Clarity vs. Certainty

March 31, 2011

**By Lolly Daskal  Article

“Great leaders recognize that clarity of vision is more important than certainty of the outcome.” Lolly Daskal in Blog

Accepting false limits

March 31, 2011

**By Seth Godin   Article

“I will never be able to dunk a basketball. This is beyond discussion. Imagine, though, a co-worker who says, “I’ll never be able to use a knife and fork. No, I have to use my hands.” Or a colleague who says, “I can’t possibly learn Chinese. I’m not smart enough.” This is a mystery to me. A billion people have learned Chinese, and the failure rate for new kids is close to zero. If a well functioning adult puts in sufficient time and the effort, she”ll succeed.

The key to this disconnect is the unspoken part about time and effort and fear. I agree that you will never ship that product or close that sale or invent that device unless you put in the time and put in the effort and overcome the fear. But I don’t accept for a minute that there’s some sort of natural limit on your ability to do just about anything that involves creating and selling ideas. …

Not sure if you’ll forgive me, but no, I’m not going to believe that only a few people are permitted to be gatekeepers or creators or generous leaders. I have no intention of apologizing for believing in people, for insisting that we all use this moment and these assets to create some art and improve the world around us. To do anything less than that is a crime.” – Article

What Is A Brand?

March 31, 2011

**By Derrick Daye   Article

“I recently had a conversation with a retired CEO who fancied himself a savvy marketer.  He was recounting how he had participated in a rebranding project for a not-for-profit organization on whose board he served.  He was very proud of this work and went on to tell me how they had carefully chosen the symbol to represent the brand in its logo. When I asked him what his brand’s unique point of difference was, he indicated that it was the unique symbol featured in the logo. When I asked him why people would choose the brand over its competition, he wasn’t sure how to answer. When I asked him what the brand’s promise was, again he wasn’t sure how to answer.

With my constant immersion in branding, I sometimes forget that some people still think that a brand is a logo or an ad campaign and nothing more, even some people who should know better.” – Article


March 31, 2011


A year’s worth of work would smash into the ground

March 31, 2011

**By Aza Raskin   Article

“1959 was a time of change. … a British industry magnate by the name of Henry Kremer wondered: Could an airplane fly powered only by the pilot’s body? … He offered the staggering sum of £50,000 for the first person to build a human-powered plane that could fly a figure eight around two markers set a half-mile apart. Also, he offered £100,000 for the first person to fly across the English Channel. In modern U.S. dollars, that’s the equivalent of $1.3 million and $2.5 million. The Kremer Prize was the X-Prize of its day.

A decade went by. Dozens of teams tried and failed to build an airplane that could meet the requirements. It looked impossible. … Paul MacCready, decided to get involved. … MacCready’s insight was that everyone who was working on solving human-powered flight would spend upwards of a year building an airplane on conjecture and theory without a base of knowledge based on empirical tests. Triumphantly, they would complete their plane and wheel it out for a test flight. Minutes later, a year’s worth of work would smash into the ground. …

He came up with a new problem that he set out to solve: How can you build a plane that could be rebuilt in hours, not months? And he did. He built a plane with Mylar, aluminum tubing, and wire. The first airplane didn’t work. It was too flimsy. But, because the problem he set out to solve was creating a plane he could fix in hours, he was able to quickly iterate. Sometimes he would fly three or four different planes in a single day. The rebuild, re-test, and re-learn cycle went from months and years to hours and days.

…  Half a year later later, MacCready’s Gossamer Condor flew 2,172 meters to win the prize. A little more than a year after that, the Gossamer Albatross flew across the English Channel. So what’s the lesson? When you are solving a difficult problem, re-frame the problem so that your solution helps you learn faster. Find a faster way to fail, recover, and try again.” – Article

How much can I get away with?

March 31, 2011

**By Seth Godin  Source

“There are two ways to parse that question.

The usual way is, “How little can I do and not get caught?” Variations include, “Can we do less service? Cut our costs? Put less cereal in the box? Charge more?” In short: “How little can I get away with?”

The other way, the more effective way: “How much can we afford to give away? How much service can we pile on top of what we’re selling without seeming like we’re out of our minds? How big a portion can we give and still stay in business? How fast can we get this order filled?”

In an era in which the middle is rapidly emptying out, both edges are competitive. Hint: The overdelivery edge is an easier place to make a name for yourself.” – Article

Project management: The grenade

March 30, 2011

**By PM Hut   Article

“Over the years, I’ve watched three different approaches PMs have used to deliver bad news:

  1. The Grenade – This is where the messenger walks into a crowded room (typically full of executives), delivers the bad news with all of its horrendous consequences without any warning, and then leaves. This is totally unacceptable, ineffective and not sustainable…primarily for the PM’s career.
  2. The Silent Treatment – This is where the messenger chooses NOT to deliver the message. The reasoning may be that they feel the problem will resolve itself, or they don’t want to deal with the subsequent activity necessary to resolve the situation. This approach is not recommended.
  3. The Trial Balloon – This has been the most effective method I’ve seen used. The messenger meets with a couple of stakeholders at a time, laying out the facts of the situation with a “let me pass something by you” approach. This allows for additional options to be considered, further information to be introduced (for example, more resources may be available that the PM did not know were available) and crafting of the final message to occur prior to introducing it to the entire group. The result is that the messenger doesn’t stand alone, multiple options have been considered, and the bad news is not sensationalized.”