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jerryking : warning_signs   39

A Recession Is Coming (Eventually). Here’s Where You’ll See It First. - The New York Times
By Ben Casselman
July 28, 2019

Another recession will come eventually. Fortunately, economic expansions, unlike coin-flip streaks, usually provide some hints about when they are nearing their end — if you know where to look. Below is a guide to some of the indicators that have historically done the best job of sounding the alarm.

Indicator 1: The Unemployment Rate
What to watch for: Rapid increases, even from a low level.
What it’s saying: All clear.

Indicator 2: The Yield Curve
What to watch for: Interest rates on 10-year Treasury bonds falling below those on three-month bonds. (It has already happened.)
What it’s saying: Storm warning.

Indicator 3: The ISM Manufacturing Index
What to watch for: The index falling below about 45 for an extended period.
What it's saying: Mostly cloudy.

Indicator 4: Consumer Sentiment
What to watch for: Declines of 15 percent or more over a year.
What it's saying: Partly cloudy.

Indicator 5: Choose Your Favorite

* Temporary staffing levels: Temp workers are, by definition, flexible — companies hire them when they need help quickly and get rid of them when demand dries up. That makes them a good measure of business sentiment.
* The quits rate: When workers are confident in the economy, they are more likely to quit voluntarily.
* Residential building permits: The housing market has frequently led the economy both into and out of recessions. That has made building permits — which are generally issued several weeks before construction begins — one of the best historical indicators of economic activity.
* Auto sales: After houses, cars are the most expensive thing most families buy.
consumer_confidence  economics  forecasting  indices  interim  lagging_indicators  leading_indicators  manufacturers  recessions  unemployment  warning_signs  yield_curve 
august 2019 by jerryking
Business leaders are blinded by industry boundaries
April 22, 2019 | Financial Times | Rita McGrath.

Why is it so hard for executives to anticipate the major shifts that can determine the destiny of their organisations? Andy Grove called these moments “strategic inflection points”. For some, he wrote, “That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”

Industry leaders would do well to focus on productive opportunities, even when they lie outside a fairly well-bounded industry. Want to survive a strategic inflection point? Stop focusing on traditional metrics and find new customer needs that your organisation can uniquely address.

Why do business leaders so often miss these shifts? Successful companies such as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and Nokia did not heed the early signs of a move to app-based smartphones. Video rental chain Blockbuster failed to acquire Netflix when it had the chance, in 2000.

Senior people rise to the top by mastering management of the KPIs in that sector. This, in turn, shapes how they look at the world. The problem is a strategic inflection point can occur and render the reference points they have developed obsolete. Take traditional retail. Its key metrics have to do with limited real estate, such as sales per square metre. Introduce the internet and those measures are useless. And yet traditional systems, rewards and measures are all built around them.....British economist Edith Penrose grasped this crucial link, she asked, “What is an industry?” In her studies, executives did not confine themselves to single industries, they expanded into any market where their business might find profitable growth.

Consider the energy sector: Historically, most power generators and utilities were heavily regulated...The sector’s suppliers likewise expected steady demand and a quiet life....that business has been rocked by slow-moving shifts many players talked about, but did not act upon. The rise of distributed energy generation, the maturing of renewable technology, increased conservation and new rules have eroded the traditional model. Many failed to heed the warnings. In 2015, General Electric spent about $10bn to acquire Alstom’s power business. Finance chief Jeff Bornstein crowed at the time that it could be GE’s best acquisition ever. Blinded by traditional metrics, GE doubled down on fossil-fuel-fired turbines just as renewables were becoming cost competitive.

Consider razor blades: Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand of razors had long enjoyed a competitive advantage. For decades, the company had invested in developing premium products, charged premium prices, invested heavily in marketing and used its clout to get those razors into every traditional retail outlet. A new breed of online rivals such as Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s have upended that model, reselling outsourced razors that were “good enough” and cheaper, online via a subscription model that attracted younger, economically pressured customers...... Rather than fork out for elaborate marketing, the upstarts enlisted YouTube and Facebook influencers to get the word out.
Andy_Grove  BlackBerry  blindsided  Blockbuster  brands  cost-consciousness  customer_insights  Dollar_Shave_Club  executive_management  GE  Gillette  good_enough  Harry's  industries  industry_boundaries  inflection_points  Intel  irrelevance  KPIs  metrics  millennials  movingonup  myopic  obsolescence  out-of-the-box  P&G  power_generation  retailers  reward_systems  sales_per_square_foot  shifting_tastes  slowly_moving  tradition-bound  warning_signs 
april 2019 by jerryking
Navigating a Breathtaking Level of Global Economic Change
November 14, 2017 |The New York Times | by Andrew Ross Sorkin.
you’d think that any sense of “faith” in the global economy might be shaken, or at least, uncertain given events like North Korea, Russian interference in elections in the United States, post-Brexit Europe, and hurricane damage.

Not so.

In conversation after conversation with some of the nation’s top business leaders and chief executives last week, there is a stunning amount of genuine “confidence” in our economy here and, yes, even globally.

“I’m very surprised,” Laurence D. Fink, the founder of BlackRock, the largest money manager in the world overseeing some $6 trillion, said at The New York Times DealBook conference last Thursday, describing his new sense of optimism.......Mark Cuban, whose disdain for President Trump is so acute that he is considering running for president himself in 2020 as a Republican because it “means you get to go head-on with Trump right in the primaries — and so there’s nothing I’d have more fun doing.” Still, though, he said he believes the economy is in good enough shape that when it comes to investing in the stock market, “I just, you know, I just let it ride.”

