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jerryking : clarity   34

How to make Complicated Ideas Easy for Anyone to Understand
Feb. 14, 2015 | | Evoke.pro | by Rebecca Okamoto.

Describe your target audience
Normally when we explain something, we describe its features like dimensions, weight, and power. But when your concept is new-to-the-world or complicated, it can be tough for the listener to envision what you’re talking about.

So instead of describing your product or concept, describe your user or target audience.

Here's a great example from Patrick Sherwin, the Founder of GoSun, the maker of green cooking solutions. He was being interviewed on Todd Uterstaedt's brilliant podcast, from Founder to CEO.

Look how Patrick described one of their solar powered stoves that's ideal for the disaster relief vertical:

[The stove] has to be super durable, super easy to use by someone who doesn’t have time to read instructions...
As soon as Patrick gave this description, I immediately thought, “That’s me!” As someone who lives in earthquake prone California, I could easily imagine that GoSun had the right stove for me.

Here’s a competitor's description of their stove:

This is a panel type cooker, there is no limit to the dimension of pot that you use. Two large pots, 12" frypans, oblong cake pans, tall pots... they all fit. The cooking area is 12" deep and 17" wide. There is no height limit in the cooking area so just about any type of pot will fit!
If you were selecting a solar oven for your emergency kit, which one would you select?

Listen to Todd interview Patrick

Describe a breakthrough transformation your user would love
One of the biggest traps trendsetters and visionaries fall into is giving detailed (and confusing) explanations about features. To avoid this, they're told to describe benefits.

My advice? Forget features and benefits. Instead, describe a transformation your target audience obsesses over.

Here’s an example from Dyson. You probably know that Dyson makes innovative appliances like fans and vacuum cleaners. However, you may not know that they also sell hair styling products.

About 5 years ago, Dyson came out with the Supersonic hair dryer. They redesigned the hair dryer from the ground up, and used revolutionary technology so users could dry and style their hair in a fraction of the time. Dyson used descriptions like this to describe the Supersonic:

"The world's first blade-less, supersonic hairdryer with air multiplier technology… An intelligent hair dryer that reads air temperature 20x per second and is regulated by a microprocessor to protect natural shine"
Hmmm… I worked in the Salon Professional industry for 7 years, and I NEVER heard anyone say they needed an intelligent hair dryer.

Fast forward a few years, and Dyson's launched a new hair styling product, the Airwrap styler. Here’s how they describe it:

"A completely new way to style hair….The Dyson Airwrap styler curls your hair without damaging heat"
Dyson could have featured the Airwrap's technical features, like how it's powered by a 130 blade impeller that spins up to 110,000 rpm, and creates the “Coanda effect.”

Instead they described a breakthrough transformation: styling your hair without the damaging high heat that causes dry, brittle and unruly hair.

Forget the bells and whistles. Focus on what your user craves, and they’ll instantly understand what you’re selling.
analogies  clarity  Communicating_&_Connecting  comprehension  Dyson  engagement  human_scale  ideas  James_Dyson  infographics  storytelling  visionaries 
9 days ago by jerryking
Opinion | The Whistle-Blower’s Guide to Writing
Sept. 27, 2019 | The New York Times | By Jane Rosenzweig. Ms. Rosenzweig is the director of the Writing Center at Harvard.
active_voice  best_of  brevity  clarity  complaints  concision  focus  high-quality  howto  impeachment  intelligence_analysts  memoranda  persuasion  presentations  purpose  self-organization  topic_sentences  writing  whistleblowing 
september 2019 by jerryking
Inter Ikea’s Torbjorn Loof: making the vision clear
February 3, 2019 | Financial Times | Richard Milne.

Internal politics had supposedly never played much of a role in the tangled web of companies that makes up the world’s largest furniture retailer. But when Inter Ikea, little-known owner of the brand and concept, acquired the product range, design and manufacturing businesses in 2016 from its more famous sister company, Ikea Group, Torbjorn Loof was struck by the infighting.......The 53-year-old is running a franchise system that decides everything: from which products are on offer and what the stores look like, to the famous catalogues and flat-pack design. But rather than use his new-found power and influence, Mr Loof took a different approach..........Mr Loof is now engineering the biggest transformation Ikea has undertaken by changing its famed business model that has brought it so much success. Having giant out-of-town warehouses, where shoppers pick their own furniture and then build it at home, underpinned Ikea’s solid profitability for seven decades.

But now it is looking increasingly at city-centre stores, online shopping, home delivery and assembly, and more radical ideas such as leasing furniture and selling on websites such as Alibaba. Mr Loof says that challenging such a successful status quo is tricky, especially as the company does not have all the answers on what the new retail landscape will look like.....“We made sure that the vision and the purpose were very, very clear. Not spending too much time on what sometimes is in the middle of things — all the strategies and plans, and all of that had to come later.”......Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad said it was important to be long term and “think about where should we be in 200 years?” The managers smiled at his exaggeration and asked him if that wasn’t too much. “Yes, of course”, he said, “but then you make the short-term plan: that means the next 100 years”.....the toughest tasks is encouraging the entrepreneurship that characterised the company’s early days. He concedes that the decade-long period of growth in the early part of this century stifled Ikea’s creativity and recalls going to see Kamprad a few years ago when sales suddenly hit a bump. “I was a little bit worried. I said to Ingvar: ‘sales are not growing’, and then he looked at me and just smiled and he said: ‘wonderful! Crisis!’ So, there is this kind of [attitude] to love the crisis because the opportunities in the crisis are that you get more creative,” he adds. Ikea has experimented more with what Mr Loof calls the “phygital” — the place where the physical and digital worlds of shopping collide (e.g.an augmented reality app visualization of Ikea furniture in situ at a customer's home, as well as a virtual reality kitchen). ...Ikea will do numerous trials in the next few years: “Even if we would be the best planners, we hire brilliant business analysts, the best strategists, I think we would not make it. So, we have to be the fastest learners . . . daring to test things and make mistakes, but also again correct them.”
CEOs  clarity  Ikea  vision  mistakes  Communicating_&_Connecting  creativity  crisis  cyberphysical  transformational  city-centres  Alibaba  leasing  e-commerce  home-assembly  home-delivery  coopetition  radical_ideas  Torbjörn_Lööf 
february 2019 by jerryking
Why People Ghost — and How to Get Over It - The New York Times
By Adam Popescu
Jan. 22, 2019

