Saturday, May 22, 2010


Easily one of my favorite phrases of all times from the 70s Children's Television Workshop masterpiece, Electric Company. Rita Moreno could be shouting that this month on behalf of Relationships Matter Now.

Feeling like the Doobie Bros this month as I have been TAKING IT TO THE STREETS! The goal at the beginning of the month was to get the word out as much as I could about Relationships Matter Now in order to secure funding from the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project.

"We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps." Proverbs 16:9 NLT

There has never been more true of a statement and that is ESPECIALLY true for me and Relationships Matter Now right now.

First, we were featured on two BlogTalk Radio shows this month - follow the links below to listen:

Dr. Mommy Family Talk - Relationships Matter

Meet Denise Barreto on SmartWoman Radio

Those were planned opportunities to get the word out about my project. Both were really great conversations and afforded me audiences who had not been aware of what were are doing before now.

Relationships Matter Now started a Facebook page,  find us at

NOW - three new collaboration opportunities have come to fruition and I will be meeting with a web developer early next week. I

Besides wanting to share with you the progress of Relationships Matter Now- the secondary purpose of this post is to follow up on a post I wrote earlier this month entitled Keep Moving Forward. Exactly 10 days ago, I wrote about the importance of keeping forward motion in life especially when it's hard. If you will take a moment to go back and read that post here and come back and re-read this one. It will all be clear.

We must push ourselves through the moments when we've had enough. Great rewards await us on the other side.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

3 Relationships Woes That Led To iPhone 4G Leaks at Apple

Something is up with the human relationships at Apple Corporation.

Perhaps, that is overstated. Maybe there is just an issue with relationships in the product development group.

How else can you explain the recent happenings over the last 30 days with the leaked iPhone 4G prototypes showing up places? Left in bar in Redwood City? In a Vietnamese video showing all the ins and outs that is a YouTube and media sensation?

Maybe I'm just naive but I do remember a time when secret was, well it was SECRET.  One blogger on PC World stated that "Apple is a company known to keep secrets better than the CIA."

To have to clear confidentiality breaches so close to one another on the same product - you have to ask yourself  - How does that happen?

I'll tell you. There is a breakdown in human relationships. There are many many angles to look at this debacle but I am looking squarely at the human factor. People play the most important role in any company's future.  And there are some people at Apple who have had some relational breakdowns and that led to the confidentiality surrounding the iPhone 4G being blown - not once but twice.

Here are 3 likely relationship issues that led to Apple's current prototype woes:

1.  Communication breakdown

My guess is that in the past  - product development people had clear communication from management on what was expected in the way of confidentiality.  It was crystal clear what was OK and what was considered a huge risk. I can imagine the statement went something like this: "Please use the said prototype just as you would your regular phone. Take it with you wherever you go. However, do not take it into a potentially compromising situation such as taking it with you when you're going to have a bunch of beers at your favorite pub."

Communication is the usually a root cause when there are issues in a relationship. One party feels misunderstood and clams up. Or another, more dominating party may pounce and bark orders and not notice that the other parties are not participating fully. Regardless the situation - it is clear that communication has broken down in area where iPhone 4Gs are being developed.

2.  Lack of ownership

Another clear sign that something is awry is the fact that not once but twice now there have been breaches in confidentially surrounding the same product. It is clear that we do not know the exact timing on the breaches and if they happened for sure in the order reported. Even so,  the fact of the matter is this - more than one person on that team does not feel part of the process and therefore  - be it by accident (bar) or on purpose (Vietnamese video) - somebody is not feeling the love from their managers.

When people do not believe that they "own" or "control" their future in a relationship, they do careless things. They forget important facts that they otherwise would keep sacred in their minds. That feeling of hopeless can sometimes morph itself into out-and-out disrespect or contempt which will lead to one of two things. A slow but steady burn at the relationship or a quick blowout. Either way, it is destructive and causes damage that can lead to costly mistakes that are sometimes hard to repair. This whole mess caught Apple by surprise but I am certain had been brewing in this area of the company long before we (and the whole world) have witnessed these lapses in judgement.

