It’s Newsletter time again. Wow, this month went fast. Out with the old, in with the new. We have started a new year and it’s going to be a good one. I’m excited for 2021. I always like starting a new year with all of the unknowns and the promises a new year will bring. One of the promises that we really don’t want is more COVID cases in the world and in our offices. The good news is we have two and very soon three vaccines that are slowly making their way through the systems to be available to us. They have hit a lot of places in Texas and Arkansas, but they are only available to phase 1a qualified people. These are first responders, nursing homes, health care workers etc. In Tarrant county, the health department made all of the phase 1a appointments they could and rather than have their vaccine expire, they began vaccinating phase 1b qualifiers. It will be another 45 days before the states identify and start on the phase 1c it is estimated.
Some of our personnel have been fortunate and have received vaccinations on site. Some of the hospitals in Houston and San Antonio have asked we submit names of techs that would like to get the shot. If they have enough vaccine available, they are going to vaccinate our personnel. That is wonderful news. As I have said in past writings, it’s only a matter of time until the hospitals make it mandatory for our personnel to be vaccinated before they are allowed in their facilities. I would expect educational facilities to require the same thing of us. I have heard there are a few Lone Star employees saying they do not want to take the vaccine, that is your choice. Though it is certainly desired, Lone Star will not require that you be vaccinated. We may however, limit office access to only those personnel that have been vaccinated at some point. We need to keep everyone safe, and the best way we can provide safety is for everyone to get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID.
Perhaps you have been led to believe that the vaccine is somehow unsafe and risky. If you get your news from Facebook or some other social media outlet or from rants that have been floating around for months, months before a single vaccine was available by the way, you may be misinformed on the vaccines currently available and their safety and efficacy. Whether or not you think COVID is a hoax or you think you can’t get COVID, please, I implore you, to study what is being written from first Pfizer and Moderna and then the CDC website or World Health Organization website. Talk to me or Donna Montgomery or anyone at the company who has done the research and let’s discuss the Pros and Cons. There is a lot of information, so you can make a very informed decision. If you don’t take vaccines because of religious reasons, nothing I can say will change your mind, though this pandemic is very serious, and it might be the reason you should still consider taking it. If you have become an anti-vaxxer because what you read on Facebook or another social site about of the side-effects (none) and how it was rushed (not true) or how it has not been fully tested (also untrue), please study and make your own decision. Don’t let the vocal minority that sends thousands of emails or posts on social media sites make the decision for you. Please, make an informed decision.
We have a couple of videos that we will be sharing in the near future. One is from Dan Martinez, Lone Star’s Director of IT. He is still recovering from COVID and he wants to tell you what it was like and why he, even after having the virus, wants to take the shot. The other is on the specifics of this type of vaccine and why this is different. This vaccine is not made from dead virus cells, it is made from an mRNA synthetic. This from the Pfizer website:
“What is in the vaccine? The active ingredient is messenger RNA that carries instructions for making the virus’s spike protein, which it uses to gain entry to cells. The mRNA is synthetic, not extracted from actual viruses. It is delivered in a tiny sphere of inert fatty material called a lipid nanoparticle.
The RNA-bearing nanoparticles are suspended in saline solution and injected into muscle tissue in the upper arm. The mRNA is then taken up by specialist immune cells, which follow its instructions to make the spike protein, just as they would do if they had become infected with the actual virus.
The spike protein is recognized as foreign by the immune system, which mounts an attack against it. Antibodies, B cells and T cells are activated, according to Uğur Şahin, the chief executive of the small German company BioNTech that co-developed the vaccine with US drug giant Pfizer. An immune memory is also laid down, he says, which means the immune system has learned how to defeat the pathogen and is primed to mount a swift response if it encounters the coronavirus again.
Let me finish by saying, company wide Lone Star has thus far had 40 cases of COVID identified. There are at least that many family members that have been affected as well. You know a Lone Star employee that has had it at this point. Talk to as many of those employees as possible and learn firsthand from them as much as you can about this. Over the next three weeks, I fear we will have another breakout, I sure hope not. But with the gatherings over the last few weeks, it is bound to spike again. Please be careful and remember H-F-S: wash your hands, cover you face, keep your space. Be safe, your family needs you, we need you.
Books, Books, and more Books: Remember when I challenged everyone to set a number of books read goal for the year? I set my goal at 30 books to finish in 2020. I don’t think I have ever read that many books in a single year, but I was willing to make a goal to stretch my reading habits and learn something in the process. I am happy to report, I made it! In fact, I read 32 books in 2020, two more than my goal. It took me setting the goal and checking on that goal from time to time to achieve it. If I had not set the goal, I would have not read 32 books. I know that because when I wrote the mid-year update I was behind, and I had to make a point of getting started again and picking up the pace. I caught up, but when I checked around October, I was behind again. I was reenergized and just kept it up through the end of the year.
I found the exercise very challenging. When I started, I set out to read a bunch of business books I had either heard about or had received from the NSCA conferences. After I read a number of them, I started getting burned out on just work-related reading, so I turned to entertainment. I was then recommended a couple of research type books covering the European continent in one book to the entire World in another. I then received a couple of WWII books and was excited to read them as I kept slipping business books in between. I found by mixing a little entertainment reading in with general studies, then some business study, I was engaged and really enjoyed the reading. I learned a lot I had never known anything about…and may never need, but it has all been very interesting. Right now, I’m trying to better understand why the country is in such turmoil with the BLM movement, Black Lives Matter, and the Defund the Police movement as well. I read The New Jim Crow, a book about racism after reading The Nickle Boys, a book about a boarding school/prison of which a number of people went in, mainly blacks, and a number never came out. This was chilling and happened in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the prison finally getting shut down in 1963 with a number of people going to prison themselves. I want to know more about this, so I have a few more books on the subject of race on my list this year.
Here’s my 2020 list with Simon Sinek leading the way with three books and Ben Horowitz and Patrick Lencioni with two each on the business side. I like all three of these authors.
Circling the Sun, Paula McClain
Be the Best at What Matters Most, Jim Calloway
Delivering Happiness, Tony Harnish
What You Do Is Who You Are, Ben Horowitz
The Challenger Sale, Matthew Dixon
Start with Why, Simon Sinek
The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek
The Last Bush Pilot, Eric Auxier
Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown
Vivid Vision, Cameron Herold
Guns, Germs and Steel, Jerod Diamond
Multipliers, Liz Wiseman
The Room Where It Happened, John Bolton
Exercise of Power, Robert Gates
Countdown 1945, Chris Wallace
Without You, There is no Us, Suki Kim
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni
Playing to Win, Roger L Martin
The Hundred-Year Marathon, Michael Pillsbury
Lucky 666, Ben Durey, Bob Clavin
Exceptional Selling: How the Best Win in Hight Stakes Sales, Jeff Thull
The Hard Thing about Hard Things, Ben Horowitz
Indestructible, John R Bruning
Dare to Lead, Brene Brown
What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith
Beyond the Goal, Elliyahu Goldrath
Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek
The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni
The Nickels Boys, Collin Whitehead
Bazonomics, Brian Dumaine
Longmire - Next to Last Stand, Craig Johnson
The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
Next to read in 2021...
Caste (about racism)
The Heart of Everything That Is (about the American Indian)
1984, George Orwell, a classic
The Outsiders (Study of 8 CEOs)
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (American Indian)
Excellence Wins! (Business)
Alone at Dawn (Navy Seals)
Cutting for Stone (African story)
Built To Last (Business)
What Makes an Effective Manager
Traveling to Infinity, Steven Hawking
I encourage you to pick up a book and learn all you can. Read on!
-Ray Bailey, President