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These articles were prepared for the April 27, 2005
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
In the aftermath of recent Delaware River flooding, an upcoming
network event hosted by the Red Cross of New Jersey should be standing
The event, "Financial Impact of Disasters: Dollars and Sense; How to
Prepare For and Survive a Disaster Financially, from Both a Business
and Personal Perspective," takes place Thursday, April 28, at 8 a.m.
at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on College Road. Normally closed
to non-members, this networking event is free and open to the public.
It will stress the importance of planning in advance for disaster, and
working the plan to shorten the time is takes for financial recovery.
Hugh Adams, the administrator of the Disaster Preparedness Network for
the Red Cross of Central New Jersey, has the task of reviving a
network across three counties – Mercer, Middlesex, and Hunterdon –
that was started several years ago to work on common issues of
preparedness for recovery in the event of any disaster.
"Small businesses are one of the targets of our efforts, because small
businesses are at high risk of closing during an emergency, like a
flood," says Adams. "They’re also at high risk of not being able to
reopen due to loss in their business, market share, and initial
investment. Small businesses have fewer resources and less capacity to
recover from disaster. Our goal is to create that capacity by
facilitating the networking of people, and the sharing of resources."
Adams, who lives in Trenton, paints an image of a strip mall of small
businesses, where no one owner has the time to create a business
emergency response plan. By meeting together, businesses can share the
load without recreating the wheel. By working collaboratively, they
can all have a workable recovery plan in the case of an emergency.
"Generally the smaller business types are going to be in that kind of
a boat," says Adams. "We want to get in the boat with them and right
it and keep it sailing. Our ultimate goal is to make sure businesses
are prepared, and through them, that their employees and our greater
community is prepared. So we all have a jump start on a recovery."
Adams relates a recent exchange with a businessman who asked how he
would benefit from joining the network. Adams replied, "What’s your
emergency plan?" The businessman said he didn’t know, but guessed he
was covered by insurance. Adams responded, "If you don’t know whether
you even have an emergency plan – you need this network."
At a minimum, Adams would like the network to be a year-round forum
for an exchange of information. "We already offer a half dozen
bi-monthly events on a variety of topics, and focus on issues of
importance to the network members."
"An annual conference, open to non-members, is scheduled this fall for
October 27, with topics of interest for small businesses, non-profits,
educational institutions and systems, and other county community
groups." In addition, he foresees several "lunch and learn" training
sessions on a regular basis, a newsletter, and website.
The preparedness network has hosted several other events over the past
few years, including Creating a Local Disaster Resilient Business
Community; Review of a Business Community Business Plan; the Current
Threat Environment; Emergency Preparedness for Business: Terrorism and
Health; and Lessons Learned from 911.
In a network structure, people give and take from each other,
including information and resources. Adams believes that the network,
once up and running the way he envisions it, will help local
businesses be – at the very least – minimally prepared for a disaster.
The upcoming event is the result of input from the network on common
areas of concern. Adams says, "This session will uncover some of the
things you need to do before disaster strikes so that your financial
impact will be minimal." Key questions include:
Do you have an alternative set of books?
Are they safely located somewhere else?
Do you have paper backup for electronic records?
Can you easily locate checking and savings account numbers?
Do you have extra checkbooks – again off site?
Bob Allen, who retired as a HR professional from the state, and who
now works as an enrolled agent with the IRS, gives the keynote at the
April 28 networking event. Allen, who has a BA and an MBA from Rider
University and is past president of the NJ Society of Enrolled Agents,
says that the best response to a disaster is preparation.
He will touch on all types of disasters: from the usual fires and
floods – to the unexpected, like the tornado that touched down in
Mercer County two years ago.
"The best way to survive a disaster is to be ready for it," says
Allen. "I was at a meeting recently where two people, both of whom had
small businesses, admitted that their computer backups weren’t
working. It’s so critical to keep a backup hard drive or tape, and to
keep it away from your business site. Take it home or send it home
with one of your employees. Have a separate set somewhere. Everyone is
using computers now for the record-keeping, and tapes and CDs are so
easy to get and fairly cheap."
Continues Allen, "If you use a paper system, keep a backup of your
accounting system, customer list, inventory and payroll records, and
property records. Have pictures of the items, with receipts attached.
Be able to say how long you’ve had it and what you paid for it. Use a
safe deposit box, or a fireproof box, for your home, but keep in mind
that a fireproof box that protects paper documents will not always
protect computer disks and CDs, which melt at a much lower
To join the Disaster Preparedness Network, contact Adams at
609-951-2107. Membership starts at $800 and peaks at $10,000, based on
the amount of services each business requires.
– Fran Ianacone
The news media focused for weeks on Terri Schiavo’s plight, bringing
the issue of living wills front and center in American consciousness.
But David Trombadore, a partner at the Somerville law firm Trombadore
& Wilson, thinks that bigger issues about end-of-life instructions
will arise in an upcoming Supreme Court case challenging the validity
of Oregon’s assisted suicide law. Whereas the upshot of the Schiavo
case is that people feel impelled to write living wills and appoint
health care representatives, the decision about the Oregon case will
affect "what kinds of instructions people are allowed to give."
