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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
Confronting anxiety in the age of fear
Jo Ellison 16 HOURS AGO.

Fear is terribly boring. I suppose in modern jargon it could be called anxiety. But I prefer the old fashioned neurotic. I conjure fear from any source — electric kettles, exploding champagne corks, unattended bags . . . At night I consider unmentionable catastrophes and my preparedness to survive them. (Top tip: talking to a disaster relief engineer as to what to do in the event of Armageddon, she said to fill the bath tub. Safe potable water will be the key to one’s survival.)......Olivia Remes, an American PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, is the glamorous face of anxiety research.....While Remes acknowledges that some degree of anxiety can make us more productive, because it equips us to meet deadlines and complete tasks, she says excessive worry will always be debilitating because it paralyses our progress. We stop going out. We limit our lives.

The first step to recovery, she says, is to “do it badly”. Doing whatever it is that frightens you, she argues, will “catapult” you to action and help you realise that your fear may not be as bad as you think. Whatever else, it will only get better with practice. Anxiety, she adds, is largely the byproduct of perfectionism, whereby people stop doing things because they hold their own personal standards too high....loosen the grip. Because only by letting go of the things over which you have no control can you gain control over the things that really matter — namely, your mental health.
anxiety  fear  sense_of_control  earthquakes  randomness  perfectionism  survival_techniques  letting_go  mental_health  what_really_matters 
april 2018 by jerryking
Getting smarter, knowing less
March 16, 2018 | FT | by Robert Armstrong.

The point is that for me, and perhaps most people, the main barrier to being smart is not what we do not know. It is the masses of things we know and mistakenly believe to be relevant.

My wife and I have been thinking about the next stage of our kids’ education. Being central-casting middle-class professional types, we hired an educational consultant to talk us through a range of state schools. She provided briefings about each school, crammed with facts about test scores, teacher turnover, class sizes, and so on.

Feeling slightly dizzy, I asked which bits I should pay attention to. She responded — with glorious honesty for someone being paid by the hour — that there was only one piece of information that really mattered: how many students are late or absent on a regular basis. If a school is the kind of place where almost everybody shows up and shows up on time, then it is the kind of place where kids and teachers can achieve a lot together. The rest is noise.

That comment made me smarter, not because it was a surprising revelation but because it allowed me to clear a lot of junk out of my head — and avoid putting a lot more junk into it. What we all need is the cognitive equivalent of decluttering guru Marie Kondo, who can help us to go into our own heads and throw out all the beliefs that have outlived their usefulness.
decluttering  problem_framing  signals  noise  information_overload  questions  smart_people  incisiveness  education  schools  pretense_of_knowledge  pay_attention  what_really_matters  work_smarter 
march 2018 by jerryking
Tornado-Ravaged Hospital Took Storm-Smart Approach During Rebuild - Risk & Compliance Journal.
Aug 30, 2017 | WSJ | By Ben DiPietro.

...................“Preparation for what these events can be–and belief they can actually happen–is important so you make sure you are preparing for them,” ....trying to undertake whatever is your organizational mission in the midst of a tornado or other devastating event is much harder, given the high emotions and stress that manifests itself at such moments.

“Understand the possibilities and pre-planning will make that go a lot better,”

===============================
As Hurricane Harvey has shown, extreme weather events can devastate a region’s infrastructure. Hospital operator Mercy had its own experience of this in 2011 when a tornado ripped through Joplin, Mo., killing 161 people and destroying its hospital.

Hospital operator Mercy took the lessons it learned from that tornado experience and incorporated them into the design of the new hospital–and also changed the way it plans and prepares for disasters. The new facility reflects a careful risk assessment, as Mercy took into account not only the physical risk of tornadoes but the risks to power supplies and medical supplies.

“We always prepare, always have drills for emergencies, but you never quite can prepare for losing an entire campus,” ....“Now we are preparing for that…it definitely changed the way we look at emergency management.”

