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Eight Alerts Help Us Anticipate Problems

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Why Problems Occur

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Why Problems OccurPeople tend to solve problems within the constraints of their strengths and preferences, thus IT professionals are likely to see IT solutions, sales professionals sales solutions and so forth. This happens with whole teams, whole business cultures. Analytical cultures will likely require more […]

Attack Statistics, Solve Problems

If you don’t like the rules, change them. The article, “Boundary Problems” [The Economist, August 3, 2013 edition], reports that the United States “has changed the way it measures GDP.” More importantly, the article summarizes the history and depth of this statistic’s arbitrary nature. The questions it poses serve as a problem-solving primer on attacking […]

Writer’s Block Breakthrough, Two Techniques

As with the common cold, writer’s block infects many, attacking writers of every ilk, from creative to business to technical. Fear and comfortableness are the two overarching causes. All writing has a creative component, otherwise it’s plagiarism. Fear intimidates creativity and comfort sedates it. “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” [~Picasso].Thus, […]

Why Problems Occur (Alert #4): Known over Unknown

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Why Problems Occur

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Why Problems Occur The fourth alert I heed as a warning problems might occur is when the known prevails over the unknown. I first experienced this when a board president said, “We cannot deal with problems that we are unaware of,” totally discounting prevention. For […]

Change Management Strategy #4: Change Jobs, Reduce Tenure

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Change Management Strategy

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Change Management StrategyAs we acquire knowledge and experience, we tend to become wedded to the status quo. Tenure compounds this effect as Xueming Luo, Vamsi Kanuri, and Michelle Andrews report in their article, “Long CEO Tenure Can Hurt Performance” (Harvard Business Review, March 2013 edition). […]

Predictability as Hell: A Problem-solving Perspective

Businesses strive for predictability. Standardization helps them achieve that. Still, many employees like their jobs for their variability, “It’s something different every day.” Herein is a paradox. On one hand, we have predictability containing expenses by minimizing surprises. On the other hand, work’s variability gives us pleasure. Could predictability make us wealthy but miserable too? […]

Problem-solving Technique: Argue the Opposing View

When I was on the debate and student congress team in high school, practice would often entail arguing an opposing view. Often I would find arguments I had not considered and holes in my own that I hadn’t discovered. The main “AhHa!” point was just how much I missed by being comfortable in my own […]

Beauty as Power (Pt 5): Defense Mechanisms

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Beauty as Power

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Beauty as PowerWe often hear about the jealousies women have for other women who they feel are attractive. While it’s easy to discount this as pettiness, there are business implications when it comes to appraising and hiring talent. For example, the March 31, 2012 edition […]

How Much Does a Kilogram Weigh?

  We often view measurements as unchangeable. A meter is a meter, a pound a pound. We often forget that at some time someone somewhere declared what those were and that they would be a standard. The point is this: arbitrariness underlies almost all objective standards by which we live. For example, in the January […]

Relationship Building Technique #5: Encouragement

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Relationship Building Technique

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Relationship Building TechniqueWe often don’t learn the value of listening techniques in building relationships. Consequently, people might not realize we are listening; this needs to occur in relationship building. Encouragement directs the other person to elaborate on a point. It’s similar to an acknowledgement except […]