Mr. Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said he keeps a small amount of cash on hand as a precaution. “I keep a little bit, you know, as a hedge. I call it my ‘Trump hedge’ because you just never know.....Earlier in 2017, The Conference Board reported that chief executives’ confidence had reached 2008 pre-recession highs in the first quarter.....there are pockets of the economy that are causing anxiety. “The last two or three years have not been fun whatsoever,” Mickey Drexler, the chairman of J. Crew, said at the conference about the traditional retail business, which has been upended by Amazon and changes in consumer behavior. “It’s been miserable.” Those challenges are extending to mall owners and commercial real estate, too..... is the stock market a proxy for the economy of America?....“In the aftermath of corporate and public-sector disasters, it often emerges that participants fell prey to a collective form of willful blindness and overconfidence: mounting warning signals were systematically cast aside or met with denial, evidence avoided or selectively reinterpreted, dissenters shunned,” Roland Bénabou a professor at Princeton University wrote in a seminal work on confidence and groupthink. “Market bubbles and manias exhibit the same pattern of investors acting ’colorblind in a sea of red flags,’ followed by a crash.”
confidence  Andrew_Sorkin  Mark_Cuban  Laurence_Fink  BlackRock  shifting_tastes  optimism  consumer_behavior  CEOs  J._Crew  Mickey_Drexler  commercial_real_estate  shopping_malls  warning_signs  groupthink  bubbles  overconfidence  precaution  global_economy  willful_blindness  manias  market_crash 
november 2017 by jerryking
Cautioning Against Future Catastrophes | On Point
May 23, 2017

"Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes."

Richard Clarke, the nation’s former counter terrorism czar, warned the White House about the grave threat posed by Al Qaeda before 9/11…and was ignored. Now he’s back with a new warning. In a new book he explains: experts he calls 'Cassandras' are sounding the alarm about a new host of existential threats from cyberattacks to climate change. And they’re getting ignored. This hour On Point, heeding warnings in a dangerous world
books  Richard_Clarke  warning_signs  catastrophes  counterterrorism  cyberattacks 
june 2017 by jerryking
‘How Worried Should I Be?’ - The New York Times
By SUSAN CHIRAMAY 12, 2017

For scholars of democracy who have kept anxious watch over the tumultuous first months of this presidency, this week’s firing of James Comey set off a new round of alarm bells.

As President Trump attacked judges, intelligence agencies, the press, even the Congressional Budget Office — all potential independent constraints on presidential power — they constantly adjusted their scorecards, trying to sift the alarming from the merely noisy. But firing the official who heads an investigation into possible collusion between a presidential campaign and a foreign power crossed a line, they agreed......Few argue that the United States is in imminent danger of becoming an autocracy, a term much chewed over by pundits these days, including some conservative ones like David Frum...but in conversations over the past few months, scholars’ moods and assessments have soared and plummeted...... “Political scientists assume that politicians are ambitious and mainly motivated by a desire to win and retain office,” she said. “It’s not an uplifting image of our leaders but at least it makes them predictable, their actions explicable. An ever-improvising president, one who is utterly undisciplined, even to the point of undermining his own positions — [is worrisome].”....Political scientists are particularly concerned by the way congressional leaders immediately backed Mr. Trump [suggesting]
that partisan loyalty is still far more powerful than checks and balances,”....The scholars agree on what to watch for next: Who will be nominated as head of the F.B.I. and what will Republicans do?....“[Trump's] ability to undermine independent institutions is in the hands of the Republicans.”

Mr. Drutman said that if Republicans continue to reflexively back Mr. Trump, he would raise his “alarm-o-meter” to 8.
Donald_Trump  James_Comey  institutions  autocracies  authoritarianism  partisan_loyalty  democratic_institutions  warning_signs  checks_and_balances 
may 2017 by jerryking
Dumping a Bad App? Tips for a Painless Breakup - The New York Times
By BRIAN X. CHEN JAN. 25, 2017.

When to Call It Quits

No app is perfect, but you have to draw the line somewhere. The problem is, you may be in such a rut that you can’t recognize the warning signs.

(1) An obvious one is when an app stops working reliably in a way that affects your life.
(2) dump an app when it has stopped improving.
(3) when you have nobody to talk to... . If an app’s audience is a ghost town — like Yahoo’s photo-sharing app, Flickr, which sank in popularity after mobile photo-sharing services like Instagram emerged — then it’s probably time to leave.

Getting Out

The hardest part of breaking up with an app is moving your data. So as a rule of thumb, save a backup copy of your data so that you can export it into a new app. Then carefully search for a better app to suit your needs.

As a safety measure before changing apps, you should always keep extra copies of your data somewhere, whether it be in the cloud with a service like Dropbox or on a physical hard drive. When companies don’t provide convenient tools to export your data, look elsewhere by doing a quick web search for solutions. There are plenty of people in the same boat as you, and chances are they have written scripts, or lightweight programs, to automatically pull out your data for you.

If there is no convenient way to export your data, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to just take out what is most important to you. Perhaps you don’t need five-year-old notes from Evernote anymore, so you could just manually paste your latest memos and get a fresh start with a different app.

Finding a New App

On the bright side, you can learn a lot from a tough breakup with an app — which can be especially useful when looking for a replacement.

The biggest lessons: Pick a tool that supports a wide array of formats instead of proprietary ones. And before you commit to a new app, make sure it is as easy to get out as it is to get in.

