Mindset Not Market Failure

In an article on Harvard Business Review Blog, titled U.S. Companies Versus the U.S. Economy, Thomas Kochan (of MIT Sloan School of Management) argues the disconnect between U.S. companies and the U.S. economy is the result of market failure.  While the management of each business corporation makes decisions believing the unit of survival is the independent business enterprise, this doesn’t mean there aren’t other socio-economic consequences of these decisions.   These consequences impact the very collection of people to which business leaders believe they have no connection or responsibility, yet upon which they so much depend. Continue reading

Rethinking a Fixed System

Is the system broken?  No, not at all!  It is fixed just as desired.

 

Our economic system has no (explicit) concern for ‘we’ in its design, it is all about ‘me’ getting what I can for ‘myself’—it is best labeled an egoistic economic system.  The pursuit of material self-interest is the guiding principle for all action. Continue reading

A Wake Up Call

The fact that Wall Street and other corporate executives are not only allowed but helped in gaining so much from the general public while they generally thumb their nose at the general public is not the problem, though it is symptomatic of a serious problem.  The fact that more and more people continue to lose so much ground is not the problem, though it is symptomatic of a serious problem.  The fact that our elected officials (the representatives of the people of society) are not just emissaries but employees of those contributing vast amounts of money to their livelihood is not the problem, though it is symptomatic of a serious problem.  I could go on almost endlessly, but the point is that these are just effects of our problem. Continue reading

Rethink or Reload

In his OP-ED column in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman briefly summarizes two books, “The Great Disruption” by Paul Gilding and “The Power of Pull” by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown & Lang Davison that each speak to the many social protests (a.k.a. The Great Disruption) we are seeing throughout the world—Occupy Wall Street is among these.   Continue reading

Reformer Education

A recent Huffington Post article describes the agreement and disagreement between Arne Duncan (Secretary of Education) and Dennis Van Roekel (President of National Teachers Association) over the preparation and evaluation of teachers respectively.  Sadly what is not being discussed—as can be inferred from the article—is the very process of learning. Continue reading

Act on Causes not Outcomes

Properly reporting and interpreting the movement in the monthly unemployment rate requires one to have an understanding of variation.  Yes, while it may be a surprise to many, monthly outcomes do vary from month to month irrespective of whether there is an identifiable cause—you can call this random noise.  There are also variation patterns that are not noise but signal that something has changed, that something is different in the system. Being able to discern signal from noise is critical to the proper interpretation of what is going on (or not) in the system that produces the outcome—it informs sound decision-making. Continue reading

Mistaken Solution

A story told by Jay Goltz to illustrate his strategy for learning from mistakes highlights common errors that many business managers and owners commit.  Though Jay’s story takes place in one of his small businesses these errors are indeed common and committed regularly by managers in both  small and large companies. Continue reading

Reductionism Can Reduce Everything

What is reductionism?  It is the theory and practice of solving problems by placing attention on its simpler constituent parts or components.  In other words, solving problems of the whole—which can be quite complex—can be realized by attention to the most important constituent—the one cause or the one outcome—of the whole. Moreover this approach to decision-making and problem resolution is likely not only quite widespread it is also a way of thinking that most are not consciously aware they practice.  So why should we care?  Continue reading

When the First Step is a Misstep

Problem solving involves many steps, with each requiring decision-making before proceeding to the next toward ultimately resolving the issue. While each step is important, when problems are complex the most critical is the first because it is among the most difficult.  In simple or structured problem situations the issue is quite self-evident, but in complex or unstructured problem situations it is not readily apparent. Continue reading