** Protecting What Matters Most **
Mercy took the lessons it learned from that devastating weather event and applied them when it was time to build its latest hospital, which was constructed in a way to better withstand tornadoes while providing more secure systems infrastructure and adding backup systems to ensure operations continued unimpeded, ......Even the way medical supplies were stored was changed; instead of storing supplies in the basement, where they were inaccessible in the immediate aftermath of the tornado, they now are kept on each floor so staff don’t need to go hunting around for things they need during an emergency.....“The first priority is to save lives, the second is to minimize damage to the facility,”

** Focus on the Worst **
many companies worry about low-severity, high-frequency events–those things that happen a lot. They instead need to focus more on high-severity events that can cause a company to impair its resilience. “....identify and work on a worst-case scenario and make sure it is understood and the company is financially prepared for it,”

work with its key vendors and suppliers to know what each will do in the face of a disaster or unexpected disruption. “...large companies [should] know their key vendors prior to any major incidents,” ...“Vendors become partners at that time and you need to know people will do what you need them to do.”

A company needs to assess what is most important to its operations, map who their vendors are in those areas and engage them in various loss scenarios .... It should review its insurance policy language against possible weather events, identify any gaps and either revise policies to fill those holes or to at least make sure executives understand what the risks are of leaving those gaps unattended.
==================================
See also :
What to Do Before Disaster Strikes - WSJ.com ☑
September 27, 2005 | WSJ | By GEORGE ANDERS.
start by cataloging what could go wrong. GM, for example, has created "vulnerability maps" that identify more than 100 hazards, ranging from wind damage to embezzlement. Such maps make it easier for managers to focus on areas of greatest risk or gravest peril.
low_probability  disasters  Hurricane_Harvey  extreme_weather_events  hospitals  tornadoes  design  rebuilding  preparation  emergencies  lessons_learned  worst-case  natural_calamities  anticipating  insurance  vulnerabilities  large_companies  redundancies  business-continuity  thinking_tragically  high-risk  risk-management  isolation  compounded  network_risk  black_swan  beforemath  frequency_and_severity  resilience  improbables  George_Anders  hazards  disaster_preparedness  what_really_matters 
september 2017 by jerryking
Bloomberg Businessweek
See the connections others don't make. Hear the buzz before it starts. Navigate the currents they don't follow. Know the plays ahead of the game. Know what matters and why (secrets, discernment).
quotes  connecting_the_dots  ahead_of_the_curve  sophisticated  discernment  secrets  what_really_matters 
august 2017 by jerryking
For workers, challenge is all to easily ducked
July 2017 | Financial Times | Tim Harford

Cal Newport: Deep Work
Robert Twiggs : Micromastery

The modern knowledge worker — a programmer, a lawyer, a newspaper columnist — might appear inoculated from Adam Smith’s concern. We face not monotony but the temptations of endless variety, with the entire internet just a click away. All too easily, we can be pulled into the cycle of what slot-machine designers call a “ludic loop”, repeating the same actions again and again. Check email. Check Facebook. Check Instagram. Check Twitter. Check email. Repeat....what is a ludic loop but “performing a few simple operations, of which the effects, too, are perhaps always the same”?

Smith was concerned about jobs that provided no mental challenge: if problems or surprises never arose, then a worker “has no occasion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention, in . . . removing difficulties which never occur.”

For the modern knowledge worker, the problem is not that the work lacks challenge, but that the challenge is easily ducked. This point is powerfully made by computer scientist Cal Newport in his book Deep Work. Work that matters is often difficult. It can be absorbing in mid-flow and satisfying in retrospect, but it is intimidating and headache-inducing and full of false starts.

[Responding to ] Email is easier. And reading Newport’s book I realised that email posed a double temptation: not only is it an instant release from a hard task, but it even seems like work. Being an email ninja looks professional and seems professional — but all too often, it is displacement activity for the work that really matters.

A curious echo of Smith’s warning comes in Robert Twigger’s new book Micromastery. Mr Twigger sings the praises of mastering one small skill at a time: not how to cook, but how to make the perfect omelette; not how to build a log cabin, but how to chop a log. We go deep — as Newport demands — but these sharp spikes of skill are satisfying, not too hard to acquire and a path to true expertise.

