Let's touch base

Author’s note: On the rare occasions I can’t crank out a new installment of “Slack Tide,” the Empire is good enough to re-run old favorites. This Kirsch Classic™ originally ran on April 10, 2010, a piece of writing hailed by readers as “in English” and “left-to-right, top-to-bottom.”



FYI: Just a heads up that I’ve been spinning my wheels, trying to get some traction. Bottom line (in a top-line summary) — let’s touch base.

Now, I don’t want to push the envelope, hide the ball, or put too fine a point on it. Not to split hairs, but this isn’t brain surgery. It’s a no-brainer. That said, let me pick your brain. We’re on thin ice, at critical mass, and it’s all hands on deck. By no means do I wish to step on any toes, ruffle any feathers, rock the boat, upset the applecart, burst anyone’s bubble, rain on anyone’s parade, open the floodgates, or make waves. But let’s face it — at the end of the day, we reap what we sow. The elephant (not to mention the 100-pound gorilla) in the room is that we’ve done a total 180. We need to see the forest for the trees before we staunch the bleeding, which, in many ways, will be like getting blood from a stone.

Vis à vis this action item, it’s time to circle the wagons, face the music, play hardball, get off the mat and onto the same page. Otherwise, dollars to donuts it’s going to be a real dog and pony show and we won’t even have a horse in the race or a dog in the fight, let alone to pee in the tall trees.

We’re getting down to the wire, and I don’t want to end up with some 11th-hour, ninth-inning solution. We need to fish or cut bait, sink or swim, crap or get off the pot. Swallow the frog, so to speak. Because if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to stay inside the lines while thinking outside the box — in this economy, always a good, holistic, cradle-to-grave strategy.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the devil is in the details. If we put all of our eggs in one basket, we can have our cake and eat it, too. It’s trial-by-fire out there, and burning bridges is totally bush league. We need to stay above-board and below-the-fold, on-message and in good graces. Let’s not reinvent the wheel, here. Or screw the pooch. Let’s just get with program, while trying not to drink the Kool-Aid.

However — and this could be a bone of contention, a stumbling block, if you will, as opposed to a sticking point — unless we take it to the next level, the whole enchilada might die on the vine. At the end of the day, where the rubber meets the road, the 10,000-foot view is that we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Let’s not jump through hoops only to paint ourselves into a corner. That’s not best practices. Enough ink has already been spilled.

Moving forward, priority No. 1 should be to incentivize all of the stakeholders to take a deep breath — if not a step back — and get the ball rolling on this paradigm shift. Let’s turn a zero-sum game into a win-win. It’s easy to Monday-morning quarterback, especially if you know where the bodies are buried. But if we can’t play nice in the sandbox, we’ll have to bring something to the table. At least let’s be shovel-ready.

As gatekeepers, if we can get a solid buy-in, we’ll have carte-blanche to deep-six the game plan. Now, this may be an X-factor, possibly a red flag. In other words, a horse of a different color. Long story short, we have to drill down and apply a full-court-press without the benefit of duck and cover, even if we have our ducks in a row. Otherwise, we’ll wind up chasing rabbits. And that can be like herding cats, especially without a road map.

Now, I realize these are hot-button issues, but at the same time, there’s no magic (or silver) bullet. I’m not just going to rubber-stamp the green light. It’s all very black and white.

Net-net upshot: if we marshal our resources and reach for the low-hanging fruit, the sky’s the limit. While I’m willing to go to the mat for this brainchild, I don’t want to be the fall guy, or even a lighting rod, so if you have any input, fire at will.

Unfortunately, I’ve got a ton on my plate right now, and don’t have the wiggle room to take ownership. But I’ll keep it on my radar until I’m less swamped. Then we can interface with the key players without being behind the curve (or the eight ball). This will allow us to hit the ground running and get some face-time. I’m going to be out-of-pocket until COB tomorrow, though, so we may have to finish this up offline.

Can I pen you in for a post-mortem before your upcoming staycation?

• “Slack Tide” appears every other Sunday in Neighbors. There will be a brand-new one next time around, promise.


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