Critical Thinking

24
Mar

How Does This Place Make Money? Part Two

In the last post, I illustrated the value of asking the question, “How does this place make money?” But exactly how can you do that without breaking the bank or disrupting normal business function? The strategies I’m going to recommend are remarkably simple and can be accomplished with a smart-phone and a bit of money spent on editing and design.

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16
Mar

How Does This Place Make Money? Part One

That’s the question I have challenged employers to ask their people for years. Sadly, most people can’t provide an answer that demonstrates they really understand the business model of the firm for which they work. Generally, they’ll say something like, “We sell software,” or “We deliver stuff to restaurants.” If you ask them to drill down on that and provide

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3
Mar

Getting to Neutral

“Often, I lie in wait in meetings, like a hunter looking for his prey, ready to spring out at the first moment of silence. My gun is loaded with preestablished thoughts. I take aim and fire, the context irrelevant, my bullet and its release are all that matter to me.” William Isaacs, Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together –

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29
Oct

The Final Word on Multitasking

The debate about whether multitasking improves performance has been going on for more than a decade. Those on one side, maintain that their ability to do two, three, or even four things at once gives them an edge on the day. Those on the other side, argue that focusing on one task at a time produces a better outcome for

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28
Aug

Fill Out Your Own Forms First!

Have you ever become frustrated while completing a form? You might have thought, “What on earth do they mean?” or “I can’t imagine why they need that information,” or “Didn’t they ask that before?” Sadly, too many people fail to place themselves in the position of those who will complete the forms they design. As a result, they alienate customers,

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22
Jul

Overcoming the Tyranny of Choice

We’ve all become spoiled by the number of choices we have. Supermarkets offer more than 60,000 consumer goods in all sizes and shapes. Searching on-line generates thousands of links for even the most obscure topic or item. Artificial intelligence anticipates the words we want to use in a text, the products we want to buy and provides instant directions if

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14
Jun

What Achievers Do to Improve Their Listening

Franklin Roosevelt became convinced that people were so excited to meet him in person that they didn’t pay attention to what he actually said. So, he tried an experiment. As he greeted people during a White House reception, he smiled and told each of them quietly, “I murdered my grandmother yesterday afternoon.” As he suspected, everyone in line responded with

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31
Oct

Do You Really Need a Rule for That?

One of the joys of my job is interviewing a wide diversity of people every year. They generally range from CEOs to front-liners. While you might think senior people would provide the best insights, there are times when someone who doesn’t know how to filter their comments says something that strikes at the heart of an issue. Such was the

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21
Aug

Customer Utensils? It’s Not on the Checklist

I frequent a particular fast-food chain because I like their salads. But I’ve noticed a little detail that can be annoying, yet easily fixed. That’s the issue of placing plastic utensils in the to-go orders. Twice in the past three visits, I have forgotten to grab a fork before leaving the store. In both cases I’ve ended up someplace and

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7
Aug

Don’t Fix the Cat’s Leg

Deanna is my hair stylist. She is a sweet twenty-something who sometimes overshares as she gives me a trim. Last week, she and another colleague were going back and forth about how to raise $4000. Ask friends? Create a go-fund-me campaign? Beg your parents for a loan? My curiosity got the better of me and asked what the $4000 was

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