Fantastical 2 for iPhone

The fast and friendly calendar and reminders app, packed full of features to make you even more productive.
mobile_applications  exits  howto  productivity  warning_signs  breakups 
february 2017 by jerryking
Unnatural calm sparks visions of a 'Minsky Moment'
31 December/1 January 2017 | Financial Times | John Authers.

Argues that it is bad news that volatility on financial markets has dropped to an all-time low as measured on the CBOE's Vix index. Economist Hyman Minsky postulated that capitalist financial systems were inherently unstable, and that stability begat instability. As markets grow calmer and bankers more confident, lending steadily rises until it is out of control. The "Minsky Moment" occurs when investors realize that they have paid far too much for the credits that have bought, no buyers can be found, and the system collapses. Aka Wile E. Coyote running-off-a-cliff....The greatest dangers to us are not from things we perceive to be high-risk, because we generally treat them carefully. Trouble arises from that which we perceive to be low-risk.
instability  Vix  indices  volatility  economists  financial_system  risk-assessment  warning_signs  complacency  dangers  high-risk  low-risk  fear  bad_news 
january 2017 by jerryking
To Be a Great Investor, Worry More About Being Wrong Than Right - MoneyBeat - WSJ
By JASON ZWEIG
Dec 30, 2016

The stunning surprises of 2016 should have taught all of us that the unexpected will happen. To be a good investor, you have to be right much of the time. To be a great investor, you have to recognize how often you may be wrong. Great investors like Warren Buffett practice trying to disprove their investing assumptions to determine whether they are correct.

Techniques to combat these cognitive biases:

Shun peer pressure from social media or the Internet. If you reveal your opinion to a group that has strong views, the sociologist Robert K. Merton has warned, the ensuing debate becomes more “a battle for status” than “a search for truth.” Instead, get a second opinion from one or two people you know and can trust to tell you if they think you are wrong.

Listen for signals you might be off-base. Use Facebook or Twitter not as an amen corner of people who agree with you, but to find alternative viewpoints that could alert you when your strategies are going astray.

Write down your estimates of where the Dow Jones Industrial Average, oil, gold, inflation, interest rates and other key financial indicators will be at the end of 2017. If you don’t know, admit it. Ask your financial advisers to do the same. Next Dec. 31, none of you will be able to say “I knew that would happen” unless that’s what the record shows.

Book reference: Keith Stanovich, Richard West and Maggie Toplak point out in their new book, “The Rationality Quotient,” rational beliefs “must correspond to the way the world is,” not to the way you think the world ought to be.
==================================
Commenter:

What investors need to do is focus on their own investments, their strategies for each particular holding, long-term, income-oriented, speculative, etc. and stick to their plan without being distracted by peers and press looking for big headlines.
Warren_Buffett  biases  confirmation_bias  investors  books  Pablo_Picasso  personal_finance  investing  Jason_Zweig  pretense_of_knowledge  self-awareness  self-analysis  self-reflective  proclivities  warning_signs  signals  second_opinions  peer_pressure  DJIA  assumptions  mistakes  personal_economy  surprises  worrying 
january 2017 by jerryking
Donald Trump Voters, Just Hear Me Out
NOV. 2, 2016 | The New York Times | Thomas L. Friedman.

No one knows for certain how we deal with this new race with and against machines, but I can assure you it’s not Trump’s way — build walls, restrict trade, give huge tax cuts to the rich. The best jobs in the future are going to be what I call “STEMpathy jobs — jobs that blend STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, math) with human empathy. We don’t know what many of them will look like yet.

The smartest thing we can do now is to keep our economy as open and flexible as possible — to get the change signals first and be able to quickly adapt; create the opportunity for every American to engage in lifelong learning, because whatever jobs emerge will require more knowledge; make sure that learning stresses as much of the humanities and human interactive skills as hard sciences; make sure we have an immigration policy that continues to attract the world’s most imaginative risk-takers; and strengthen our safety nets, because this era will leave more people behind.

This is the only true path to American greatness in the 21st century.
adaptability  Campaign_2016  Donald_Trump  empathy  Hillary_Clinton  humanities  immigration_policies  life_long_learning  manufacturers  open_borders  safety_nets  signals  STEM  Tom_Friedman  warning_signs 
november 2016 by jerryking
Emergency planning: Flood warning — new data help predict risk - FT.com
September 4, 2015 4:42 pm
Emergency planning: Flood warning — new data help predict risk
Clive Cookson

Historical information can be a practical tool for planning responses to future emergencies....KnowNow Information, a spinout from computing giant IBM, has produced a prototype “flood event model” for Hampshire. Working with the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree supercomputing centre in Daresbury, Cheshire, its team crunched a vast accumulation of data — about water falling from the sky and lying on the ground, geology and landforms, urban geography and infrastructure, as well as past emergencies.
floods  massive_data_sets  history  extreme_weather_events  natural_calamities  data  data_driven  warning_signs  emergencies  anticipating  preparation 
september 2015 by jerryking
The Mind of Marc Andreessen - The New Yorker
MAY 18, 2015 | New Yorker | BY TAD FRIEND.

