April 20, 2014

It’s just a half glass of water.

glass of water
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The old question, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” draws the line between optimists and pessimists. Deciding if the glass is half empty or half full, however, is more about seeing the future, or believing that you can, than it is about seeing what’s right in front of you.

Why must the glass be on its way to gaining or losing? [Read more]

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“Discipline, effort, patience and courage”

patience...it's a virtue... by melodyofrosepatience...it's a virtue... by melodyofrose
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Thanks to StumbleUpon, I came across on article on Psychology Today entitled “What to Tell Kids After Failures and Mistakes.” The Author, Salmansohn, describes some recent research conducted by Dr. Carol Dweck, who advocates an “Incremental theory” of learning.

Incremental Theorists believe that success is achieved through putting in the necessary hard work. According to Dr. Dweck, a big key to a successful life is to embrace being an “Incremental Theorist” – so when failure or disappointments occur, you are ready to overcome them.

This quote from the article is powerful: “Discipline, effort, patience and courage are hugely important core values for kids to grow up embracing.”

They are also hugely important core values for adults to maintain, too. [Read more]

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The value of delayed decisions

decisions by mihaibrrr
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Most conversations about improvement revolve around finding ways to speed things up. Whether by focusing on the elimination of unnecessary activities, doing less more often, reducing clutter, training the mind to avoid multitasking, or any other approach to speeding up decision making the prevailing message is clear: do things faster.

The desire to do things faster necessitates making decisions faster, of course. Process improvement schools of thought are, essentially, designed to speed up decision making to one degree or another. Last year, I came across Frank Partnoy’s Wait, however, which advocated something different – slowing things down. [Read more]

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Stump the Chump, and the Steve Jobs Paradox?

Paradox
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I was asked a question that – as I put it, “Stumped the Chump.” One gentleman asked, in response to the portions of my presentation that focused on the Respect for People foundation of Lean and, in particular, the Shingo model, how I would characterize Steve Jobs and Apple’s success, given that Jobs was a well-known egomaniac and had a reputation for being quite stern and non-compromising.

it has stuck with me for the past couple of weeks, as I felt the need to contemplate the question a bit further. What I may have come to realize, is that there is something of a Paradox involved when a true visionary ascends to the position of influence within an organization.
[Read more]

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How to keep your organization full of brilliant, brand new, and really old ideas

Bright Ideas
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It is clear and obvious that people, no matter their positions or titles, or their professional backgrounds or formal eductions, are thinkers. They will observe the things that make their lives more difficult and endeavor to find ways to reduce the difficulty or eliminate it entirely. If the perception is that the difficulty is due to some failure of high-positioned people to adequately guide the organization, then there will be ideas generated around how to improve those strategic and operational problems. These are the discussions that fill the cafeterias, breakrooms, hallways and after-hours hangouts.

What you will often find, however, is that many of the ideas discussed in these conversations – even among the high-ranking decision makers with authority to move and change the organization as a whole, is that the ideas are, usually, nothing new. [Read more]

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The paradoxical inefficiency of thought

Imagination
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In order to attain high levels of ingenuity in products and activities, the environment in which those ideas are created must support an endless ocean of thoughts that yield very little value, in the hopes that, eventually, a single very good one will be produced. Generating ideas is an inefficient process, even if those ideas are generated around improving efficiency. [Read more]

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The difference between learning and understanding

Learning the basics
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Learning is a fairly linear phenomenon. You examine a decision, look at the outcome, and determine the causal chain. It is incredibly useful, as well as simple and straightforward. This is, usually, the manner in which we educate others and ourselves. Do this and get that.

Learning is about seeing things only for the result they provide. Understanding, however, necessitaties examining the context of a decision and the basis for the process in the first place. Whereas learning is forward-thinking (do-this-get-that), understanding is backward looking (do-this-because-of-that) and, therefore, understanding is an essential component of the “Know Why” paradigm. [Read more]

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Harness the contrarians – and facilitate their emergence

Loudmouth
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Being contrary is often perceived as not quite fitting in or downright argumentative. Even if these folks are the thought leaders and innovators within the organization, there demeanor often inhibits progress or acceptance of their ideas. The value of their ideas should never be discounted simply because they were expressed poorly, however.

As usual, the problem is one of leadership and coaching. The role of true leaders is to find these innovators and enable them to see their ideas come to fruition. [Read more]

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Great ideas are often found in quiet places.

introversion
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Being a participant can be hard for introverts, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t keenly aware of what’s going on around them. In fact, they may have quietly contemplated the perfect solution. Unfortunately, since they tend to shy away from the spotlight or simply don’t enjoy working in groups, or perhaps aren’t the sort to step into the leadership role, their good ideas never get heard, or are ignored in favor of lesser ideas expressed by more outgoing & charismatic people.

Insightful introverts, however, have a remarkable characteristic that many extroverts don’t always show – they quietly do what they believe is the right thing to do, without prompting, and without an expectation of reward. [Read more]

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Understanding why: Developing Critical Thinking in kids

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When faced with information that contradicts our understanding of the way things are supposed to be, we revert back to what we already know, claiming disbelief in the rightness of what we’re seeing and failing to examine the situation in order to develop a new understanding. We are told to follow the rules, even if we don’t understand them, and we insist on following the rules even when it is pointed out that those rules were based on false assumptions. [Read more]

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