July 25, 2011
By Jamer Hunt Article
Among Six Types Of Failure, Only A Few Help You Innovate
“Fail early and fail often. I use that phrase over and over again in teaching the design process. Borrowed from the world of computer programming, it expresses the urgency of getting iterations out into the world early in the process so that they can be tested, debugged, redesigned, and refined. The sooner in the process one does it, the more likely one can bake meaningful adjustments into the final product. To me, this is a golden rule of design.
… in order to better distinguish these conflicting kinds of failure, we need a failure spectrum — from devastating to productive — that allows us to differentiate among these different modalities. And like the Eskimo’s many words for snow, each type of failure conveys slightly different qualities and characteristics, helping to shed light on what exactly we mean when we say something fails.
This is the really dark one. It marks you and you may not ever fully recover from it. People lose their lives, jobs, respect, or livelihoods. Examples: British Petroleum’s Gulf oil spill; mortgage-backed securities.
It cuts — deeply — but it doesn’t permanently cripple your identity or enterprise. Examples: Apple iPhone 4’s antenna; Windows Vista.
Going out in a botched but beautiful blaze of glory — catastrophic but exhilarating. Example: Jamaican bobsled team.
Everyday instances of screwing up that are not too difficult to recover from. The apology was invented for this category. Examples: oversleeping and missing a meeting at work; forgetting to pick up your kids from school; overcooking the tuna.
Small failures that lead to incremental but meaningful improvements over time. Examples: Linux operating system; evolution.
Failure as an essential part of a process that allows you to see what it is you really need to do more clearly because of the shortcomings. Example: the prototype — only by creating imperfect early versions of it can you learn what’s necessary to refine it.”
July 25, 2011
By Geoffrey James Article
“On paper, that’s a compelling business case. However, in the long run, offshoring to the lowest bidder may be profoundly stupid. Here’s why.
- REASON #1: You can lose control of your intellectual property. In the parts of the world where outsourcing is cheapest, there is often little or no respect for corporate secrets. Patents are often unenforceable, and many companies discover copycat processes and products, soon after they’ve deployed there.
- REASON #2: It can result in low quality, brand-damaging products. Many firms that provide outsourcing quickly cut the quality of component parts in order to increase their margins. Eventually customers who believe your brand promise notice that your once-great products are now cheap and crappy.
- REASON #3: You may be supporting slave labor and child labor. Outsourcing agreements often involve an entire supply chain that may involve labor practices which, if publicized in the United States, could destroy your company’s reputation. How do you think they can supply things so cheap?
- REASON #4: You might create massive environmental degradation. One reason it’s cheaper to manufacture abroad is that the companies there are often cutting costs by simply dumping their toxic chemicals. Someday, somebody will get stuck with the clean-up bill; it could be your firm.
- REASON #5: You may not get access to local markets. The Chinese, in particular, are famous for giving lip service to free trade, but setting up a regulatory environment that favors local firms. Many companies have deployed there hoping to see new sales, but instead seen them go to imitators (see REASON #1).
- REASON #6: You may be empowering political thugs. Make no mistake about it: communist countries are run by thugs who suppress dissent, shoot protestors, lay claim to border areas that don’t belong to them, and support other, worse thugs. Do you really want your brand name associated with that? ….”
July 25, 2011
By Barry Ritholtz Article
“Some context: In my day job, I come into contact with very high-net-worth individuals. These include young technologists with modest portfolios to families that measure their wealth in nine and 10 figures. For the math-averse, that’s hundreds of millions to billions of dollars. Over the years, I have had some fascinating conversations with people who have hospitals and graduate schools named after them. I’d like to share some of the things I have learned from these folks. …
2. Don’t become “cash rich” and “time poor.”
Devoting all of your waking hours to making money is a problem, especially in professions with a partnership fast track. Lawyers, doctors, bankers and accountants can get so caught up in the competitive nature of their jobs that they lose touch with their family. Any semblance of a normal personal life disappears, and a very unhealthy balance between work and home can develop.
