Monthly Archives: June 2015

Erratic Bosses

General Custer

Erratic bosses are a disaster in the workplace. Occasionally they are deadly as some cavalry troopers learned in the summer of 1876.

In the summer of 1876, three cavalry columns chased Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians across the northern Plains into modern-day Montana. The goal was to confront the Indians, beat them in battle, and force the survivors back to their reservations.

One of the columns was led by “General” George A. Custer whose actual rank was lieutenant colonel. Custer had been temporarily promoted to general during the American Civil War and was a bona fide hero of that war. But by 1876 his antics had severely dented his career prospects.

He was a shameless self-promoter which irritated his military bosses. His troops were disenchanted with his habit of ignoring the rules personally while enforcing them against his subordinates. Then he annoyed President Grant by testifying to Congress about corruption in the Grant administration. (Publicizing dirty linen never wins favor with the boss, especially when it’s true.) Grant fired Custer as commander of the 7th Cavalry and Custer had to beg friends to help him get reinstated.

So when Custer went on patrol a few months later he was trying to restore his career prospects. Custer arrived at the Little Bighorn River (a/k/a the Greasy Grass) near the Indian encampment and immediately disobeyed his orders to wait for the other two cavalry columns. He also ignored the reports from his Indian scouts about the size of the Indian camp. Indian warriors numbered between 1000 and 5000, depending on which source you read.

On June 25, 1876, Custer ordered an attack on the Indian encampment and rode into history. Cavalry forces totaled 500 men and 208 died with Custer. News of the defeat ruined the July 4th centennial celebrations back east.

Custer is a hero today because his widow lived until the 1930’s. She spent every waking moment blaming others for the defeat and insisting that Custer was the greatest hero of all times. She ensured that Hollywood’s version of the tale would show Custer as the hero.

What’s the moral of the story? Erratic bosses are bad for employee health, although, fortunately, it doesn’t usually get them killed these days. Erratic bosses damage a company’s bottom line by destroying employee morale and lowering productivity. They also thin the ranks as top performers vote with their feet, leaving only demoralized or unmarketable employees.

About Norma Shirk

Norma started her company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, to help employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy. Visit Norma’s website:

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!


Filed under Business Savvy

Flowers in the House: Hydrangea

Annabelle Hydrangea

Here’s your tip for bringing the outdoors in for entertaining. You may want to bring in the season simply for your own personal enjoyment. Be savvy and pluck stems from your landscape for an instant focal point for the table or powder room. There is no need purchase cut botanicals at the store, at least not all of the stems. Horticulture of any sort can be beautiful and your selections do not have to be flowering. Great foliage like oakleaf hydrangea, hosta, and my favorite – variegated Soloman’s Seal, work great for bringing in the green. I attended a lecture at the Antique and Garden Show a few years back when Dutch Master Florist Remco van Vliet spoke about floral arranging and conditioning flowers for longevity. Loving hydrangeas as I do, I took notes on his process. I have used the recommendations many times with success. This is what I’ve remembered and practiced for hydrangeas, and most every other stem: if cutting in the heat of summer collect them in the cool of the morning. Bring your water bucket out to the garden so there is little time between cutting and submerging. Strip the leaves off the stem, at least the ones that will ultimately be below the water line in the vase. Use extremely hot water (for hydrangeas). This opens the capillaries in the stem making the water uptake more effective. For all botanicals, cut the stems on the diagonal as this gives more surface for the stem to uptake water. Place damp paper towels on the heads of the flowers to help them stay hydrated through this process. After 45 minutes, change the water to cool and add a floral fresh conditioner. Arrange as desired. Change the water every couple of days to increase longevity. For any horticulture, it is a good idea to have no leaves in the water unless you are wrapping the stems with a cut hosta leaf or other interesting foliage in a transparent vase for decoration. For hydrangeas, on occasion I will have a stem that does not hold up and for no apparent reason. Oh, well, don’t worry about it. And a tip for that hosta and Soloman’s Seal, keep the leaves nice in the landscape by applying slug and snail killer every month, beginning early in the season.

About Renee Bates

Renee is an artist focused on growing a newfound ability to express herself through oil painting, recently leaving her role as executive director of the non-profit Greenways for Nashville to pursue art and product development. Today, June 16, is her “artist” anniversary, the day she happened upon the desire and ability to paint.  Renee likes being in nature, hiking, birding, and working in the garden. Married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, a 3rd generation business begun in 1932. Renee admires the fact that it was begun by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.  Renee’s art may be enjoyed from her website or followed on Facebook.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!


Filed under Fun Savvy