Over at Medium I’ve posted the amazing story of my double cardiac arrest and rescue in an article entitled, “To Die and Live in L.A.“
Apologies for the radio silence…it’s been a while since my last post. LOTS of stuff has been happening: putting finishing touches on my new book, the cover of which I absolutely love; the holidays; a bit of overcommitting to new and exciting client projects; and, oh yeh, had a heart attack. Two, really. I basically died on a mountain bike ride — twice really, I flatlined twice — then came back to tell about it (which I will in the future…it’s a cool story).
So, not so much excuses as a composite explanation.
Yes, I’ve been quiet lately. And I will continue to be so for the next few months as I pour the lion’s share of my writing energy into finishing a new book on deadline.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to share through social media (Twitter, FB, LI, G+) the most compelling items I’ve read each day, and probably do a super-curated weekly roundup, and if time permits, a bit of commentary.
This week’s reads include:
It came together fast. Perhaps too fast. The proposal and contract for a new book, that is. It took all of a couple weeks to go from a 1-page concept to signed contract.
Most authors would rejoice at that kind of speed, and indeed I did. The problem was that under ordinary circumstances, the publisher would take a year to get the book out. Crazy, right?
So I said, “No way. It’s gotta be a Spring release. May/June, latest.” My editor said, “Ok. We need the script November 1.”
Careful what you wish for…it was September 16. That gave me all of about 45 days to write a book, of which I had written less than half of what would eventually become the Introduction.
I started developing a visual tool for team facilitation of strategy development over two years ago, after I learned the Playing to Win framework from Roger Martin. I’ve always liked using good old paper and Post-Its, ever since I learned what was affectionately referred to as “the big paper process” when I was working with Toyota many years ago.
After dozens of iterations I’ve finally settled on a format that people find simple, fun, and effective. And for a limited time, I’m going to make it available free under a Creative Commons License, which essentially means you can use and tweak it providing you include attribution, and don’t try to monetize it in any way.
A few days ago, as I was waiting for an item I purchased in my local Apple store to be brought out to me from the back of the store, I had the opportunity to observe Apple’s frontline strategy be played out in front of me. It revolved around another floor associate assisting a gentleman considering the purchase of an Apple watch.
Now, you might be thinking, what possible strategy would or could an Apple associate on the floor really need? Apple devices sell themselves, right? Wrong. Especially in the case of the Apple watch, which was a strategic product choice seemingly unrelated Apple’s core business. Many pundits questioned Apple’s decision. For many, it was a head scratcher.
It takes a special kind of person to be inspired by a mandate riddled with risk and having little margin for error, such as the one issued in the early 1990s by NASA to its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California: “Take risks but don’t fail.”
Such a person is Brian Muirhead, who at age 41 in 1993 accepted the job as flight systems manager of the Mars Pathfinder project and with it the NASA challenge to land a cutting-edge, remote-controlled robotic all-terrain rover on Mars that would reliably beam back images, collect samples, and return scientific data on the red planet.
Process improvers the world over rally around root cause analysis as if it were the Holy Grail of all things organizational. But is it?
Understanding the root cause of a problem certainly makes sense in the context of a present day situation carrying the potential for a correct answer or solution. In the process improvement world, problems center on reducing some form of excess, which comes in several traditional flavors…all of which center on something not working as well as it should be in a perfect world.
But the one critical place in business where root cause analysis has no real place is in strategy formulation.