They also provide variety. “Simply growing up in the premodern period guaranteed a polymathic background,” writes Twigger. To prosper in the premodern era required many different skills; a smart person would be able to see a problem from many angles. A craft-based, practical upbringing means creative thinking comes naturally. “It is only as we surge towards greater specialisation and mechanisation that we begin to talk about creativity and innovation.”

Three lessons:
(1) learning matters. Smith wanted schooling for all; Twigger urges us to keep schooling ourselves. Both are right.
(2) serious work requires real effort, and it can be tempting to duck that effort. Having the freedom to avoid strenuous thinking is a privilege I am glad to have — but I am happier when I don’t abuse that freedom. [Mavity says: “If you need to produce an idea, isolating yourself can be enormously beneficial.”......“How you do that in a big open-plan office with 100 other people trying to be creative at the same time?.......Solitude is in hopelessly short supply at a time when companies are captivated by the financial allure of the open-plan office and its evil twin, hot-desking. ]
(3) old-fashioned craft offered us something special. To Smith it was the challenge that came from solving unpredictable problems. To Twigger it is the variety of having to do many small things well. To Newport, it is the flow that comes from deep immersion in a skill that requires mastery. Perhaps all three mean the same thing.

Smith realised that the coming industrial age threatened these special joys of work. The post-industrial age threatens them too, in a rather different way. ....“The understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments,” wrote Smith. So whether at work or at play, let us take care that we employ ourselves wisely.
Adam_Smith  books  busywork  Cal_Newport  distractions  expertise  GTD  hard_work  industrial_age  knowledge_workers  lessons_learned  productivity  polymaths  premodern  procrastination  skills  solitude  thinking_deliberatively  Tim_Harford  what_really_matters 
august 2017 by jerryking
‘Being Mortal’ Explores the Benefits of Setting Goals for Death - NYTimes.com
OCT. 6, 2014 | NYT |By ABIGAIL ZUGER, M.D.

Being Mortal
Medicine and What Matters in the End.
By Atul Gawande, M.D.
Metropolitan Books. 282 pages. $26. Credit Alessandra Montalto/The New York Times

Another is the author’s palpable enthusiasm as he learns that many of the most difficult conversations doctors should have with their patients can be initiated with only a few questions. (What are your fears? Your hopes? The trade-offs you will and will not make?) One suspects a new checklist may be in the offing.
Atul_Gawande  books  book_reviews  stressful  conversations  end-of-life  tradeoffs  questions  medical_communication  difficult_conversations  checklists  what_really_matters 
october 2014 by jerryking
Staying Focused
December 2013 | Harvard Business Review | by Adi Ignatius.

In “The Focused Leader” Daniel Goleman posits that a primary task for leaders is to “direct attention” toward what matters—so it’s imperative that they stay focused themselves. Building on neuroscience research, he argues that “focus” isn’t about filtering out distractions as much as it is about cultivating awareness of what truly matters. The executive’s goal should be to develop three things: an inward focus, a focus on others, and a focus on the wider world. The first two help to build emotional intelligence, while the third can help in devising strategy, innovating, and managing.
attention  distractions  editorials  emotional_intelligence  filtering  focus  HBR  incisiveness  inward-looking  leaders  people_skills  self-awareness  serving_others  strategy  the_big_picture  think_threes  what_really_matters 
december 2013 by jerryking
Faced With Overload, a Need to Find Focus
May 17, 2013,|NYT |By TONY SCHWARTZ

Here’s a radical proposal: Don’t check your e-mail at all tomorrow morning. Turn it off entirely. Instead, devote a designated period of uninterrupted time to a task that really matters.

For more than a decade, the most significant ritual in my work life has been to take on the most important task of the day as my first activity, for 90 minutes, without interruption, followed by a renewal break. I do so because mornings are when I have the highest energy and the fewest distractions.