3.  Broken trust

You may think I'm referring to the company's trust in these employees. Not at all. I would assert that these employees no longer trust Apple. Perhaps the transparency that they enjoyed in years past is no longer there and as much as we in the public are all kept in the dark on plans - maybe the employees are keep in the dark, too.  It could also be compensation related. I can't imagine that people in the product development area at Apple being undervalued but who knows? Another thought could be that maybe these people have given their lives to Apple and believed in its culture that is most likely changing as it grows and matures and they are acting out in some way to express their discontent.

I could go on and on but the bottom line is trust between these individuals involved in the breaches and Apple is poor. Why? When there is mutual trust and confidence in a relationship - you work together toward your goals. There is a clear understanding of how reaching those goals is beneficial to all parties involved. Of course, mistakes are sometimes made but they are not repeated. And thinking purely of the order in which the two incidences were reported - you can be sure that as soon as everyone knew of the April mishap in the bar - there would have been monumental efforts to secure the rest of the prototypes in the marketplace and any previous breaches disclosed and a new plan of attack created, together - management and everyone. We would have heard about the Vietnamese video from Apple rather than other sources. Why? Because whomever was involved would have come clean because they trusted that their best interest which when aligned with the best interests of the company would have been to put their team, their company on the offensive rather than the defensive as they are today.

This is unprecedented for Apple and I know they are scrambling to figure it out. Might I boldly offer a suggestion - stop and take a look at the relationships involved and seek out help to repair them. This is not a "deal breaker" and can be solved if given careful consideration.

In fact - with grace (a verb that needs to make a comeback in Corporate America) and thoughtful training, Apple can move into the future even stronger than before with the employees who broke their trust. As long as the relationships involved are repaired and given new life.

I know a hungry little company looking to make its mark. Call me Steve Jobs.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Keep Moving Forward!

The last few weeks have been a bit challenging for me.

One source of seed money for Relationships Matter Now has all but evaporated from possibility after careful planning and such a strong start to the execution of the plan of attack for this month.

Seemingly small conflicts have been magnified in my heart and have taken a particular toll on my normally cheerful self.

I am struggling to smile and keep myself from falling into a funk (the no sun in Chicagoland to start this week has not helped).

There is just NOT ENOUGH TIME in each day and I feel only a bit closer to the key milestones I had planned for this year vs. where I wanted to be.

Yet over and over since Sunday - I have been reminded not to give up.

Whether it be in really obvious bible verses like James 1:12 from this morning or Galatians 6:9 - both  say "stay the course" in so many words; or in the various blogs and articles that have somehow found their way across my computer screen - the message was clear: Don't Give Up. Keep Moving Forward.

I took a quick look back in my blog roll and noted that since I started this blog in Oct 2008 - there has been no less than 10 posts about perseverance, persistence or faithfulness. Check out two of my favorites - this one from November 2009 and this post from April 2009.

Upon re-reading my own writing - plus all the great external reminders this week - I am renewed and recharged to press on.

Today - I challenge you to join me and keep moving forward.

Whatever you are working on is worth it. 

There are people on the other side of the obstacle/conflict that need ideas and solutions that only YOU can provide.

Not to mention the personal satisfaction you will feel when you triumph!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


One of my all-time favorite activities at work is brainstorming!

Today I will embark on a new project for work and will use my modus operandi (latin for method of operating) to kick off my work - the brainstorm. I use this tactic to start every endeavor I EVER embark on. Now that I think of it - I brainstormed scenarios after I met my husband in Best Buy - WOW!

Generally speaking, I am a creative at heart. A big thinker. The only thing I love more than spending time brainstorming by myself is bringing along a cross-functional team of people who I will stretch, squeeze and motivate to give me their best ideas, too.

It is good to have an M.O. that works over and over.

Have you found yours?