Handpicked: We Can’t Read Minds, We Forgive Ourselves, And What Might Happen When we Lose Words

This post is late following my distraction by the Brexit vote on Friday.

So here is my post on what I was reading or listening to last week.


Book am I reading (Non Fiction)

 

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People Skills by Robert Bolton.

More from this book recommended at the end of the Secrets of Consulting by Gerry Weinberg.

One image, prompted by a similar diagram in the book, keeps coming to mind as I think about what I have read. Below is my own version.  I have seen similar diagrams before.

Continue reading “Handpicked: We Can’t Read Minds, We Forgive Ourselves, And What Might Happen When we Lose Words”

Who Should Make The Decisions?

I missed Fridays posting deadline as I watched the Brexit vote come in. I couldn’t focus enough to write. The change in the status quo, in what I know, and in the unexpected result left me anxious. I couldn’t get into the right state of mind to write.

The next few weeks, months, and possibly years will be plagued with a degree of uncertainty because of this outcome. Mostly as a result of  the size of the economy, its relevance in the western world, and whether it triggers similar movements elsewhere in Europe. Sentiment drives markets more than fact, so fun times ahead.

However, the Brexit vote is a real-time, at scale, live example of a topic that interests me, decision making.

Continue reading “Who Should Make The Decisions?”

Handpicked: My Week of Learning

Here is my weekly post on what I have been reading or listening to.


Book am I reading (Non Fiction)

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The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right by Atul Gawande.

I finished this book on the weekend. It is a great read.

I reviewed the book and made more detailed observations in this post.

Favourite Highlight from the week?

“The fear people have about the idea of adherence to protocol is rigidity. They imagine mindless automatons, heads down in a checklist, incapable of looking out their windshield and coping with the real world in front of them. But what you find, when a checklist is well made, is exactly the opposite. The checklist gets the dumb stuff out of the way, the routines your brain shouldn’t have to occupy itself with (Are the elevator controls set? Did the patient get her antibiotics on time? Did the managers sell all their shares? Is everyone on the same page here?), and lets it rise above to focus on the hard stuff (Where should we land [the aeroplane]?).”

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People Skills by Robert Bolton.

This book was recommended at the end of the Secrets of Consulting by Gerry Weinberg.

I am enjoying it. I can definitely learn from it. It is about communication and understanding. It is in many ways about perception. When I read the third quote below I knew this book was for me.

So far the book has discussed barriers to communication. The things we do consciously or not that get in the way of effective communication. There are twelve barriers he mentions, many of which are surprising.

I will break with my protocol and add a quote here form the book which is worth contemplating. This is a quote within a quote at the start of Chapter Two.

“A barrier to communication is something that keeps meanings from meeting. Meaning barriers exist between all people, making communication much more difficult than most people seem to realize. – Reuel Howe, theolgian and educator”

Continue reading “Handpicked: My Week of Learning”

Book Review – The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

41kbppigf7lI finished reading the Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande on the weekend. What a read!

It has been surprising on many fronts. And I have known the premise of this book for a couple of years.

Where to start?

My favourite aspect of the book is that the answer is mentioned right up front. It is in the title. At the end of the first chapter, he tells you what he is arguing for.

As I read the last sentence of the chapter I admit I was thinking “Is that all?”.

“What is he going to write about for the next 200 pages if he has given the game away?” Continue reading “Book Review – The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right”

Handpicked: My Week of Learning

Here is my weekly post on what I have been reading or listening to.


Book am I reading (Non Fiction)

41kbppigf7lThe Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right by Atul Gawande.

This book has been on my reading list for a while. A project I am on at the moment brought it to the fore again. How often do we over engineer a solution?

I have referred to checklists often in the last few years. I  have used them effectively in the past. Particularly with repetitive tasks.

Why would you want to figure out a set of steps again if you have done once before? Unnecessary effort, and you might miss a step.

The checklist also aids learning. Remembering what worked before and what didn’t. It helps make sure the same mistakes don’t happen again.

Checklists come in many different guises, from a task list, to standard operating procedures, to run books, and sometimes as far as a project plan.

More to come on this book .

Favourite Highlight from the week?