Doug Leone, one of the leaders of Sequoia Capital, by consensus Silicon Valley’s top firm, said, “The biggest outcomes come when you break your previous mental model. The black-swan events of the past forty years—the PC, the router, the Internet, the iPhone—nobody had theses around those. So what’s useful to us is having Dumbo ears.”* A great V.C. keeps his ears pricked for a disturbing story with the elements of a fairy tale. This tale begins in another age (which happens to be the future), and features a lowborn hero who knows a secret from his hardscrabble experience. The hero encounters royalty (the V.C.s) who test him, and he harnesses magic (technology) to prevail. The tale ends in heaping treasure chests for all, borne home on the unicorn’s back....Marc Andreessen is tomorrow’s advance man, routinely laying out “what will happen in the next ten, twenty, thirty years,” as if he were glancing at his Google calendar. He views his acuity as a matter of careful observation and extrapolation, and often invokes William Gibson’s observation “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.”....Andreessen applies a maxim from his friend and intellectual sparring partner Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in LinkedIn and Yelp. When a reputable venture firm leads two consecutive rounds of investment in a company, Andreessen told me, Thiel believes that that is “a screaming buy signal, and the bigger the markup on the last round the more undervalued the company is.” Thiel’s point, which takes a moment to digest, is that, when a company grows extremely rapidly, even its bullish V.C.s, having recently set a relatively low value on the previous round, will be slightly stuck in the past. The faster the growth, the farther behind they’ll be....When a16z began, it didn’t have even an ersatz track record to promote. So Andreessen and Horowitz consulted on tactics with their friend Michael Ovitz, who co-founded the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency, in 1974. Ovitz told me that he’d advised them to distinguish themselves by treating the entrepreneur as a client: “Take the long view of your platform, rather than a transactional one. Call everyone a partner, offer services the others don’t, and help people who aren’t your clients. Disrupt to differentiate by becoming a dream-execution machine.”
Marc_Andreessen  Andreessen_Horowitz  Silicon_Valley  transactional_relationships  venture_capital  vc  Peter_Thiel  long-term  far-sightedness  Sequoia  mindsets  observations  partnerships  listening  insights  Doug_Leone  talent_representation  CAA  mental_models  warning_signs  signals  beforemath  unevenly_distributed  low_value  extrapolations  acuity  professional_service_firms  Michael_Ovitz  execution  William_Gibson 
may 2015 by jerryking
U.S. Scurries to Shore Up Spying on Russia - WSJ
By ADAM ENTOUS, JULIAN E. BARNES and SIOBHAN GORMAN CONNECT
Updated March 24, 2014

There were no Americans on the ground in Crimea to check reports of Russian military movements, U.S. officials say. The U.S. also didn't have drones overhead to gather real-time intelligence, officials say. That increased the U.S.'s reliance on satellite imagery and information gleaned from an analysis of social media, which was muddled by Russian disinformation. State Department officials declined to discuss any technical-intelligence activities.

If Mr. Putin decided to launch a takeover, many U.S. intelligence analysts thought he would use troops participating in the military exercises. Officials now say they underestimated the quality of Russian forces inside Crimea....U.S. military officials also made urgent calls to their counterparts in Russia. Not surprisingly, Russian military officials offered little information. Some of them claimed to be surprised. "It was classic maskirovka," says a senior U.S. official, using the Russian word for camouflage. Spies use the word to describe Moscow's tradition of sophisticated deception tactics.
espionage  surveillance  sigint  Russia  Crimea  imagery  satellites  security_&_intelligence  warning_signs  Vladimir_Putin  disinformation  camouflage  deception  intelligence_analysts 
november 2014 by jerryking
Nokia a lesson for backers of Canada’s nanny state - The Globe and Mail
Oct. 17 2014 | The Globe and Mail | BRIAN LEE CROWLEY.

How did it all go so wrong? And what might Canada learn from Finland’s downfall?

One obvious conclusion is not to put all your eggs in one basket, but it goes well beyond that. There was a time when economic change worked slowly enough that you could get a generation or two’s employment out of an industry before it was overtaken by innovation. Detroit dominated automobile manufacturing for many decades before its own complacency and the innovativeness of European and Asian producers came into play. In a similar vein, Nokia allowed itself to believe in its own infallibility, and Finland meekly followed suit. But the forces of change are now so powerful and lightning fast that sometimes a single product release from a competitor can signal the death knell of a previously healthy company or industry....Canada is rife with industries with their heads stuck in the sand, almost invariably because they believe they can shelter behind a friendly bureaucrat with a rulebook.

Examples abound in fields as diverse as telecoms, dairy, airlines, broadcasting, taxis and transport. Could there have been a bigger farce than the CRTC’s attempt to manhandle online content provider Netflix?...The real lesson of Nokia’s demise was that there is no substitute for being driven by what customers want, which is quality products and service at the lowest possible price...Every deviation from this relentless focus on what customers actually want makes your market a tasty morsel for the disrupters.
concentration_risk  Nokia  Finland  mobile_phones  disruption  Netflix  Uber  CRTC  complacency  accelerated_lifecycles  protectionism  nanny_state  customer_focus  change_agents  Finnish  demand-driven  lessons_learned  automotive_industry  downfall  change  warning_signs  signals  customer-driven  infallibility  overconfidence  hubris  staying_hungry 
october 2014 by jerryking
Is there a low battery warning indicator?
Once your battery is past 3 years - take it out every 6-9 months and take it to any auto parts store and have it LOAD TESTED...this is not checking voltage, it is checking the actual ability of the ba...
automobile  warning_signs  batteries 
september 2014 by jerryking
How to leave your company better off than you found it - The Globe and Mail
VINCE MOLINARO

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Jan. 02 2014

How can you ensure that you are leaving your organization in better shape than when you took the reins? True leaders typically take the following steps:

1. Commit to making things better every single day – in ways that position your organization for both short- and long-term success. Don’t be a bystander and watch problems fester; have the courage to tackle them head on.