Ghosting — when someone cuts off all communication without explanation....happens across all social circumstances and it’s tied to the way we view the world......The pace of modern life makes it hard enough to maintain real life friendships; it’s impossible to actually be friends with everyone you’re supposedly simpatico with online......Growing apart can be a friendship’s natural evolution; ditto for lovers.....when you get ghosted, there’s no closure, so you question yourself and choices which sabotages self-worth and self-esteem.....ghosting a form of the silent treatment akin to emotional cruelty (the pain it causes can be treated with Tylenol, according to multiple studies). So, how do you avoid it in the first place?......be particularly choosy about who you tend to interact with,”....get a sense early on of what kind of individual you’re dealing with.”......watch how people treat others is a good indicator.......Ghosting has a lot to do with someone’s comfort level and how they deal with their emotions,” she added. “A lot of people anticipate that talking about how they feel is going to be a confrontation. That mental expectation makes people want to avoid things that make them uncomfortable.”.....the flip side [of ghosting] is a subset of the population looking for real connection. “People are craving authenticity,”...“Being vulnerable is the number one thing that creates intimacy between people and if you worry about being hurt all the time, you’re not able to be vulnerable and it affects the quality of connection.”....ghosting has a lot to do with how we feel about our future — or whether we think our mate is the “one,” which is a question of belief versus destiny. Either someone believes the relationship is capable of growing or they’re seeking an archetypal partner (what’s typically called a soul mate). “Individuals who have stronger destiny beliefs are more likely to ghost,”....remember if someone ghosts you that behavior says more about them than you,” Dr. Vilhauer said. “It’s about their discomfort. You have to keep trying.”.....modify how we reject people.....Don’t apologize, she said, but be honest about boundaries, whether it’s going to a movie with someone or spending the rest of your life together. Just be real. “The good middle ground is explicitly rejecting someone and telling them ‘no,’ not ‘I’m sorry,’”....Taking a risk to tell someone how you really feel — even if it’s not what they want to hear — has benefits. Self-esteem, stress, blood pressure, spending more time with people you care about. And getting that time back opens up self-discovery.
authenticity  avoidance  belief_systems  blindsided  breakups  clarity  Communicating_&_Connecting  dating  discomforts  exits  friendships  ghosting  intimacy  personal_connections  relationships  say_"no"  self-discovery  self-esteem  self-worth 
february 2019 by jerryking
12 CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO BETTER DECISION-MAKING:
May 31, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | HARVEY SCHACHTER.

Here are 12 crucial factors that consultant Nathan Magnuson says you should consider in decision-making:

* Are you the right person to make the decision?
* What outcomes are you directly respons...
benefits  clarity  core_values  costs  data  data_driven  decision_making  delighting_customers  long-term  managing_up  Occam's_Razor  personal_control  priorities  questions  the_right_people  what_really_matters 
may 2018 by jerryking
Tom Peters summarizes 17 books in six words -
May 31, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | HARVEY SCHACHTER.

“Hard is soft. Soft is hard.”
“Hard” stands for plans, data, a company’s organizational chart and other analytical tools. And while such rigorous quantitative work usually seems solid, Tom Peters warns on the Change This Manifesto site that they aren’t. “Plans are more often than not fantasies, numbers are readily manipulated,” he writes. “And org charts: In practice, they have little to do with how things actually get done.”

In the second sentence, he is referring to “the soft stuff” – people, relationships and organizational culture. It’s important. And it’s hard to get right.

So soft is hard – very hard.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Here are the speed traps to be aware of:

* Relationships take time.
* Recruiting allies to your cause takes time.
* Reading and studying to improve takes time.
* Waiting takes time – and yes, you should wait, since delay and pondering are essential elements of being human.
* Aggressive listening takes time.
* Practice and prep for anything takes time.
* Management-by-walking-around takes time.
* The slack you need in your schedule that comes from thinking about what not to do so you’re not overscheduled takes time.
* Thoughtful small gestures take time.
* The last one per cent of any task or project – the often critical part, the polishing part – takes time.
* Game-changing design takes time. Laurene Powell Jobs noted that her husband, Steve Jobs, and his chief designer, Jony Ive, “would discuss corners for hours.”
* Excellence takes time.
* “It is a hyper-fast-paced world. And the speed therein is madly increasing. Excellence, however, takes time; and some, or most, measures cannot be rushed,” he says.
* So remember hard is soft. Soft is hard. And don’t automatically get caught in the speed trap.

