Posts tagged “Reading

The Sure Thing

Posted on December 4, 2015


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…

Data Endorsement

Posted on November 13, 2015


A few thoughts triggered by Amazon’s fight against fake reviews: There is an increasing tendency to quantify and apply big data concepts to measurement as access to data expands and comfort with data use increases…the big data hammers around you will look for nails. The more underlying drivers to a single measurement, the greater the subjectivity and confusion that will result…if you want actionable information, you can do better than star ratings. The more value derived from a measurement, the greater the inherent risk of manipulation…one extra star on a restaurant’s Yelp rating boosts revenue by 5-9%. Without diligence and reinforcement, the perception of trustworthiness with online reviews will fall over time…of course the Amazon lawsuit is peppered with words of trust: authentic, honest, unbiased, credibility, integrity, etc. The dynamics across social media, celebrity, critics and other gatekeepers…

Rethinking Trajectory

Posted on October 23, 2015


An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion…unless acted upon. Do you need a trigger to rethink your motion or the trajectory of your ecosystem? Some took a tragedy like Hurricane Katrina to better their lives by either rebuilding or moving to a new location, reemphasizing that adaptation is influenced by changes in the periphery and spontaneous activity as well as personal preferences. There are triggers every day. Question is, are you built for change? “Does anything ever change in this racket…of course it changes. Don’t take it so hard. Some of us die, the rest of us get older, new guys come along, old guys disappear. It changes every day.” –The Friends of Eddie Coyle *

Big and Basic

Posted on July 26, 2015


In Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot, Jim Stockdale recounts: There used to be a guy at Patuxent River – first as a navy pilot and then back to Test Pilot School (TPS) as a civilian test pilot. His name was Bud Holcombe. He had made his navy reputation at Pax as a dead stick landing expert, taking up each modern jet in turn, shutting down the engine and “writing the book” on the best way to dead stick it in. I was with Bud at TPS, and he could see that I was preoccupied with trying to memorize lists. I was fidgety, with little previous jet experience, trying to remember exactly the recommended air start procedures of the seventeen or so new airplane…

Crooks and Ladders

Posted on August 17, 2014


What would you do to get ahead? How clear is the path to advancement in your organization? Does your team have both a common goal and a shared understanding of the means to reach it? What can we learn from criminal behavior in this regard? In Malcolm Gladwell’s recent take on criminal upward mobility, he references The Crooked Ladder which details how some minorities have utilized organized crime to advance to power, respectability and eventual legitimacy. In effect, criminals often operate as innovators whereby they accept a mainstream social goal (e.g., success) while rejecting the means by which it should be pursued. A better understanding of this goals-versus-means interplay may impact our perception of rules, norms and routine enforcement. Even criminal leaders consider this in their management approach, as sociologist…

On Teaching

Posted on February 2, 2014


Artist Robert Irwin with Lawrence Weschler: You have to respond to each student individually. The first thing you have to do is establish a performance level. You have to develop their confidence and prove to them in their own performance that there isn’t anything they won’t be able to accomplish technically, eventually, given a lot of application. Simultaneously, you want to be engendering a historical awareness, to help them to see that they begin in a specific time and place, in a historical context. You want them to understand that 90 percent of the things they take for granted are cultural solutions embedded in a history of such solutions: facts, but not necessarily truths. Finally, the most critical part is for them to begin…