2. Guard the interests of the whole organization. Don’t just focus on your own department or self-interests.

3. Try to anticipate threats that can put your organization at risk. Stay plugged into what you hear from customers or employees close to customers. This is often where the early warning signs exist.
4. Build strong relationships both inside and outside your organization.
5. Develop an unyielding commitment to building a strong culture that drives high employee engagement.
6. Develop leaders for the future.
legacies  leadership  RBC  Gord_Nixon  stewardship  companywide  leaders  CEOs  employee_engagement  organizational_culture  leadership_development  relationships  anticipating  threats  thinking_holistically  long-term  short-term  incrementalism  nobystanders  warning_signs 
january 2014 by jerryking
The need for an analytical approach to life
November 3, 2013 | FT.com | By Rebecca Knight.

Risk analysis is not about predicting events; it’s about understanding the probability of possible scenarios, according to Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, professor at the Stanford School of Engineering.
In her latest research, she argues that expressions such as “black swan” and “perfect storm”, which have become journalistic shorthand when describing catastrophes, are just excuses for poor planning. Managers, should “think like engineers” and take a systematic approach to risk analysis. They should figure out how a system works and then identify the probable ways in which it could fail.
So does a black swan event exist?
The only one that I can think of is the Aids epidemic. In the case of a true black swan, you cannot anticipate it.
And what about ‘perfect storms’?
A combination of rare events is often referred to as a perfect storm. I think people underestimate the probability of them because they wrongly assume that the elements of a perfect storm are independent. If something happened in the past – even though it may not have happened at the same time as something else – it is likely to happen again in the future.
Why should managers take an engineering approach to analysing the probability of perfect storms?
Engineering risk analysts think in terms of systems – their functional components and their dependencies. If you’re in charge of risk management for your business, you need to see the interdependencies of any of the risks you’re managing: how the markets that you operate in are interrelated, for example.
You also need imagination. Several bad things can happen at once. Some of these are human errors and once you make a mistake, others are more likely to happen. This is because of the sequence of human error. When something bad happens or you make a mistake, you get distracted which means you’re more likely to make another mistake, which could lead to another bad event. When you make an error, stop and think. Anticipate and protect yourself.
How can you compute the likelihood of human error?
There are lots of ways to use systems analysis to calculate the probability of human error. Human errors are often rooted in the way an organisation is managed: either people are not skilled enough to do their jobs well; they do not have enough information; or they have the wrong incentives. If you’re paid for maximum production you’re going to take risks.
So in the case of a financial company I’d say monitor your traders, and maybe especially those that make a lot of money. There are a lot of ways you can make a lot of money: skill, luck, or through imprudent choices that sooner or later are going to catch up with you.
So you can do risk analysis even without reliable statistics?
We generally do a system-based risk analysis because we do not have reliable statistics. The goal is to look ahead and use the information we have to assess the chances that things might go wrong.
The upshot is that business schools ought to do a better job of teaching MBAs about probability.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“Numbers make intangibles tangible,” said Jonah Lehrer, a journalist and
author of “How We Decide,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). “They
give the illusion of control. [Add "sense of control" to tags]
engineering  sense_of_control  black_swan  warning_signs  9/11  HIV  Aids  business_schools  MBAs  attitudes  interconnections  interdependence  mindsets  Stanford  imagination  systems_thinking  anticipating  probabilities  pretense_of_knowledge  risk-management  thinking_tragically  complexity  catastrophes  shorthand  incentives  quantified_self  multiple_stressors  compounded  human_errors  risks  risk-analysis  synchronicity  cumulative  self-protection  systematic_approaches 
november 2013 by jerryking
Six clues your innovation process is broken
Oct. 20 2013 | - The Globe and Mail | by HARVEY SCHACHTER.

1. Innovation is episodic
2. The process is invented from scratch
3. Resources are held hostage
4. Innovations are force-fitted into existing structures
5. Applying the same criteria to innovation
6. Insisting on the venture meeting its plan
Harvey_Schachter  innovation  warning_signs  strategy  competitive_advantage  shortcomings  problems 
october 2013 by jerryking
How to develop the mind of a strategist Part 1 of 3 - Google Drive
Apr/May 2001|Communication World. Vol. 18,Iss.3; pg. 13, 3 pgs.| by James E Lukaszewski.

Management wants and needs:

Valuable, useful, applicable advice beyond what the boss already knows

Well-timed, truly significant insights (insight is the ability to
distill wisdom and useful conclusions from contrasting, even seemingly
unrelated, information and facts)

Advance warning, plus options for solving, or at least managing, trouble
or opportunity, and the unintended consequences both often bring

Someone who understands the pattern of events and problems

Supporting evidence through the behavior of their peers

To be strategic, ideas must pass four tough tests: They must help the
boss achieve his/her objectives and goals. They must help the
organization achieve its goals. They must be truly necessary (and pass
the straight face and laugh tests). Without acting on the strategy recommended, some aspect of the business will fail or fail to progress.
strategic_thinking  strategy  public_relations  Communicating_&_Connecting  generating_strategic_options  indispensable  JCK  howto  endgame  wisdom  insights  warning_signs  ambiguities  advice  job_opportunities  job_search  actionable_information  pattern_recognition 
september 2013 by jerryking
In Today's Market, Don't Stick Around In a Dead-End Job - WSJ.com
March 3, 1998 | WSJ | By HAL LANCASTER.