[jk....from Tony Schwartz...... Judgment is grounded in discernment, subtlety and nuance.... Good judgment grows out of reflection, and reflection requires the sort of quiet time that gets crowded out by the next demand].

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
THE VALUE OF PAIRED OPPOSITES
it’s not enough to merely explain what you believe. You also need to explain what you don’t believe. It is not enough to explain what you stand for. You need to explain what you stand against. That is critical with colleagues in the workplace; it helps to clarify. But it also works in Mr. Williams’ field, advertising. “Don’t just tell us what you are. Tell us what you are not,” he says.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
check email at 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m., and 8 p.m., with some additional time to purge emails each day.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Seth Godin: Add energy to every conversation, ask why, find obsolete items on your task list and eliminate them, treat customers better than they expected, offer to help to co-workers before they ask, leave things more organized than you found them, cut costs, and find other great employees to join the team.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
two words that will build trust with customers, according to consultant Jeff Mowatt: “As promised.” Add them in to conversations after you deliver something on time or in detail, to emphasize it’s “as promised.”
Communicating_&_Connecting  e-mail  Harvey_Schachter  humour  Jonathan_Ive  Seth_Godin  soft_skills  speed  Tom_Peters  trustworthiness  dual-consciousness  pairs  clarity  thinking_deliberatively  on-time  opposing_actions  co-workers 
may 2018 by jerryking
The Wordsmith Shares His Craft - WSJ
By Edward Kosner
May 17, 2017

DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?

By Harold Evans
Little, Brown, 408 pages, $27

Mr. Evans introduces a crisp curriculum of do’s and don’ts for the aspiring clear writer. He counsels the active voice over the passive, the parsimonious use of adjectives and the near banishment of adverbs. (Not as easily practiced as preached.) He also urges writers to cut fat, check their math, be specific, organize their material for clarity, accentuate the positive and never be boring.
active_voice  books  book_reviews  clarity  editors  parsimony  self-organization  words  wordsmiths  writing 
may 2017 by jerryking
Informed Patient? Don’t Bet On It
MARCH 1, 2017 | The New York Times | By MIKKAEL A. SEKERES, M.D. and TIMOTHY D. GILLIGAN, M.D.

■ Ask us to use common words and terms. If your doctor says that you’ll end up with a “simple iliac ileal conduit” or a “urostomy,” feel free to say “I don’t understand those words. Can you explain what that means?”

■ Summarize back what you heard. “So I should split my birth control pills in half and take half myself and give the other half to my boyfriend?” That way, if you’ve misunderstood what we did a poor job of explaining, there will be a chance to straighten it out: “No, that’s not right. You should take the whole pill yourself.”

■ Request written materials, or even pictures or videos. We all learn in different ways and at different paces, and “hard copies” of information that you can take time to absorb at home may be more helpful than the few minutes in our offices.

■ Ask for best-case, worst-case, and most likely scenarios, along with the chance of each one occurring.

■ Ask if you can talk to someone who has undergone the surgery, or received the chemotherapy. That person will have a different kind of understanding of what the experience was like than we do.

■ Explore alternative treatment options, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. “If I saw 10 different experts in my condition, how many would recommend the same treatment you are recommending?”
■ Take notes, and bring someone else to your appointments to be your advocate, ask the questions you may be reluctant to, and be your “accessory brain,” to help process the information we are trying to convey.
Communicating_&_Connecting  clarity  doctor's_visits  questions  mens'_health  learning_journeys  medical  probabilities  plain_English  referrals  note_taking  appointments  advocacy  worst-case  best-case  medical_communication 
march 2017 by jerryking
How to garner goodwill and respect | Financial Post
April 2, 2012 Financial Post | Rick Spence.

here are seven ways I believe you can woo your audience:

1. Recognize this opportunity is about understanding what the audience wants to hear. Always ask the meeting organizers about their expectations, and strive to meet them.
2. Be yourself.
3. Explain clearly and concisely what you do. ...Tell your story as simply as possible — who buys your products, and what problems do you solve for them?
4. Look for ways to tell your story visually. Use PowerPoint to show us your premises, your products and your customers. Don’t overdo it; people want to hear from you, not sit through a canned presentation.
5. Brag, but subtly.
6. Be memorable. At least, don’t be boring. Do something unexpected. Bring an unlikely prop, share a secret, describe how your company changed people’s lives, or ask the audience to take action. Leave people with one compelling idea or vision they’ll be talking about long after you sit down.
7. Practise, practise. Read your presentation repeatedly until you are so familiar with it you don’t need your notes.

If you finish early, ask for questions from the floor. Prepare an initial question or two of your own, in case your audience is shy (otherwise, this could be longest minute of your life). You might say, “What I’d be asking me right now is this — ” Follow it with a question that allows you to repeat your theme, with some new “inside” information that enhances it.

Be spontaneous, but never unprepared.
authenticity  clarity  Communicating_&_Connecting  concision  conferences  goodwill  know_your_audience  preparation  public_speaking  readiness  respect  RetailLoco_2017  Rick_Spence  speeches  spontaneity  storytelling  unprepared  visual_culture 
january 2017 by jerryking
We’re All Cord Cutters Now - WSJ
By FRANK ROSE
Sept. 6, 2016

Streaming, Sharing, Stealing By Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang
MIT Press, 207 pages, $29.95

The authors’ point is not that the long tail is where the money is, though that can be the case. It’s that “long-tail business models,” being inherently digital, can succeed where others do not. Mass-media businesses have always depended on the economics of scarcity: experts picking a handful of likely winners to be produced with a professional sheen, released through a tightly controlled series of channels and supported by blowout ad campaigns. This, the authors make clear, is a strategy for the previous century.
book_reviews  books  digital_media  entertainment_industry  massive_data_sets  Amazon  Netflix  data  granularity  cord-cutting  clarity  Anita_Elberse  The_Long_Tail  business_models  blockbusters  Apple  mass_media 
january 2017 by jerryking
A billionaire’s guide to productivity - The Globe and Mail
FRED MOUAWAD
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Feb. 11 2015

1. Prioritize. Rank the level of importance of family, me time, and work. Think about the areas of life that need nurturing in order to feel more fulfilled. It is essential to strike a balance to lead both a happy and productive life.