I’m doing it right now, but in all honesty, it’s gotten tougher in the last several years. My attention feels under siege, like yours probably does.
focus  work_habits  information_overload  self-discipline  discipline  personal_energy  willpower  what_really_matters  self-regulation 
june 2013 by jerryking
How Japan Lost Its Electronics Crown - WSJ.com
August 15, 2012 | WSJ | By DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI.
How Japan Lost Its Electronics Crown
Sony, Sharp and Panasonic Fixated on Hardware Breakthroughs; 'Sometimes, It's Easier to Run From Behind'

over the past 20 years for Japan's once-world-dominant electronics firms. Japanese companies have beaten rivals to the market with hardware breakthroughs—from flat-panel televisions to advanced mobile phones.

But in each case, foreign rivals have cashed in by delivering faster improvements, integrating the products with easy-to-use software and online services, and delivering a smarter marketing message....Now, Japan's device makers are an afterthought to Apple Inc., AAPL +0.27% Google Inc. GOOG +1.31% and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE +1.51%

Japan's current weakness is rooted in its traditional strength: a fixation with "monozukuri," or the art of making things, focused on hardware advances.

This concept, a source of national pride, pushed Japan's electronics firms to strive for products that were often the world's thinnest, smallest, or delivered other incremental improvement—while losing sight of factors that really mattered to people such as design and ease of use.

In the case of the e-reader, Sony was focused on selling devices, while Amazon was focused on selling books. As a result, the Kindle was more in tune with the raison d'être for purchasing the device: to buy and read books.

"Even though the first device definitely pointed the way to the future, it's a market that got away from Sony," said Mr. Gartenberg, research director at Gartner Inc. "Others have far more successfully capitalized."
Japan  consumer_electronics  e-books  Sony  Sharp  Panasonic  Toshiba  Samsung  e-readers  what_really_matters 
august 2012 by jerryking
Do Your Commitments Match Your Convictions?
January 2005 | HBR | By Donald N. Sull & Dominic Houlder
The Idea in Brief
How many of us struggle harder every day to uphold obligations to our bosses, families, and communities--even as the quality of our lives erodes? And how many of us feel too overwhelmed to examine the causes of this dilemma? For most people, it takes a crisis--illness, divorce, death of a loved one, business failure--before we'll
refocus our commitments of money, time, and energy on what really matters to us. But why wait for a crisis? Instead, use a systematic process to periodically clarify your convictions and assess
whether you're putting your money (and time and energy) where your mouth is. Identify high-priority values that are receiving insufficient resources--or outdated commitments that are siphoning precious resources away from your deepest convictions.
Once you've spotted gaps between what matters most to you and how you're investing your resources, use a time-out (a sabbatical, course, or retreat) to rethink old commitments and define new
ones more consistent with your values. By routinely applying this process, you--not your past obligations--will determine the direction your life takes.

The Idea in Practice
To manage the gap between your convictions and commitments, apply the following steps.
Inventory Your Values
List the things that matter most to you, in specific language. For example, instead of "Money," write,
"Providing financial security to my family," or "Earning enough to retire early." Aim for five to ten
values, and write what you honestly value--not what you think you should value.
Assess How You're Investing Your Resources
Track how much money, time, and energy you're devoting to your values. For each value you've
listed, record the following:
• Percentage of your household income you devote to that value
- 2 -
• Number of hours per week you spend on the value
• Quality of energy (high, low) you devote to activities related to that value. (An hour spent on an
activity when you're fresh and focused represents a greater commitment than an hour spent when
you're exhausted and distracted.)
Identify Gaps Between Your Values and Commitments
Do some values on your list receive little or none of your money, time, and energy? Is there a single
value that sucks a disproportionate share of your resources away from other priorities?
Understand What Has Caused the Gaps
Disconnects between what you value and how you actually spend your time can have several
causes. Perhaps you've taken on obligations without considering the long-term ramifications. One
successful entrepreneur in New York had promised to spend more time with her London-based
partner. But when she decided to sell her start-up to a West Coast competitor through a five-year
earn-out deal, she had to move to San Francisco to run the business. She now spends even more
time airborne--torn between two conflicting commitments she made simultaneously.
Or maybe you've let others define "success" for you. One young banker earned colleagues' praise
for his extreme work ethic. When he became a father, he wanted to spend more time with his family,
which baffled his colleagues. Because he badly desired continued praise from colleagues, he
continued his workaholic ways--and effectively gave his colleagues the power to set his priorities.
Change Course
It's harder to recalibrate commitments when you're not facing a crisis. A time-out--a sabbatical,
course, or other device--can help you reflect and give you an excuse to break old commitments and
forge new ones. To avoid "commitment creep," abandon or renegotiate one old commitment for every
new one you make.
HBR  Managing_Your_Career  Donald_Sull  values  JCK  indispensable  disproportionality  sabbaticals  slack_time  reflections  overwhelmed  financial_security  timeouts  what_really_matters 
march 2012 by jerryking
The new masters of the universe - Bain & Company - Publications
July 27, 2005 | The Wall Street Journal | By Hugh MacArthur and Dan Haas.

