Posts tagged “Analysis

Buzzword Rationale (Connect the Dots)

Posted on September 29, 2017

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At the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, there is a display related to Project Kansas, the ill-fated 1985 New Coke initiative.  If you look closely in the display case, you see project documentation rife with military references: Project Kansas is a bold-stroke attempt for total victory. It is a sweeping effort to redefine the selling proposition, not just for sugar colas, but for all soft drinks. In its size, scope and boldness, it is not unlike the Allied invasion of Europe in 1944… And so it goes for buzzword rationale. Apply military jargon to inspire victory, discipline and coordination. Mention dot-com and Y2K in the late 1990s to trigger technology spending. Later, connect risk management initiatives to the Enron scandal, local economic disruption to Walmart,…

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…” *

Degrees

Posted on September 23, 2016

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The tl;dr summary of a Chief Operating Officer conversation this month: let’s not reduce costs…I don’t want to run around cutting legs off of the furniture. It’s such an extreme binary view when we can look at degrees of application. To what degree should you practice, participate, delegate, solicit or invest? It’s a version of a spectrum, and there’s a long way to go before your furniture has no legs. *

Conduits

Posted on February 19, 2016

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During the 1970s, the average person doubled the amount of soda they drank; by the 1980s consumption had overtaken tap water. Coca-Cola bottlers in this era were essentially printing money, and the décor of the locally-owned bottling plants often showed it. A private elevator here, shag carpeting there, custom wood panels, windows fabricated like bottle caps, extra facilities for the owner, etc. I visited one of the relics on a project in the 2000s. Although the functioning part of the plant had been neatly renovated and modernized, a portion was cordoned off…like a walk-in time capsule collecting dust. I noticed a maintenance team reassembling a massive air conditioning unit for the facility. They had been at it two days, tracing a foul-smelling suspected carcass in the…

Scanned It

Posted on December 18, 2015

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Marcia Vaitsman has talked about scanning her negatives again and again to see what images appear in the photographs. What shows up eventually might not be noticeable, or even visible, at first glance. It’s like a meticulous driver checking her vehicle until she find something wrong. What’s there? What can be improved? There has to be something! If everything is cursory, something is missing. *

The Sure Thing

Posted on December 4, 2015

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Today, I attended an annual meeting that a colleague predicted would be contentious. And it was…with undertones of mistrust. The voting majority chose to postpone decisions on the main proposed changes – we choose to choose later – so there will be more time for discussion and analysis. And of course, there will be an indefinite period of status quo and more risk to the ultimate outcome as time passes. Recognizing your relevant time horizon can help you make more conscious decisions and better manage expectations. Mike Tyson went broke, in part, because most of the people he grew up with died young. Why save money for the future when you won’t live to see it? Why trust a negotiation that promises the equivalent of a good…