2. Allocate time (JCK: lead time) to maximize an impact (JCK: leverage or return on effort). Forewarned is forearmed. Plan ahead how you will use your time – after all, knowing your schedule is half the battle.

3. Know your natural penchants. If you find that the time spent on these activities does not give you a high level of return, consider allocating your time more thoughtfully.

4. Reduce uncertainty, increase accountability. A lack of clarity is productivity’s greatest enemy.

5. Know when to be a lone wolf. It is important to know your strengths. What tasks are you better off performing on your own? What tasks can you delegate?

6. Establish a nurturing culture. Productivity is easier to achieve in the right environment.

7. Measurement gets results-- measure performance to make continuous improvements. But make sure that you measuring the right things.
time-management  productivity  GTD  JCK  lead_time  priorities  strengths  self-discipline  business_planning  reflections  work_life_balance  uncertainty  clarity  affirmations  self-awareness  ksfs  preparation  penchants  predilections  measurements  proclivities  willpower  high-impact  time-allocation  return_on_effort 
february 2015 by jerryking
The Dangers and Opportunities in a Crisis
October 7, 2012 | NYTimes.com | By HUGO DIXON, Hugo Dixon is the founder and editor of Reuters Breakingviews.

Wherever one turns — politics, business, medicine, ecology, psychology, virtually every field of human activity — people talk about crises. But what are they, how do they develop and what can people do to change their course?

The first thing to say is that a crisis is not just a bad situation. When the word is used that way, it is devalued. The etymology is from the ancient Greek: krisis, or judgment. The Greek Orthodox Church uses the term when it talks about the Final Judgment — when sinners go to hell, but the virtuous end up in heaven. The Chinese have a similar concept: The characters for crisis combine parts of those for danger and opportunity.

A crisis is a point when people have to make rapid choices under extreme pressure, normally after something unhealthy has been exposed in a system. To use two other Greek words, one path can lead to chaos; another to catharsis or purification.

A crisis is certainly a test of character. It can be scary. Think of wars; environmental collapses that destroy civilizations of the sort charted in Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”; mass unemployment; or individual depression that leads to suicide.

But the outcome can also be beneficial. This applies whether one is managing the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the current euro crisis, the destruction of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico or an individual’s midlife crisis. Much depends on how the protagonists act.

Students of crises are fond of dividing them into phases. For example, Charles Kindleberger’s “Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises” identifies five phases of a financial crisis: an exogenous, normally positive, shock to the system; a bubble in which people exaggerate the benefits of that shock; distress when some investors realize that the game cannot last; the crash; and finally a depression.

Although there is much to commend in Mr. Kindleberger’s system, it is too rigid to account for all crises in all fields. It also downplays the possibility that decision makers can change the course of a crisis. A more flexible scheme that leaves space for human agency to affect how events turn out has just two phases: the bubble and the crash......The bubble is typically characterized by mania and denial. Things are going well — or, at least, appear to be. Feedback loops end up magnifying confidence...............Manic individuals do not know their limitations and end up taking excessive risks — whether on a personal level or in managing an organization or an entire economy. As the ancient Greeks said, hubris comes before nemesis........But before that, there is denial. People do not wish to recognize that there is a fundamental sickness in a system, especially when they are doing so well........The ethical imperative in this phase is to burst the bubble before it gets too big. That, in turn, means both being able to spot a bubble and having the courage to stop the party before it gets out of hand. Neither is easy. It is hard to recognize a sickness, given that there is usually some ideology that explains away the mania as a new normal. The few naysayers can be ridiculed by those who benefit from the continuation of the status quo.

What is more, politicians, business leaders and investors rarely have long-term horizons. So even if they have an inkling that things are not sustainable, they may still have an incentive to prolong the bubble.......The crash, by contrast, is characterized by panic and scapegoating. People fear that the system could collapse. Negative feedback loops are in operation: The loss of confidence breeds further losses in confidence. This is apparent on an individual level as much as on a macro one.

..Events move extremely fast, and decisions have to be made rapidly........The key challenge is to make effective decisions that avoid vicious spirals while not embracing short-term fixes that fail to address the fundamental issues. With the euro crisis, for example, it is important to improve competitiveness with structural reforms and not just rely on liquidity injections from the European Central Bank.

In this phase, no one denies that there is a problem. But there is often no agreement over what has gone wrong. Protagonists are reluctant to accept their share of the responsibility but instead seek to blame others. Such scapegoating, though, prevents people from reforming a system fundamentally so that similar crises do not recur......Crises will always be a feature of life. The best that humanity can do is to make sure it does not repeat the same ones. And the main way to evolve — both during a bubble and after a crash — is to strive to be honest about what is sick in a system. That way, crises will not go to waste.
blaming_fingerpointing  books  bubbles  clarity  crisis  dangers  decision_making  economic_downturn  Jared_Diamond  market_crash  opportunities  risks  scapegoating  societal_choices 
february 2015 by jerryking
How Not to Die
APR 24 2013 | The Atlantic | JONATHAN RAUCH.