The current Oregon law allows mentally competent adults, who are
diagnosed as terminally ill and declare their intentions in writing,
to take a prescribed oral drug to hasten death themselves after a
waiting period. "Issues spinning out of the Oregon law," says
Trombadore, "may affect instructions about pain-killing medications"
at the end of life. He wonders what will happen if people instruct
doctors, via a living will, to administer a pain-killing drug, for
example morphine, which is known to hasten death by suppressing
respiratory and other muscular function?
Trombadore speaks on "Writing a Living Will" at Raritan Valley
Community College’s North Branch Campus, Tuesday, May 3, at 7 p.m.
Cost: $20. To register or for more information, call 908-218-8871.
Despite his concerns for what the future may hold, Trombadore has a
number of observations about what can be done right now about
Make your living will general. When writing a living will, people are
deciding on levels of life support – feeding tubes, hydration,
breathing help; under what circumstances to use them; and for how
long. Trombadore recommends being general about your directives,
although he bows to the wishes of his clients, who can be as specific
as to indicate whether to use dialysis or not.
"None of us has a crystal ball and can foresee all circumstances," he
observes. If the living will is too specific, it may miss certain
situations, even with the added proviso "including but not limited
to." On the other hand, if it is overly general, it may be difficult
to interpret for specific situations.
Appoint a health care representative. Because even the best living
will cannot cover all circumstances, Trombadore emphasizes the need to
appoint a health care representative and vest that person with broad
"The selection of that person is the most important part of the
process," says Trombadore. This person would make decisions when you
are confined to a hospital, nursing home, or hospice care, and are
unable to make your own decisions.
Choose the best person to represent your wishes. You are looking for
someone who you trust; who is mature, serious, and will take the time
to learn about your condition; who will talk to the doctors and take
time to deliberate; who is bright and can understand technical
details; who is respected by your family; and who is a good
communicator, who will be able to create consensus among family
"Geographic proximity is also an important consideration," adds
Trombadore. "The person may need to visit on a weekly – if not a daily
– basis. Talking to the professionals face to face is essential in
this situation." Often the choice is a spouse or the eldest child.
Communicate decisions verbally to your family. Tell people in your
family both what is in the living will and who you have named as your
health care representative.
Decide about donating organs. Trombadore recommends including
decisions about organ donation in a living will. He related a recent
situation where a woman in her 40s had a stroke and was brain dead.
Because she had left instructions to donate her organs, the doctors
were able to keep her body alive until they were ready to retrieve the
organs. As a result, she was able to save the lives of a half dozen
Put in place an advanced medical directive. Specify someone who will
make health decisions if you are very ill, but potentially curable,
and yet are unable to communicate your own wishes. Normally doctors
would turn to the spouse, but if, for example, people are not married
or are widowed, they need to appoint a person who has the authority to
act on their behalf.
Share the living will with your doctors. "Give a copy to doctors who
treat you regularly, including, for example, family practitioner,
cardiologist, and gastroenterologist," suggests Trombadore. If you are
going to the hospital for any major procedure requiring anesthesia,
take the living will to the hospital with you.
After Trombadore graduated from Princeton in 1981 with a degree in
politics and from Cornell Law School in 1985, he spent 10 years in
"big city" firms in Manhattan, then in Denver, Los Angeles, and, for a
year, in Japan. "I was a specialist in intellectual property and
patent litigation," he says. "It was fascinating and technical. But I
was working in glass and steel towers, where you don’t get to see real
So how did he find his way to giving advice about living wills?
Off and on during Trombadore’s career his father, John Trombadore, had
asked him to join the general practice law firm founded by his
parents. At one point, when he was ready to leave Los Angeles, and had
some not-so-exciting offers in hand, his father invited him back to
Somerville for a couple of days to follow him around, and he accepted.
"I was fascinated at the breadth and scope of the work he was doing,"
he remembers, and he decided to join up.
"A general practice keeps you on your toes all the time," he says,
relating that often people will walk in off the street and tell him
their problems. There may or may not be a solution, he says, and it
may or may not involve him. "In this practice, you get a lot of good
stories, stuff you could never think up, the weird stuff that people
do. If I ever leave, I will have to write several books about what
– Michele Alperin
When Dennis W. Bakke, author of Joy at Work, talks about having fun in
the workplace, he means more than just the Friday afternoon beer blast
or annual holiday party. Rather, fun means "a joy-filled, rewarding,
creative work environment, free of autocratic supervisors, where each
and every employee could fully utilize his or her talents for
If reaping joy at work sounds like a change for the better, join Bakke
for a discussion and book signing on Tuesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. at the
Princeton University Store. If reaping joy at work does not sound like
an improvement, then you might get an E-mail from an anonymous friend
suggesting that you attend anyhow – a guerrilla marketing technique
that will be explained at the end of this story. No registration is
required for this free event. Call 609-921-8500 for more information.