“Four generations after the first aviation checklists went into use, a lesson is emerging: checklists seem able to defend anyone, even the experienced, against failure in many more tasks than we realized. They provide a kind of cognitive net. They catch mental flaws inherent in all of us—flaws of memory and attention and thoroughness. And because they do, they raise wide, unexpected possibilities.”


Podcasts I Heard

Hidden Brain on NPR: How To Build A Better Job

“Why do you work? Are you just in it for the money or do you do it for a greater purpose? Popular wisdom says your answer depends on what your job is. But psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski at Yale University finds it may have more to do with how we think about our work. Across groups such as secretaries and custodians and computer programmers, Wrzesniewski finds people about equally split in whether they say they have a “job,” a “career” or a “calling.” This week on Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam talks with Wrzesniewski about how we find meaning and purpose at work.”

Continue reading “Handpicked: My Week of Learning”

What did YOU do?

It started to rain. I knew a book-store close by so headed for it to wait for the shower to pass. I visit this store fairly often and knew the shelves I wanted. On one side philosophy and psychology, and on the other business books.

One book caught my eye. The name of the book had been on my mind recently, and I had seen a short video interview with the author.

I picked the book up and opened on a random chapter.

I started to read.

I kept reading.

I bought the book.

Continue reading “What did YOU do?”

What Are You Leaving Out?

It feels like I am back at school. I have drawn a few set diagrams (Venn diagrams) recently. So perhaps not surprising the following images came to me while listening to the new podcast from NPR called Code Switch.

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These diagrams are so simple and powerful. As soon as I see them I start asking questions about why the lines were drawn where they were. The boundaries fascinate me.

But why this particular diagram? Why did this one pop into my head? Continue reading “What Are You Leaving Out?”

Handpicked: My Week of Learning

This is the start of a weekly post on what I have been reading or listening to over the week.


Book am I reading?

Secrets of Consulting by Gerald Weinberg.

Favourite Highlight?

“In the end, the most important part of overcoming resistance is to prevent it from becoming frozen in place. That’s why I must always avoid “resisting the resistance.” I may win the argument, but I may also place the clients in a position where changing their mind is a form of “losing.” The risk of losing face in the here-and-now always seems bigger than the risk of losing a million dollars in the there-and-then.”

There is little to gain by ‘scoring points’. The aim should be to keep dialogue open if you are going to be effective. If you experience resistance, acknowledge it, listen. If you push too hard you may make it too hard for change to happen.


Podcasts I Listened To

I listen to podcasts on the way into work, when I walk at lunch, on the way home, when I cook, basically when ever I can. Here is a selection of the episodes I listened to that are worth mentioning. Continue reading “Handpicked: My Week of Learning”

Can You Learn from Your Own and Others Resistance?

What do you do when you feel offended by a comment or resist a point of view?

Have you ever paid attention to that feeling and asked why?

In her interview with  Tim Ferriss  on his podcast, Tim asks Whitney Cummings  what question she would ask of his audience.

Her first response is ‘Watch Comedy. It’s good for you.” (2:29:26)

Tim then says he will dig on that for a second. He asks what some new to comedy should pay attention to or asks themselves if they want to see another layer.

Whitney says “Look at what Offends you.” (2:30:00)

She continues “If something offends you; Watch Richard Pryor, watch Daniel Tosh, watch the most incendiary comedians, Bill Burr, maybe Louis CK …”.

“If something offends you, look inward. That’s a sign that there is something there. What offends someone says a lot about them.”

That question has stuck with me ever since.

Pay attention to that feeling of offence. That feeling is telling you something about yourself. About your own views and values. 

Similarly, someone else’s offence, or resistance, tells you something about them and what they value.

Continue reading “Can You Learn from Your Own and Others Resistance?”

What Can You Learn From Watching a Five Year Old Play Soccer?

My son started school this year. As he turned five our weeks started to fill with sporting commitments. In particular for us hockey (the field/grass/artificial turf kind) and soccer.

Every time I watch one of his games of either hockey or soccer I am reminded of this post Business Strategy and Kindergarten Soccer by Nick Malik

On the Inside Architecture blog for Microsoft, Nick writes the following back in July 2011:

It is interesting to watch very young kids play soccer, because the instructions are so simple: kick the ball into the goal.  With instructions like that, what do you get?  Bumblebees, of course.

Continue reading “What Can You Learn From Watching a Five Year Old Play Soccer?”