What should have taken place was what is known in the medical profession as The Conversation. The momentum of medical maximalism should have slowed long enough for a doctor or a social worker to sit down with him and me to explain, patiently and in plain English, his condition and his treatment options, to learn what his goals were for the time he had left, and to establish how much and what kind of treatment he really desired. Alas, evidence shows that The Conversation happens much less regularly than it should, and that, when it does happen, information is typically presented in a brisk, jargony way that patients and families don’t really understand. Many doctors don’t make time for The Conversation, or aren’t good at conducting it (they’re not trained or rewarded for doing so), or worry their patients can’t handle it.

This is a problem, because the assumption that doctors know what their patients want turns out to be wrong: when doctors try to predict the goals and preferences of their patients, they are “highly inaccurate,” according to one summary of the research, published by Benjamin Moulton and Jaime S. King in The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. Patients are “routinely asked to make decisions about treatment choices in the face of what can only be described as avoidable ignorance,” Moulton and King write. “In the absence of complete information, individuals frequently opt for procedures they would not otherwise choose.”
end-of-life  medicine  dying  palliative_care  Communicating_&_Connecting  conversations  plain_English  clarity  doctor's_visits  medical_communication 
may 2014 by jerryking
Grammar is a vital tool for any executive
May 2, 2013 | The Financial Time | by Michael Skapinker.

A reader recently sent me this plea: "I want to write clearly, concisely and correctly. Canyouhelpme?"

There are many guides to writing....
Communicating_&_Connecting  writing  grammar  clarity  concision 
may 2013 by jerryking
How to Write Clearly | TIME.com
By Harvard Business ReviewMarch 06, 2013

Here are three ways to ensure your ideas aren’t misinterpreted:

Adopt the reader’s perspective. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes to assess your clarity. Better yet, ask a colleague to summarize the main points of your draft from a quick read-through.
Keep your language simple. Strive to use short words and sentences. Aim for an average of 20 words or less in each sentence. With every one, ask yourself whether you can say it more briefly.
Show, don’t tell. Be specific enough that readers draw their own conclusions (that match yours, of course), as opposed to expressing your opinions without support and hoping people will agree.
Communicating_&_Connecting  writing  howto  HBR  memoranda  clarity  empathy  misinterpretations  brevity  concision 
march 2013 by jerryking
Analytic Thinking and Presentation for Intelligence Producers.
The importance of a title
How to gist your reading (actually a very helpful section)
The need for focus and clarity
“If you can’t summarize your bottom line in one sentence, you haven’t done your analysis.”
One idea – One Paragraph
The inverted Pyramid writing style, i.e. begin with the core assumption.
The importance of precise language (no jargon, no abbreviations, allow no possible misunderstandings)
Again, there is nothing earth shattering, but it is an interesting read.
DEVELOPING ANALYTICAL OBJECTIVITY
The part that I found most interesting is the section entitled “Developing Analytical Objectivity.”
In a world filled with talk radio and infotainment, it is an important point to raise awareness about.
We have talked extensively about the cognitive nature of our brains and some of the fallacies and tricks our brains play on us – especially in the political arena.
This warning given to some of our country’s brightest thinkers acts as a reminder that if the smartest person in the room must protect against biases, so must we.
focus  clarity  strategic_thinking  critical_thinking  security_&_intelligence  writing  presentations  howto  sense-making  objectivity  biases  Philip_Mudd  analysts  misunderstandings  intelligence_analysts 
october 2012 by jerryking
An Engineer's Blueprints For Writing.
April 13, 2012 | WSJ | By NICK ARVIN.

At root, both engineering and writing are disciplines of combining small things (pieces of steel, or words) to assemble a larger, more pleasing and useful thing (a cruise ship, or "Moby-Dick"). And many of the skills that one learns for engineering a machine carry over into engineering a tale. Here are three.

Steal.
Simplify.
Attend to ambiguity....In engineering, ambiguity is our adversary, because the consequences of uncertainty can be, literally, devastating.

The writer has this attitude too. Language is inherently ambiguous, subject to variables of interpretation...It takes only one confusing sentence to lose a reader's trust forever, so the writer labors through revision after revision, pinning the words ever more precisely.

And yet, at heart, engineers and writers diverge in their attitudes toward ambiguity. A writer works to reduce ambiguity at the sentence level, but he also knows that moral ambiguities lie at the heart of compelling drama and conflict. So the writer will seek out and enlarge these in ways that an engineer never would.
engineering  writing  drama  ambiguities  think_threes  simplicity  blueprints  clarity  words  wordsmiths  brevity  concision 
april 2012 by jerryking
Being Clear or Being Tough
In other words, you do not have to be a tough guy. You can, but it’s not required. What you do need to be is clear. Clear on your rules; clear on your objectives; clear on your decisions; and clear on whom you surround yourself with. You must have a Code of Honor that spells out the context of your business, your relationships and your life. Your Code of Honor ensures you remain “clear.”

In all of my businesses, I have had to make tough decisions, but I did not always have to be tough. Just clear that it either works or it doesn’t...it either supports the mission and team or it doesn’t...it either operates by the Code or it doesn’t.

When faced with choices, you have to have more than a ‘gut’ feeling in order to make them. Part of the problem is that most people cannot distinguish between their intuition and their emotional reaction. (Subject for next article!)

