically the professor had used her.
This kind of thing happen a lot in China as many professors just want more students to help when they need staff in projects.
And it makes you question whether professors are really looking out for their student’s best interests at all times.
I’m sure many of you have heard of similar situations.
As a student, it is a learning experience to know more about ourselves and prepare for entering a job after graduation.
In China, students tend to find internship when they go into their junior year.
But I find students in the United States tend to get started earlier even in freshman year.
It is very good to try the jobs that students are interested in and at the same time learn academic theories.
The earlier we get started, the better chance we will gain experience and find our target position career.
Take my own major as an example.
I major in hospitality management and there are different concentrations that students can choose.
I chose hotel management and would like to start in a front desk job in a hotel as my first job.
I got some experience in food and beverage in China but not in hotels.
Hospitality is a very broad area.
Some of my friends here have experiences in restaurants, hotel, event planning and tourism.
After working for different areas, they have known which area they would like to enter and those experiences have enabled them to learn a variety of knowledge in this industry.
Therefore, exploring for ourselves and a direction that fits our talent and interests is a very good choice.
Besides, it is very important to let students find more about themselves.
Everyone knows about themselves better than others, although it is hard for us to summarize our traits and personalities.
Finding a job is not just because we can do and love doing, it also matters that we are suitable for those positions.
Every time my mentees come to me and ask me that how to a find an entrance for their career paths, I will let them take a MBTI professional character test to know more about themselves.
Then I will encourage them to try the opportunities to grow and learn.
Because through the process of learning, students’ points of view and how they view themselves will change.
They will find what they like and feel comfortable to work with.
For instance, one of my friends is comfortable to work without interacting with people so she is now working with accounting very well.
I think this self-knowledge learning process is very important for students to experience rather than the situation that professors lead them to real jobs.
It is also important that students get to know different companies and their cultures.
Working in an environment which motivates people benefits both people and companies.
After students have clear understanding about their personalities, they can find the companies which match their personality.
Searching for opportunities is a process.
It is undeniable that professors usually have a wider network and experience to help students in their career.
But students should find their own pathways by themselves.
Professors oftentimes won’t think outside of the box and for whatever reason usually don’t take personal risks to help their students outside of the classroom.
It doesn’t make sense for them but it is the reality.
So don’t count on them- no matter how many promises they make.
You are the only one who knows yourself and in the end it is on you.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
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