Work is the process of exchanging your time for money. Remember: What you do with your time is far more meaningful than the goods you accumulate with your money. If you are working so much to become rich but you ignore your spouse and miss seeing your kids grow up, you are actually poorer than you realize. …
6. You must live in the here and now.
Goals are important, but don’t miss out on what is happening today. This is especially true among entrepreneurs, corporate execs and Type A personalities. Do not let dreams of that mansion on a hill prevent you from enjoying the home you live in.
This is an area that can easily veer into cliche. Rather than risk that, I’ll simply remind you of what John Lennon sang in “Beautiful Boy”: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ….”
July 25, 2011
By Dan Rockwell Article
“Some leaders are born; most are made. Long-term, powerful influence is never an accident; it’s always intentional. Experience and research indicates these 22 principles and behaviors dramatically increase leadership-influence.
- Extend honor rather than demanding respect.
- Dream bigger for others than they dream for themselves.
- Serve others – they don’t serve you.
- Build confidence by spotlighting successes.
- Provide opportunities in new contexts. A series of small wins magnifies potential.
- Focus on next levels more than perfecting current skills.
- Struggles strengthen; don’t solve stresses for others – solve stresses with others.
- Give authority.
- Embrace high standards.
- Expect accountability.
- Listen to and occasionally speak into fears.
- Lift them to the point where they lift others.
- Question, occasionally suggest, always encourage, sometimes confront.
- Align correction with their values and vision not yours.
- Don’t pressure them; they will pressure themselves.
- Let them point out their own weaknesses. When they assess their weaknesses accurately, agree. Don’t soften the sting.
- Humbly share your failures.
- Ask permission before correcting.
- Use language that expresses their values.
- Focus on practice more than theory. Solve a problem.
- Be honest but not adversarial.
- Always come back to purpose. ”Why” is the central component of “what”.”
July 25, 2011
By Michael Schrage Article
Do You Think Your Customers Are Stupid?
“Paying close attention to customer complaints is a leadership “best practice.” Here’s a better practice: Pay even closer attention to people’s complaints about customers. Few things say more about organizational culture and character than how employees complain about the customers and clients they serve.
Put aside hypocritical tropes and truisms that “The Customer is King” and “The Customer is Always Right.” When frustrated and on deadline, your people rarely talk about their most challenging and/or most important customers that way. What employees say — and how they say it — when the going gets tough speaks volumes. So listen up.
Respectful criticism and critique should always be welcome. But all too frequently there’s condescension and contempt. The “smartest” and ablest experts in knowledge-intensive industries sometimes appear quickest to mock their customers’ perceived ignorance and incompetence. This behavior isn’t cathartic; it’s corrosive. …
While firing employees who mock or badmouth their clients would send an unambiguous signal about what should be a core corporate value, this merely ducks the real leadership challenge. What does healthy criticism and constructive efforts to rehabilitate difficult clients look like? How are you facilitating client critiques that don’t simply allow frustrations to vent but encourage proactive solutions to emerge? …
Some customers and clients really are too stupid and self-destructive for words. But they shouldn’t be allowed to become cesspools of complaints. They should be fired. Are your people’s complaints about their customers a source of innovation and inspiration? Or do they signal something disturbing and unhealthy about your organization’s culture? I’d like to see your complaints.”
July 18, 2011
From Epic Living Blog Source
“The road of life includes processes and events. Many prefer the events, and that’s a problem. Events are not the enemy, it’s the over-attraction to them that creates the pitfall. But it’s understandable why we prefer that moment of elation, since events gives us immediate stimulation that we want and maybe crave. Nobody talks a lot about processes because it tends to require faith, imagination and vision. Did I mention that it can feel like drudgery.
One of the my best experiences in the process and event arena has been my marriage. It began with a big event, the ceremony. Great joy and happiness. The future seemed unbelievably bright. And then she had to face the reality of living with me (humor is important here). That event was 20 years-plus ago. We’re still happily together because of the process, and not the event. Ironic how the thing that feels like work produces the happiness we so desperately desire.
Certainly there is no substitute for knowing what you’re doing is a fit. Be it in your career, your money, your learning, etc. But once that’s been settled, you’ve got to embrace the process”