You have to have clear guidelines or a Code. Does that mean that every decision, choice or action is black and white? Of course not. But it gives you clarity of purpose, intention and direction.
Communicating_&_Connecting  decision_making  clarity  Code_of_Honor  values  hard_choices  intuition  emotions  gut_feelings 
march 2012 by jerryking
Ask, and you shall succeed |
Nov. 1, 2004 |PROFIT|Rick Spence. What are the breakthrough
questions that create clarity? Asking abstract, personal questions ("What's your org.'s reason for being? Why would you be missed if you were gone?") helps focus on a clients' real issues...VCs are probably the best at questioning.Their job is to wade through heady optimism, technical jargon, obscuring fluff & self-serving #'s to get to the truth. They ask a series of questions, starting with the predictable & straightforward and moving inexorably toward more oblique,
penetrating questions.Eg. "Who're your existing customers? Target customers? What constitutes an 'ideal' customer?" & "Who actually writes the cheque?" Tom Stoyan's breakthrough question when talking with a prospect (or a supplier, or anyone else), never overwhelm them with details they don't want. Before rushing into a spiel, ask prospects if they want the 30-sec. or the 3-min. version. Their response will help
you gauge their interest and calibrate your msg.

WHAT'S ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE BUT UNDERUSED BUSINESS TOOLS? THE QUESTION! Before rushing into your spiel, ask prospects if they want the 30-second version or the 3-minute version. Their response will help you gauge their interest, and then tailor your message to fit. The right question can also save you time and effort when dealing with people who want things from you. Rebuff oral propositions. "Can you send me a proposal on paper?" Besides detectives and priests, VCs are probably the best at asking questions. "Who are your existing customers? Who are your target customers? What constitutes an 'ideal' customer?" And, finally, "Who actually writes the cheque?" Some questions diffuse complexity and create consensus. "What is your organization's reason for being? Whywould you be missed if you were gone?"
Rick_Spence  JCK  management_consulting  vapourware  decision_making  entrepreneur  skills  hiring  sales_presentations  questions  UpSark  venture_capital  VC  clarity  breakthroughs  calibration  jargon  follow-up_questions  overoptimism 
april 2011 by jerryking
What John Keats Can Teach a CEO - WSJ.com
APRIL 18, 2011 WSJ By DANNY HEITMAN. The lessons of language
afforded by poetry can be a particularly valuable resource for any
workplace. Can poetry help you get ahead in business, too? "I find
that poetry helps me do my job better," I told my interviewer. "Good
poems teach you how to write simply and clearly, which is a must for
most businesses." I make my living as a newspaperman, where clarity of
expression is especially important. ....Read John Keats, Robert Frost,
Emily Dickinson and Wallace Stevens, and learn how it's done. poets
throughout the ages have routinely confronted the challenge of saying a
lot—and saying it memorably—in small spaces....But maybe it's time that
we reconnect with poetry not as a rarified ritual, but as a vital force
of erudition and insight that can help shape the very texture of our
national life, including corporate culture.
brevity  CEOs  clarity  Communicating_&_Connecting  concision  humanities  poets  poetry  small_spaces  reconnecting 
april 2011 by jerryking
Three Tips for Managing Your Time at Work
Dec. 20 2010 | Forbes | by Jessica Kleiman. 1. Create an
e-mail free zone. According to time management expert Julie Morgenstern,
( Never Check E-Mail in the Morning), set aside at least an hour each
day where you don’t look at your e-mail. She recommends it be first
thing in the morning so you can dedicate that time to working on
strategy and big ideas.
2. Write your to-do list at night. Before you leave the office or shut
down your laptop for the evening, jot down your assignments for the
following day.
3. Get clear on your priorities. Another phrase Morgenstern uses often
is “dance close to the revenue line,” meaning tend to the things that
have the biggest impact on your business first and the rest can wait. We
live in an age of urgency, where everything seems important and people
are looking for instant gratification.
clarity  e-mail  GTD  high-impact  instant_gratification  lists  preparation  priorities  productivity  time-management  tips  urgency 
december 2010 by jerryking
Pop-ups present tenant issues
Dec. 20, 2010 |Financial Post | Drew Hasselback.
If you're a commercial landlord, you may have wondered about granting space to pop-ups. They may broaden your shopping centre's product range, but they don't come with the polish you expect from your long-term tenants. The rapid appearance and exit of pop-up stores at holiday times raises some unique legal issues and requires a frank discussion between the landlord and the tenant before any rental deal is signed. Each side needs to understand the other's objectives, and those understandings should be spelled out in writing to prevent future conflicts.
kiosks  retailers  shopping_malls  pop-ups  short-lived  clarity  commercial_real_estate  landlords 
december 2010 by jerryking
How to Wow Your Board of Directors
September 15, 2004 | CIO | Stephanie Overby. here are some tips for making the most of your 15 minutes.