Blueprint the path to value:
Hire hungry managers:
Measure what matters:
Make equity sweat:
private_equity  KKR  Bain  metrics  investment_thesis  measurements  value_creation  blueprints  what_really_matters 
november 2011 by jerryking
What You Need to Succeed - Thomas Stemberg - Highland Capital Partners
By Thomas Stemberg | Jan 1, 2007

business plans are interesting chiefly as indications of how an entrepreneur thinks. Here at Highland Capital Partners, the venture capital firm I'm part of now, we spend most of our time talking about what really matters: management and market. If you have the right management team and an exciting market, the rest will take care of itself. I suspected that was true before I came here--it had always been true for me. Now I know it for a fact.

(1) The right people: Folks who have been there and done (something like) that.
(2) The right market: Preferably, it involves an absolute mob scene.
(3) The right answers: Sometimes you need an outside perspective.
Staples  entrepreneur  business_planning  venture_capital  Lululemon  Highland_Capital  fresh_eyes  large_markets  outsiders  the_right_people  what_really_matters 
november 2011 by jerryking
All I ever needed to know about change management - - Organization - Change Management
MAY 1997 | McKinsey Quarterly | ROGER DICKHOUT offers 5 basic
premises to help clients design organizational change programs—ideas
Dickout considers as natural laws:
(1) the law of constituent balance--change driven by an imbalance
between a company’s stakeholders: shareholders, employees, customers,
communities, & mgmt.
(2) the law of leverage. Max. the return on effort by changing those
things that will produce the greatest results/really matter.
(3) the law of momentum. Liberate the energy to drive the change. Change
is work. Work requires energy. That energy can be introduced from
outside—e.g. pressure from shareholders or new mgmt.—or the system’s own
potential energy can be transformed into kinetic energy.
(4) the law of feedback and adjustment. Learn how your organization
responds to change, and adjust the program accordingly. N.B.Change may
itself create opportunity.
(5) the law of leadership.Leadership is the scarce resource and
ultimately, the catalyst of change.
McKinsey  change_management  organizational_change  leadership  feedback  leverage  OPMA  momentum  constituencies  adjustments  return_on_effort  imbalances  what_really_matters 
april 2011 by jerryking
What Matters Now
December 14, 2009 | blogs.hbr.org. "What Matters Now" is the
work of more than 60 people with big ideas and something to say. It will
inspire you to make some changes in 2010, and to keep doing work that
matters. What better way for business thinkers to celebrate the holiday
season than with the gift of great ideas? As the year 2009 — as
difficult, divisive, worrisome, and hopeful a year since, well, 2008 —
draws to a close, my friend Seth Godin, the innovator, writer, and
blogger extraordinaire, has persuaded 70 other innovators, writers, and
bloggers to participate in a project he calls What Matters Now.
inspiration  Seth_Godin  writing  ideas  blog  what_really_matters 
february 2010 by jerryking
How to be wise before the event
March 9 2009 | Financial Times | By Stefan Stern.

Restraint is back in fashion in these recessionary times. People have lost their appetite for risk.

But hang on a minute. No risk will mean no reward. You need new markets and customers to grow, and that means taking steps into the unknown. I doubt that anyone will be suggesting, in this newspaper’s new series of articles on the future of capitalism, that risk-taking should be abolished.

Bad risk-management helped get us into the current mess. It is vital that we learn the right lessons about risk from the crisis. What are they?

