Survey, party and Parti

Kerry Knudsen

Kerry Knudsen

Each October, Wood Industry sends a survey to the recipients of our e-letter, and the results are reported in our November/December issue. The questions in the survey are things that come up throughout the year from readers. In the past, we have asked about the internet credibility, in-content advertising and employee involvement with social media. These are important questions, because Wood Industry has no interest in following the mold of other magazines. Our goal is to be your magazine, and we believe to do that we must ask. If you don’t receive the e-letter, you can sign up at www.woodindustry. ca. Click on Subscriptions under our top banner, and fill in your e-address under Name. By your filling out the form, we can also renew your subscription as a “Request” for auditing purposes.

Also in the e-letter, we proposed earlier this month that successful businesses promote their success in upcoming issues of Wood Industry by submitting photos of the owner with his or her car. It sounds a bit hokey, but you should read the argument. Nobody else is promoting our industry as a career, so we need to shoulder the load. Send a note to  requesting a copy of the letter, and we’ll send it. No obligation, and we won’t add your name to the list unless you request it.

Next order of business:  Canada Night at IWF. What a blast! We don’t have the hard numbers, yet, but about 500 Canadians attended, of which about 360 were readers, such as yourselves, and the other 140 were sponsors, suppliers or industry associates of one sort or another. Both the food and the beer held out well past the 7:00 p.m. published ending time, and we finally had to turn off the music and video and start clearing the hall at 7:40. One note of relief: there was a perfectly functional microphone in place during the entire event, and it didn’t get used even once. People got a chance to see who else was there, and to mix and mingle freely, which was the goal. For those that attended, I would appreciate your comments by mail, e-mail or on the web, where this editorial is published along with all the others.

We intend to host a Third-Annual Canada Night next summer at AWFS, and want to make it the best event we can. Any and all suggestions are welcome. The entire event would not have been possible without the assistance of the IWF team, particularly Jim Wulfekuhle, and the sponsorship of C.R. Onsrud, General International, Doucet, Akhurst, Stiles, Blum, Akzo-Nobel, Richelieu, Royce//Ayr and Weima. To everybody that helped make this a top-flight event, thank you.

So, the Americans  are at it again. In my family, we were taught never to discuss religion or politics. Some lessons stick better than others. I discuss both. I always wonder why people say not to discuss things. Politics killed over 100 million humans in the 1900s, even if you leave out the wars. Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot are frequently cited list-toppers. Actually, there are cited too frequently. Nowadays, everybody is a Hitler or a Nazi if they don’t agree with the proper dogma. However, even though a knife used too often loses its edge, that doesn’t mean to abandon the sharpening stone. Politics and religion need discussion. That especially includes business.

I don’t say we should engage our customers in deep, philosophical discussions. However, discussions operate at all levels. Some are late-night/all-night debates. Others just let you know whether your customer is interested in “green” or in products made in countries that allow young people to work.

The Americans for the next 40 days or so will be at the peak of the emotional, anti-intellectual, resource-consuming ritual they call an election. Logic and proportion, as the Jefferson Airplane opined, have fallen sloppy dead. They have abandoned the principles of a democratic republic for polls and mob rule. It’s sad.

I don’t think politics, at its core, is difficult to understand. I also think the Americans are a good lesson, both in what is possible, and what to avoid. For example, I don’t think they (or we) should take a mob, call it a union and make all the members of the mob vote the way the boss says.

Right now, today, the Americans are giving us a great lesson in politics and how easy it is to understand the core. On the one hand, there is a group that, to use their own words, sees the economy as “going off a cliff.” These people really believe there is a cliff, the economy can be directed and it’s their job. When people criticize their job or interfere with their job, they get irked. Badly. We will call them Cliffs.

On the other hand, there is a group that does not see the cliff. They see a door. On the other side of the door is an untold mass of wealth to which “somebody” has the key. These people really believe there is a door, the wealth on the other side is illegitimately held, and it is their right. When people criticize their “right” or stand in their way, they get irked. Badly. They can be called Doors.

If you are an employer, you likely have experience with somebody viewing you as the keeper of the keys, preventing him or her from getting access to wealth you are withholding illegitimately. Almost inevitably, the result is the employee moving on. This is possible because you ARE the keeper of the keys. As such, you know the resources are not limitless, and your job is to manage them.

The analogy goes on,  but you get the point. Politics and business management are not far removed from each other, and lessons can be learned and taught between the two. Unfortunately, a similar lesson may be learned between the Cliffs and Doors. Employees may grow up and become employers, but the great majority cannot see and will not understand. Liberals may become Conservatives and Democrats may become Republicans. However, until they do, you can basically forget about cooperation beyond that necessary for plain survival.

On that note, I’d like to welcome back the Parti Quebecois. As a refreshing change from last time, how about promoting what you can add to society? A famous American Democrat once said to ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Fascinating idea.

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