What are the signs that it's time to move on to a new phase in your career?

Some are obvious. If you're getting average performance reviews that you honestly feel you don't deserve, miserly raises and no promotions, you've obviously been shifted from the fast track to a rural route.
[Media]

Other signs of career decay: You're not in the major memo-and-meeting loop, positions you aspire to are being filled by outside hires, your opinion isn't sought on major decisions, and important assignments or increases in responsibility are going to others in your group.
Hal_Lancaster  Managing_Your_Career  warning_signs  fast_track 
december 2012 by jerryking
Career-defining moments signal need for change
After September 29, 2000 | Globe & Mail | Barbara Moses

Sometimes it's not after careful analysis but in an epiphany that people realize it's time to move on. It may occur as a result of a major event such as a life-threatening illness, or it may come in the form of a realization that the work we're doing is out of sync with our values or lacks meaning.

"A career-defining moment," Moses writes, "is, typically, a signal that you need to change your course -- or at the very least, sit down and think very carefully about your future." .... Before changing jobs or careers, be sure you aren't acting hastily. "When people believe that the grass is greener elsewhere, the danger is that they will jump jobs or careers prematurely," writes Barbara Moses in "The Good News About Careers: How You'll Be Working in the Next Decade" (Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 1999 -- see our full review of Moses' book ).

"Instead of doing a thorough assessment of both their short-term interests and long-term needs, they move on at the first opportunity, in the belief that all kinds of things will work out in their new job," Moses writes. "Unfortunately, in many cases, they discover that their new job is not a panacea --that in many ways they were actually happier before."

Sometimes one or two irritants with a job become magnified in a person's mind, Moses says. But, she adds, a job doesn't have to be rotten in order for it to be the right time to leave. It may be that it's become so routine that a person needs a new challenge.
Barbara_Moses  Managing_Your_Career  career_paths  warning_signs  change  seminal_moments  career-defining_moments 
december 2012 by jerryking
The ‘new cold war’ is an information war -
Aug. 25 2012 | The Globe and Mail | Anne-Marie Slaughter.
In the many manifestations of the ongoing and growing information war(s), the pro-freedom-of-information forces need a new weapon. A government’s banning of journalists or blocking of news and social-media sites that were previously allowed should be regarded as an early warning sign of a crisis meriting international scrutiny. The presumption should be that governments with nothing to hide have nothing to lose by allowing their citizens and internationally recognized media to report on their actions.

To give this presumption teeth, it should be included in international trade and investment agreements. Imagine if the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and regional development banks suspended financing as soon as a government pulled down an information curtain. Suppose foreign investors wrote contracts providing that the expulsion and banning of foreign journalists or widespread blocking of access to international news sources and social media constituted a sign of political risk sufficient to suspend investor obligations.

Americans say that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Citizens’ access to information is an essential tool to hold governments accountable. Government efforts to manipulate or block information should be presumed to be an abuse of power – one intended to mask many other abuses.
accountability  information_flows  information  journalists  censorship  political_risk  warning_signs  freedom_of_information  information_warfare  IMF  World_Bank  Anne-Marie_Slaughter  presumptions  transparency 
august 2012 by jerryking
Parting Shot - WSJ.com
September 25, 2000 | WSJ | By HAL LANCASTER.
Parting Shot
What's a recession? Perhaps it's time to remember
warning_signs  recessions  anticipating  checklists  overconfidence 
july 2012 by jerryking
How to Tell When A CEO Is Toast: The Early Warnings - WSJ.com
April 18, 2000 | WSJ |By CAROL HYMOWITZ

Here's a short list of telltale warning signals indicating trouble at the top.

TURNING A DEAF EAR to directors: When the CEO of a technology company that had grown considerably during his tenure suddenly faced enormous competition from a faster-growing rival and difficulty absorbing two acquisitions, he ignored a number of suggestions from his board. "We told him to try this, do that, consider this -- and he simply wouldn't listen," fumes a director who did not want to be named. The more the CEO insisted on business as usual and refused to listen to his directors' concerns, the more he lost their trust. "His failure to listen became a warning signal to us" and led to his ouster, the director says.
[Illustration of a CEO with a rocket strapped to the back of his chair]

Similarly, former Coca-Cola KO +0.36% CEO Douglas Ivesterdidn't heed his board's urgings to name a No. 2 executive. And when Coke customers in Belgium and France complained of nausea after drinking Coke products, Mr. Ivester ignored at least one director's advice to go quickly to Belgium and address the situation.

Turning a deaf ear to employees: Mr. Ivester also decided, as part of a management reorganization, that the company's highest-ranking African American, Carl Ware, one of his longtime supporters, would no longer report directly to him -- effectively demoting him. The timing couldn't have been worse since Coke is facing an employee lawsuit alleging discrimination. Mr. Ware announced plans for early retirement, and Mr. Ivester lost more credibility as Coke's leader. He stepped down as CEO at the end of last year. Mr. Ivester couldn't be reached for comment.

Former Delta Air Lines DAL -1.69% CEO Ronald Allenalso was a victim of his own insensitive management style three years ago. Mr. Allen had pulled Delta out of a financial tailspin by slashing costs. But a lot of those cuts represented employee layoffs and he did little to smooth over anxieties. Directors ultimately blamed him for a drop in morale throughout the company. With many executives who reported to Mr. Allen leaving and blue-collar workers considering unionization, Mr. Allen was asked to step down. He declined to comment about the ordeal.