The new edition of Harvard Business Review contains a lucid piece of analysis from René Stulz, professor of banking and monetary economics at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. While his principal focus is on the financial sector, the diagnosis will be helpful to managers in any business or organisation.

Prof Stulz describes six ways in which risk has been mismanaged. First, there has been too much reliance on historical data among today’s decision-makers. Extrapolating from the past can provide, at best, only partial guidance for the future. Financial innovation has created a new world. No wonder some managers were unprepared for the calamitous fall in asset prices and demand. This collapse was unimaginable to anyone basing their thinking on post-war performance alone.

Second, narrow daily measures – in banking these are known as “value at risk” measures – have underestimated the risks that are being run. The assumption behind a daily measure of risk is that action can be taken quickly (through an asset sale) to remove that risk. But, as the current crisis has shown, such rapid moves become impossible when markets seize up.

Third, knowable risks have been overlooked. Managers who work in silos may appreciate the risks that they personally are exposed to. But they may not see how risks being run elsewhere in the business could affect them too. Someone – a chief risk officer? – needs to track them all.

Fourth, concealed risks have been overlooked. Incentives have proved to be particularly dangerous in this regard. Some traders and lenders may have enjoyed taking risky decisions that in the short term appeared to be delivering well for them and their organisations. But they had no incentive to report any downside risk. And unreported risks tend to expand.

Fifth, there has been a failure to communicate effectively. It is dangerous, Prof Stulz says, when risk managers are so expert in their field that they lose the ability to explain in simple terms what they are doing. The board may develop a false sense of security by failing to appreciate the complexity of the risks being managed.

Last, risks have not been managed in real time. Organisations have to be able to monitor fast-changing markets and where necessary respond to them without delay.

Prof Stulz offers a useful technical analysis. But a true understanding of risk also requires a maturity of outlook, an ability to see the big picture, and deep experience. This last is a rare commodity: impossible to fake and acquired only over time.

In a new McKinsey publication called What Matters, the 90-year-old investment manager and author Peter Bernstein offers some sober insights. “What is risk management all about anyway?” he writes. “We use the words as though everybody understands what we are talking about. But life is not that simple. Risk means more things can happen than will happen – which is a fancy way of saying we do not know what is going to happen.”

Mr Bernstein’s central point – not revolutionary, but unarguable – is that downside risks must be assessed rigorously. Someone old enough to remember the Wall Street crash is probably worth listening to right now.[JCK: elder wisdom]

“Nothing is 100 per cent sure,” Mr Bernstein says. “While a 95 per cent probability is statistically significant, that still leaves us in the dark about the remaining 5 per cent; we may decide to accept that uncertainty and bet on the 95 per cent sure thing, but there is still a possibility of being wrong.

“The crucial question to ask is, ‘What would be the consequence if that 5 per cent chance comes to pass?’ ”

Welcome to the less exciting but more soundly based era of calculated risks. For the foreseeable future, business leaders will be trying to be wise before rather than after the event.
beforemath  business  communicating_risks  downside_risks  elder_wisdom  false_sense_of_security  fast-changing  hidden  management  McKinsey  overreliance  Peter_Bernstein  recessions  real-time  risks  risk-assessment  risk-management  Stefan_Stern  the_big_picture  VaR  what_really_matters  wisdom  historical_data 
may 2009 by jerryking
Succession Planning Is Over-Rated
November 5, 2007 blog post in Adam Smith on

Few individuals are likely to possess all the characteristics sought by
Wall Street institutions or law firms.

As for what matters most, I defer to Dennis Weatherstone, former
chairman of J.P. Morgan, who is given the last word in the Journal
article: Granted, he says, "the number of candidates for these
positions is somewhat limited" and experience is "always valuable." But
he sees the key in something else: It's more important, he avers, to
find a CEO who can "anticipate change." And maybe the one best able to
anticipate change is one who has less of a vested interest in the status
quo. Just a thought.
succession  talent_management  leadership  law_firms  anticipating  CEOs  Bruce_MacEwen  status_quo  experience  industry_experience  change  overrated  what_really_matters 
april 2009 by jerryking

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