Joy at Work suggests that companies competing in the 21st century
should treat people with respect, give them unprecedented
responsibility, and hold them strictly accountable. Not just because
it makes good business sense – because it’s the right thing to do.
Bakke challenges corporate America to broaden its definition of
organizational performance and success beyond the value of the dollar.
"When 90 percent of working people experience almost no freedom to
make important decisions that affect the organization’s mission and
economics, when bosses and financial technicians control our lives –
we are fated for miserable work environments," he declares.
Bakke is chairman emeritus of AES Corporation, a worldwide energy
company which he co-founded with Roger Sant in 1981. Joy at Work is
based on the values, organization, and operating procedures that Bakke
and Sant created at AES. They improved management and increased
workplace joy by cutting layers of supervision, he says. Everyone from
entry-level worker to CEO became an "AES business person" with equal
rights and opportunities. Each was equally responsible for performing
his or her functions in the context of balancing the interests of all
In 2002, when Bakke resigned as CEO from AES, the company employed
40,000 employees in 31 countries and had $8.6 billion in revenues. He
then wrote his book while he and his wife, Eileen, a lifelong
educator, co-founded a new company, Imagine Schools. The company
operates 70 elementary and secondary charter schools on 40 campuses in
nine states and the District of Columbia, and serves nearly 20,000
Joy at Work is based on two of Bakke’s passions: creating the most fun
workplace in human history and teaching the world the real purpose of
large organizations, including businesses. To Bakke, the most
important characteristic of a leader in a joyful workplace is
Chapter three, titled From Misery to Joy, claims that for Bakke, "work
is an ‘opus,’ a voluntary, meaningful, and creative act." In his
experience, pay has almost no effect on the quality of the work
experience. "People want to feel useful and creative, to know that
their work is significant, worthwhile, and trusted," he writes. "They
want to be part of a team contributing to a larger purpose."
Joy at Work "is the story of my journey," says Bakke. "Along the way,
I realized that none of this can happen unless leaders, including me,
drastically restrain their use of power, so that most important
decisions can be made by people who do not hold official leadership
positions. For leaders like me, who must give up some of our fun at
work so others can experience joy, this is difficult. But it’s worth
it to see others soar. When given the opportunity to use our ability
to reason, make decisions, and take responsibility for our actions, we
experience joy at work."
Diane Villano, associate marketing director for the Princeton
University Store and coordinator of special events, says the book is a
little different from the tomes of academic authors and Pulitzer Prize
winners the store usually serves up. But, as she says, "Who doesn’t
want a little more joy at work?"
By applying a guerrilla marketing tactic for this event, Villano is
making it possible for anyone to send an anonymous E-mail invitation
to a boss or co-worker to attend the reading of Joy at Work. To invite
someone who needs to experience more joy at work – or who needs to let
his subordinates in on the joy – send an E-mail to
email@example.com with ‘joy at work’ in the subject line. Include
the person’s E-mail address and Villano will send them an invite –
anonymously, of course. And if you run into your boss there and are
asked how you learned about the event, simply say, "Isn’t that
interesting? I got an anonymous E-mail, too."
At the May 3 event Bakke will read from his book and likely touch on a
few of these recommendations for reaping joy at work:
Eliminate management, organization charts, job descriptions, and
To be fair, treat everybody differently (see box, this page).
Make all decisions based on principles and values.
Put everyone equal to, or above, yourself.
Fire anyone who doesn’t seek advice before making a decision.
Joy at Work will force you to question everything you thought you knew
about corporate success.
Bakke suggests that we quit searching for the secret to always
winning, to profits, and to stock prices that rise quarterly. "Let’s
accept that losing is part of life and that we can make mistakes and
fall on our faces. Goals should not be set according to how easy or
hard they are to measure. They should be set because they’re right.
Out of these experiences come new learning, growth, hope and life."
– Fran Ianacone
When it comes to "fairness," I often think we chose the right value
but the wrong word. In my lectures, I often ask people to complete the
sentence: "Fairness means treating everyone _______." Ninety-five
percent of the people I ask respond, "the same." I usually respond, "I
mean just the opposite." The word "justice" better describes the
standard we set for ourselves and AES.
I like the traditional Jewish definition of justice: "To each person
what he deserves, to each one what is appropriate." If I combine this
definition with an assumption that each person is unique, I logically
complete the sentence this way: "Fairness or justice means treating
everyone differently." What fairness meant at AES was that everyone
got special treatment. The interpretation of these concepts gets
confused because of another concept we hold dead: equality. The logic
of equality goes something like this: "I’m the same person or do the
same job as another person, so I should be treated the same as that
person." Equality and fairness and not synonyms, however, and neither
captures organizational justice the way I use it . . .
Leaders of organizations (including unions and corporations)
consistently ignore the fact that employees are unique . . .
Businesses are forced to pigeonhole their employees according to
artificial classifications such as years of service, union membership,
level of education, and job title.
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