(1) Hone Your Message ; (2) Be Strategic ; (3) Make Visuals Clear and Concise; (4) Brevity Is the Soul of Wit; (5)
Practice, Practice and Then Practice some More; (6) It's Not a Speech; (7) Be Professional but Engaging, (8) Stay Alert
boards_&_directors_&_governance  pitches  howto  ufsc  presentations  clarity  concision 
september 2010 by jerryking
The Best Way to Shorten the Sales Cycle - Sales Strategies - Selling Skills
Aug 1, 2007 | Inc. Magazine | By Jeff Thull.
(Charles Waud & WaudWare)
To shorten the sales cycle, we must bring clarity to our customers. There are three
challenges to address if we want to shorten the sales cycle time. (1)
The "decision" challenge. The customer must have a high-quality decision
process with which to make this type of decision.(2) Is the customer
really ready to address the issue of "change."? (3) Can the customer
measure the "value" /impact of your solution? Does the customer have
enough knowledge or a method to measure the value your solution will
provide pre-sale, and worse, left on their own, are they able to measure
the value they have received from your solution post-sale?
buyer_choice_rejection  clarity  decision_making  high-quality  measurements  ROI  sales  sales_training  sales_cycle  selling  think_threes 
march 2010 by jerryking
Unleashing your inner supernova
Dec 29, 2006 | The Globe & Mail. pg. B.8 | by Diane Davies.
Go beyond being a good and find out how to become indispensable. The
indispensable person is focused on success, and has built a reputation
not only for finding solutions, but for having visionary ideas and the
guts to make them reality. Here are four steps for building that
indispensable presence. (1) Own the company. Start thinking like the
company's owner. (2) Develop your presence. Avoid negativity. digest
information quickly and present it clearly and concisely. (3) Build
your reputation with colleagues, other parts of the company, members of
professional associations and the broader community. Be the "go-to"
person. Prepare. (4) Be visionary. Plus: Blowing your own horn
(softly). For Jason Isaacs.
indispensable  owners  up-and-comers  Managing_Your_Career  solutions  solution-finders  personal_branding  reputation  self-promotion  time-management  movingonup  visionaries  mindsets  Pablo_Picasso  negativity_bias  clarity  concision  Jason_Isaacs 
february 2010 by jerryking
How to master the art of thinking quickly on your feet
July 10, 2004 | The Globe and Mail | by Virginia Galt. (1)
Think brevity (2) Think structure (3) Think threes (4) Think movement.
BS3M |
Think brevity

Be aware that your audience values you getting to the point. They value complex ideas being explained simply. Everyone suffers from information overload. If you don't get to the point, you're adding to the overload.

Think structure

Place some kind of framework into your communication so that your audience can see you are organized and have thought about your answer. You have focused your answer into something digestible, something an audience can absorb. It forces you into brevity and clarity.

Think threes

Strong verbal messages require focus. They also require substance. One item is not enough. Seventeen items is too many. Three items is enough for you, and your audience, to retain. Three items forces you to focus on what is really important. It also focuses your audience on only having listen to three. Remember your audience's attention span.

Think movement

Demonstrate your mental ability to be logical, and to move your audience through that logic. What if someone asks a question to which you do not know the answer?
brevity  Communicating_&_Connecting  concision  frameworks  strategic_thinking  improvisation  filetype:pdf  media:document  public_speaking  speeches  Virginia_Galt  structure  clarity  think_threes 
november 2009 by jerryking
Seeing things as they really are
March 10, 1997 | Forbes Magazine | Anonymous. Intellectual
integrity? Describes.... "...the ability to see the world as it is, not
as you want it to be," Drucker elucidates. How does one display that
kind of integrity? "By asking, especially when taking on office: What is
the foremost need of the institution—and therefore my first task and
duty?"..."Drucker purified my mind. He would tell me after each
session—don't tell me you had a wonderful meeting with me. Tell me what
you're going to do on Monday that's different."
clarity  integrity  intellectual_integrity  Peter_Drucker  purpose 
october 2009 by jerryking
How to Ask Better Questions
May 6, 2009 | Management Essentials - HarvardBusiness.org | by Judith Ross.

The most effective and empowering questions create value in one or more of the following ways:

They create clarity: “Can you explain more about this situation?”
They construct better working relations: Instead of “Did you make your sales goal?” ask, “How have sales been going?”
They help people think analytically and critically: “What are the consequences of going this route?”
They inspire people to reflect and see things in fresh, unpredictable ways: “Why did this work?”
They encourage breakthrough thinking: “Can that be done in any other way?”
They challenge assumptions: “What do you think you will lose if you start sharing responsibility for the implementation process?
They create ownership of solutions: “Based on your experience, what do you suggest we do here?”
assumptions  breakthroughs  clarity  critical_thinking  fresh_eyes  Harvard  HBR  howto  indispensable  inspiration  JCK  owners  questions  reflections  relationships  value_creation 
june 2009 by jerryking
Engineer a smooth takeover with five proven tips
https://hbr.org/2007/09/rules-to-acquire-by

09-17-2007 The Globe and Mail by Schachter, Harvey
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS - Taken from "Rules to Acquire" By Bruce Nolop, of Pitney Bowles. FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2007 ISSUE of the Harvard Business Review.

A close look at the world’s most successful companies reveals that, in general, they rely heavily on acquisitions to achieve their strategic goals......acquisitions can be faster, cheaper, and less risky than organic expansion. It’s a seeming paradox, until you realize what’s going on: Some acquirers have figured out how to do it right. Many have not.......Pitney Bowes embarked on our acquisition program.....they believed that they should develop a disciplined approach to making acquisitions and learning from them as an organization......More than 70 acquisitions later, they have a process firmly in place.......What’s behind the program’s success? ....a due diligence checklist that now covers 93 separate points of concern.....and a few key guidelines.