PROMISING TOO MUCH: At toymaker Mattel , MAT +0.59% former CEO Jill Barad madeearnings forecasts to her board and shareholders that the company then failed to meet. "Nobody likes surprises," says Thomas Neff, chairman of the executive recruiter Spencer Stuart's U.S. operations. "The best CEOs beat their forecasts, while the worst thing you can do is be overly optimistic," he adds.

Ms. Barad at times dismissed forecasts made by other executives, insisting to directors that Mattel would do better. She resigned in February, after three years as CEO and a stream of disappointing earnings. She was unavailable for comment.

Misreading expectations: A former CEO ousted from his job with a large financial-services company a few years ago recalls how he thought he was in agreement with his board on a succession plan, only to realize they wanted him gone much sooner, mostly out of fear that he was intentionally dragging his feet. The CEO had formed a search committee for a successor, but was taking his time about recommending candidates. Then, at a board meeting, he was asked to leave the room so directors could confer alone. What he thought would be a 15-minute exchange turned into an hour-long discussion. "That's when I knew something was up," he says. "They wanted to move on succession right away."

Underestimating conflict: Bank One 's ONE +2.80% former CEO John McCoyoversaw numerous acquisitions before he merged his Columbus, Ohio, bank with First Chicago to create a $260 billion powerhouse Midwestern bank. Previous smaller mergers, he says, took about 18 mon
aloofness  blue-collar  Carol_Hymowitz  CEOs  expectations  misinterpretations  misjudgement  overoptimism  overpromising  signals  surprises  tailspins  underestimation  unionization  warning_signs 
june 2012 by jerryking
Sales Spurt, Growing Pains Leave Karaoke Maker Singing the Blues - WSJ.com
July 29, 2003 | WSJ | By JEFF BAILEY - Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

Singing Machine Co., a Coconut Creek, Fla., maker of karaoke machines. But rather than celebrating its success, these days the executives at Singing Machine are scrambling to avoid insolvency. The company's experience is a warning to all entrepreneurs about the dangers of rapid growth. Outside auditors last month noted that a default on a borrowing agreement "raises substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

"It's a classic business-school case of growing pains," says Y.P. Chan, 39 years old and recently named Singing Machine's chief operating officer.

Every year, thousands of smaller companies go belly up because entrepreneurs aren't prepared to manage rapid growth. Accustomed to scratching for every sale, when the throttle is finally thrown wide open, too many assume it is clear sailing and fail to ask some important questions.
[chart]

Are your finances solid enough to support a bigger company, or are you counting on lush profits to do it? If you load up on inventory to satisfy demand, how will you survive if prices plunge? Look around -- does management have experience running a bigger enterprise? Look at your competitors -- are they bigger and likely to weather tough times better? Or are they also small companies that might get overextended and slash prices to stay afloat?
small_business  growth  bankruptcies  warning_signs  insolvency  contingency_planning  hard_times  high-growth  inventories  risk-management  overextended 
may 2012 by jerryking
Informed Patient - WSJ.com
OCTOBER 31, 2007 | WSJ | By LAURA LANDRO.

Talking Points: Making the Most Of Doctor Visits

* What going on? What ails you? What else could it be?
* Could two things be going on at once?" and "Are there any findings (from the physical exam, blood tests, x rays, etc.) that don't add up?"
* Is that the root problem or is that a symptom?

* Probabilistic reasoning is especially important in medical decision-making. Imagine, for example, your doctor tells you that you need to take a cholesterol-lowering drug. Most people would likely assent based on their physician’s recommendation, he says. But if you were to weigh the odds of that drug having a positive effect against the odds of experiencing side effects, you might find it wiser to decide otherwise.

“What I advocate is a more active role in medical care where you would say to the doctor, ‘Well, what are the chances that I’ll benefit from it? How many people take this medication with no benefit?’” Levitin says. Although doctors tend to be trained to think in terms of diagnosing and treating illnesses, they are not typically trained to think probabilistically, he adds. This becomes problematic when faced with the latest treatment options with questionable odds of a cure. “The way medical care is going in this country and in other countries, I think we need to become more proactive about knowing which questions to ask and working through the answers.”

Questions when you're concerned that you're facing a misdiagnosis (cbc Dr. Danielle Martin)
* OK....then in your opinion, what should be the normal progression of the diseases from this point onwards?
* What signs should we look for that tell us that it's time to return to the emergency room?
* Q: when should we come back.....if the flu how should case typically progress ? What are the signs that something is wrong and you should come back to the emergency room?
* what is the most likely course, when should we come back if there is a deviation?
*
medical  appointments  visits  Communicating_&_Connecting  tips  advice  Laura_Landro  doctors  doctor's_visits  questions  root_cause  symptoms  probabilities  simultaneity  investigative_workups  multiple_stressors  dual-consciousness  medical_communication  misdiagnosis  warning_signs 
november 2011 by jerryking
Dealers: We Want a Heads-Up
Jun 2008 | Ward's Dealer Business.Vol. 42, Iss. 6; pg. 56 | by Steve Finlay.
automotive_industry  dealerships  warning_signs  finance 
december 2009 by jerryking
The "Warning" Czar?
Oct. 17, 2009 | - Adam Smith, Esq.| by Bruce MacEwen. The US
has a "national intelligence official for warning", Kenneth Knight, who
oversees a staff of a half-dozen analysts whose job is to monitor the
rest of the intelligence community, challenging their analyses and
assumptions. The goal is to to avoid surprise. One of Knight's core
insights is the difference between what he calls the "simple
likelihood-of-the-event versus impact-of-the-event calculation." Knight
thinks you can systematize this type of analysis by being understand
and being beware of the cognitive biases of experts; by training; and by
creating an institutional check--a warning staff or Red Team. Beware
analytical frameworks--know their limitations.
Bruce_MacEwen  strategic_thinking  security_&_intelligence  systematic_approaches  contrarians  risk-management  counterintuitive  red_teams  anticipating  biases  surprises  warning_signs  devil’s_advocates  frequency_and_severity  intelligence_analysts 
october 2009 by jerryking
Power Points - The Globe and Mail
June 1, 2009 The Globe & Mail | by Harvey Schachter. Five before 11; GPS, point me to lunch

