Posts from the “Information” Category

Simplexity

Posted on June 30, 2017

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“The term we came up with was simplexity. That is the art of simplifying an image down to its essence. But the complexity that you layer on top of it – in texture, design, or detail – is masked by how simple the form is. Simplexity is about selective detail.” –Ricky Nierva, Pixar Production Designer *

Defining Exceptions

Posted on March 26, 2017

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If we are to improve, we must define exceptions. What are our standards? What is abnormal around here? Defining exceptions can help us better prioritize our focus, communicate our culture, and track our results. The nuance – and often confusion – comes into play when leaders over-prescribe definitions or enable inconsistent definitions across the organization. It’s like the team I worked with this month that is accustomed to losing money a certain way, and therefore finds it completely acceptable, but devotes an inordinate amount of time scrutinizing losses in other areas. Why? Because the other areas are defined exceptions. All the more reason to define appropriately. *

Theory of Mind

Posted on February 17, 2017

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I once had a client turn down a proposed project manager due to perceptions. The manager had worked with the client previously and had familiarity with the environment – which was a selling point – but his role on previous projects had been more supportive than directive, and the client could not picture him operating in a lead role. To the client, it was as if the person stepping into the project manager role was the exact person that had ended the previous project a few years ago. There was no consideration of the experiences that had transpired in the meantime, the other projects that made the lead more valuable. Or the fact that developments happen outside the realm of our observation. It relates to Theory of Mind,…

Predictors

Posted on February 5, 2017

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When you’re driving, keep an eye on the tires of cars around you to more accurately predict turns and lane changes. In many sports, it’s watching the core – the center of gravity – of your opponent, avoiding the distractions of the extremities. What are the worthwhile predictors around you? “Old fishermen used to say it had to do with the moon, the wind, the lay of the seaweed on a low-tide rock…” *

The Best At…

Posted on December 23, 2016

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“We want to be the best store in the world, the best shop in the world. Now what does that mean? That means a lot of things to a lot of people. When we benchmark other companies, we don’t really look at any retail or fashion companies. We look at food, and we look at hospitality. So hotels and food. Because those are the people that are closest to the customer. And it is super intimate. That’s what we want. We want that kind of relationship with our customer, so they feel completely taken care of.” –Sid Mashburn *

The Good Old Days

Posted on November 5, 2016

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David McCullough once told a story about growing up and watching a presidential election with his father. Voting reports trickled in to the news the evening of the election, but David went to bed before the final results were known. In the morning, David rushes downstairs – as only a future historian would do – asking eagerly, “who won…who won?!?” David’s father hangs his head in dejection and says, “Truman…” Years later, David and his father were talking politics, and his father bemoaned the current state of affairs, “If only good old Harry was still in the White House.” With US election results coming in next week, I wonder how each of our perspectives will change over the years.   *

Peer of One

Posted on September 10, 2016

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My team was calculating benchmark comparisons for a client, and I called an abrupt mental break. Really, how similar are these peer companies? Is Ford the same as General Motors? Coca-Cola and PepsiCo? Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Citi? Are company components – like people, process, or technology – commodities to be easily transferred? How much of one company would need to be replicated elsewhere in order to produce similar results? Yes, we can compare metrics to identify and apply best practices in domains, but ultimately an organization has its own history, culture and structure at a point in time. It has only one true peer…itself. “…if you want to rework Matisse, you’ll just be a bad Matisse, that’s all.” -Donald Judd It’s similar with individuals. Your specific personality, choices…