* Stick to adjacent spaces

Too many companies reach far afield when making acquisitions......Pick acquisition targets that are logical extensions of your company's current business mix, so they can be taken on incrementally. Such additions take advantage of the organization's tacit strengths - management know-how, customer insights, and cultural orientation - that are often ignored by more grandiose strategists. And they keep your brand consistent...... a 2001 McKinsey study: adjacent acquisitions correlate with increased shareholder value, whereas diversification into non-related areas actually reduces shareholder value. ....Profit from the Core author Chris Zook, looked for patterns in 2,000 companies’ growth initiatives and concluded that adjacent moves were the most successful.......Q: Can you really add more value to the target company than any other acquirer can?

* Bet on portfolio performance

Manage acquisitions like an investment portfolio, trying for multiple smaller acquisitions rather than one or two gargantuan bets. He notes that a Bain & Company study found the economic returns from acquisitions are greater if the purchase represents 5 per cent or less of the acquirer's market capitalization - so smaller is better. A portfolio approach keeps acquisitions to manageable size and hedges the risk that any one will go awry, producing more predictable financial results over time.......The classic benefit of a portfolio strategy, whether for acquisitions or any other type of investment, is that it produces more-predictable financial results over time.

* Get a business sponsor--No exceptions!

A clearly defined leader has to be personally focused on executing the business plan for the acquisition, assuring revenue targets and those often-elusive cost synergies.

That sponsor must drive the behind-the-scenes infrastructure projects that are essential to operational success, such as the integration of IT systems and HR policies, and develop strong relationships with the newly acquired management teams to ensure talent retention.

This can't be left to a corporate development group - it must be in the hands of an individual who is held personally responsible for the acquisition's success, and who reports regularly to the CEO and the board.

* Be clear on how the acquisition will be judged

You need to know exactly what you are seeking - what do you mean, exactly, when you talk of growth potential, or market development, or near-term synergies? For bolt-on acquisitions, which neatly fit into a business or market, financial returns should be more short term, while it will take longer for those benefits to accrue when the acquisition is a platform that takes you into a new, albeit still adjacent, business space or activity.

* Don't shop when you're hungry

What applies at the supermarket applies in corporate acquisitions. If you buy when you are hungry, you're likely to grab more than you need and be less price sensitive. On a strategic level, hunger can occur when you are seeking a missing element that you feel is urgently needed. Also problematic are acquisitions made to compensate for poor performance in existing operations.
adjacencies  bolt-on  buying_a_business  buyer's_remorse  CAMEX  checklists  Chris_Zook  clarity  due_diligence  emotional_discipline  growth  guidelines  Harvey_Schachter  HBR  leadership  M&A  McKinsey  mergers_&_acquisitions  metrics  organizational_learning  paradoxes  Pitney_Bowes  platforms  portfolio_management  process-orientation  rules_of_the_game  tips 
march 2009 by jerryking
Without Restraint Tides of confusion have washed up Mark Foley, Wonder Land - WSJ.com
Friday, October 6, 2006 WSJ columnist by DANIEL HENNINGER.
Clipped because there is an interesting paragraph on clarity of thought.

As a result, we live now in an era awash in cultural confusions. The tides bring in weird phenomena, like the Mark Foley story, leave them on the beach overnight, then drag them back out to sea before there's time to make much sense of what we saw. As often as not, we don't even try. The Web and digital technology have ramped up the cultural velocity to warp speed. MySpace, YouTube -- the once-bright line between the private and public spheres has evaporated.

This has had an effect on the way we think, or don't. Clarity -- thinking clearly -- is harder than ever to achieve, because clarity assumes a degree of general social agreement about things. For instance, time was that most people would agree that putting a crucifix in urine and calling it art doesn't qualify as anything but bad thinking. But no, we had to have a big argument over that. At the end of her current stage act, Madonna makes herself the central figure in a crucifixion scene. No problem. Most reviewers simply describe it, and move on.

Challenge over the past 40 years became a more powerful social value than clarity. One of the byproducts of challenge is that you don't have to think very much -- about the point or the consequences. Just do it. The act of challenge is its own justification. And one of the byproducts of constant challenge is aggressive confusion.
op_ed  Daniel_Henninger  WONDER_LAND  social_media  Madonna  clarity  cultural_change  revenge_effects  controversies  warp_speed  social_challenge 
february 2009 by jerryking
Managing: Six ways to be a team player
April 16, 2007 G&M column by Harvey Schachter in which John Szold outlines 6 tips to becoming a team MVP.

Be approachable: When someone asks for help, no matter how trivial the task may seem to you, it's important to him or her. Treat them with respect. Avoid sighing, eye rolling or other negative reactions.

Be responsive: Often, we're so focused on the tasks we need to accomplish that we put off a colleague's request for help. You shouldn't be expected to drop what you're doing, but you should offer a date or time when you can accommodate the request.

Improve your communication skills: Make sure people understand you -- and if you're not sure, ask: "I'm not sure if I said that clearly. What's your understanding?" When listening, make a conscious effort to really "hear" what's being said, rather than simply formulating your response.

Establish and maintain trust: Avoid gossiping. Nothing upsets an office dynamic like anger and distrust.

Share what you know: If you hold back because you want sole credit for an idea, you are doing yourself and the group a disservice.

Put the team first: If you find yourself thinking, "What's in it for me?" reposition your thinking by asking, "What's in it for the team?" No one person is more important than anyone else.
approachability  body_language  clarity  Communicating_&_Connecting  generosity  gestures  gossip  Harvey_Schachter  indispensable  listening  Managing_Your_Career  responsiveness  serving_others  teams  tips  trustworthiness 
january 2009 by jerryking

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