GPS, point me to lunch

GPS devices are increasingly common for salespeople and other mobile workers. Technology writer Marc Saltzman notes that they can be loaded with "points of interest" data, which can help find a restaurant with Thai food or vegetarian cuisine when the client you are taking for lunch indicates a preference, or a gas station when the tank is running low. Inc.com

Leading indicators of distress

These days, the most entrenched companies can plunge into financial distress with dizzying speed. Your strategic planning, therefore, should now include monitoring the performance of suppliers, customers and competitors. Leading indicators of distress include delinquent accounts payable, downgraded debt ratings, large share price declines, late inventory deliveries and lower quality goods. The McKinsey Quarterly
dashboards  distress  financial_distress  GPS  Harvey_Schachter  indicators  leading_indicators  McKinsey  POI  ratios  warning_signs 
june 2009 by jerryking
OTPP - Top Ten Financial Red Flags
February 11, 2005 Top Ten Financial Red Flags by Claude
Lamoureux, President and Chief Executive Officer, at The Conference
Board of Canada, 2005 Corporate Governance Conference.
tips  financial  boards_&_directors_&_governance  warning_signs  red_flags 
february 2009 by jerryking
Can you spot a bad manager?
02-11-2008 column by Harvey Schachter relaying 10 ways that
serial entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan says she spots the incompetents.
If a manager displays any one of these behaviours, it should ring a
warning bell and more than two means you should sound the alarm.

(1) Bias against actions. There are always many reasons not to take a decision. Real leaders display a constant bias for action while the incompetents wait for more information, more options and more opinions.
(2) Secrecy.
(3) Oversensitivity.
(4) Love of procedure.
(5) Preference for weak candidates.
(6) Focus on small tasks.
(7) Allergy to deadlines.
(8) Inability to hire former employees/colleagues.
(9) Addiction to consultants.
(10) Long hours. Bad managers work long hours.
=====================================================
LEADERSHIP: WESTERN WORKPLACE CULTURE REWARDS COWBOYS

Rebels and gamblers prosper in Western society - if they're male. In the TalentSmart newsletter, Nick Tasler notes the firm's emotional intelligence studies measure impulsivity: People who tend to make quick decisions and pay less attention to the consequences of their actions - in Wild West parlance, they "shoot first and apologize later."
====================================================
MARKETING: HOW TO COUNTER THE RECESSION MINDSET

By the time a recession is declared, we're already deep into it, so now is the time to counter the recession mindset that may be gripping your customers. ...in downturns customers want answers not information; the familiar, not something new; universal truths; direction; substance, not style; a limited set of choices; and time until it passes. Focus on the features and benefits of your product that promote saving, are necessary, and offer value. Prepare to make deals, but in a way that retains the value of your product and service. Remember that overwhelmed people are not interested in more information but want structure and clear direction on where to put their limited resources. Provide reassurance and context by talking about your firm's longevity.
====================================================
Reconfirm appointments one business day in advance. If you can avoid a last-minute cancellation, you gain back time that would be wasted travelling and waiting.
====================================================
The ten most powerful two-letter words in the English vocabulary are: If it is to be, it is up to me.
====================================================
economic_downturn  Harvey_Schachter  howto  incompetence  It's_up_to_me  leadership  leading_indicators  longevity  managing_people  mindsets  overwhelmed  recessions  warning_signs 
january 2009 by jerryking
globeandmail.com - Corporate survival: Be ready to chart a new course when industry winds blow
Oct. 1, 2007 G&M column by Harvey Schachter on Anita
McGahan's suggestions on how to interpret the signals of industry
change.

Determine whether your core activities or core assets are threatened - or both. Core activities are those actions that have historically generated profits for the industry, such as owning dealerships in the auto industry, which is less significant in an Internet era. Core assets are the resources, knowledge, and brand capital that have made the organization unique, like blockbuster drugs in the pharmaceutical industry.

(1) Radical Change.our core activities and core assets are both threatened with obsolescence. This is similar to the concept of disruptive change outlined by Harvard's Clayton Christensen in his writings.

(2) Intermediating Change. Core activities are threatened while core assets retain their strength. Sotheby's, for example, remains top notch at assessing works of art but because of technology eBay can challenge on the matchmaking side of the business.

(3) Creative Change. Core assets are under threat but core activities remain stable, as in pharmaceuticals or oil and gas exploration, where relationships with customers and suppliers are fairly steady but assets turn over constantly. Innovation occurs in fits and starts.

(4) Progressive Change. Both core assets and core activities are stable, but significant change still threatens, as in discount retailing, long-haul trucking, and commercial airlines.
assets  Clayton_Christensen  Harvey_Schachter  strategy  industries  structural_change  preparation  readiness  warning_signs  howto  interpretation  core_businesses  obsolescence  taxonomy  change  pivots 
january 2009 by jerryking

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