Archive | June, 2011

Beginning a New Series: Axioms

29 Jun

In a recent series of seminars with a group of people, most of whom were engineers, we fell into a discussion of axioms that seem fall into the category of “managing people and organizations.”

An axiom is a statement or idea that people accept as self-evidently true.  Deming called this “profound wisdom.” Interestingly most of these have some empirical or philosophical basis of support.  Over the next few weeks let’s look at some of these:

•The Peter Principle

•Parkinson’s Law

•The Law of Unintended Consequences

•Occam’s Razor

•Murphy’s Law

•The Pareto Principle

If you have any others, please let me know and I will discuss them.

Beyond Luck is now an e-book on Amazon.  At $6.95 it’s a great deal and it look marvelous on an iPad.


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Say-Do Paradox Winner

22 Jun

David Salazar Says:

I think the say/do concept is a great concept. It reminds me of Bushido, the Japanese code of conduct meaning “way of the warrior”. One of the codes in Bushido is honor. In our class, we talked about respect, but I believe honor is also a great characteristic of a leader. In my studies of Bushido, I learned that a samurai never had to promise to do something. If he said he would do it, it would be done. This is the very nature of the say/do concept.

On the other hand, instead of the say/do concept, what about just the do concept? The say/do concept is great in theory but there is no relationship to the time in between the actual “say” and “do”. How many times have we all said we were going to do the dishes but did not really intend on doing them any time soon. My father taught me that actions speak louder than words. I think the do concept also has merit in that our actions define us.

David Salazar of KJWW Engineering wins a copy of Beyond Luck with the above incisive comment.  Thank you, David.

Comm Series #16: The Information Continuum

15 Jun

From tacit knowledge to executive wisdom.

A workable empirical definition of wisdom is: the application of tacit knowledge in pursuing the common good. The common good is a term that can refer to several different concepts. In the popular meaning, the common good describes a specific good that is shared and beneficial for all (or most) members of a given community. Based on this definition, it is reasonable to project that the common good in executive wisdom is focused on the organization and the larger community that the organization exists within.

The central difference between wisdom and executive wisdom is that executive wisdom comes with considerable power.  In general effective executives must be largely strategic in their outlook.  They need to cultivate:

• a high level of understanding of the context the organization functions within

• an ability to comprehend how every decision cascades throughout an organization and will have both positive and negative consequences

• an awareness of the law of unintended consequences

• a keen perception of who the key stakeholders are, what each values and will fight to preserve.

This understanding then needs to be coupled with an ability to understand and use both formal and informal power.

The Say Do Paradox: A communication challenge contest

8 Jun

Recently I have been spending some time with a group that consists mostly of engineers.  Of course, we have been discussing the say/do ratio.  One of them pointed out rightly that from a mathematical perspective the say-do ratio is incorrect, that it is in fact the do-say ratio.  Aaaa – paradox.

Mathematically it is the do/say ratio for in fact the denominator is say.  A person with a perfect relationship between say and do, always doing what she says she will do, will have a ratio of 1.00.

But, from a longitudinal and grammatical perspective it is the say/do ratio as this is the order in which the events occur.

Anyone of you out there who can come up with a way to resolve this communication conflict, in a manner I find compelling, I will sent a postage paid copy of Beyond Luck. The contest ends on June 22.  Let the cleverness begin.  Please post your entries.

By the way, another paradox.  The say/do or do/say ratio is not an exhaustive set.  There is another powerful option: the “do only ratio” (?).  Consider the effect of actions, positive or negative, that are not accompanied by words.  Interesting, eh?

Sorry about missing last week, I seem to have misplaced a day.