Archive | government

Fourth of July factoids, 2015 edition

On July 4 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. The declaration announced that the thirteen American colonies no longer considered themselves as part of the British Empire but rather a new nation of independent sovereign states — the United States of America. This in itself is well-known: however, here are some factoids…

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Self-Renewal and the Courage to Fail

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities – brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems. February 16 is the anniversary of the death of John William Gardner, the author of that quote. Gardner was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in the late 1960’s, founder of two influential U.S. organizations (Common Cause and Independent…

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McChrystal on Leadership

Seven years ago (!) I wrote a blog titled Management by Marching Around which suggested that traditional command and control leadership no longer worked in business – or in the military. Instead, I believe in management by influence (suggesting direction) more than by control (enforcing rules). I also recommend management by exception (tell me about…

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The Poison of Food

For reasons I’d rather not go into, I decided to do a little research into food poisoning with a seemingly simple question: How does food get poisoned? It turns out that most food-related illnesses can be separated into two types: toxins and infection. The traditional use of the term food poisoning stems from the existence…

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Positive Persuasion through Peer Pressure

What would get people to reuse their towels in hotel rooms? The answer might surprise you, as it’s not saving the environment or saving money. People are more likely to reuse their hotel towels if they are told that everyone else is doing it. This variant of the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ effect seems…

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The Politics of Brand

The U.S presidential election is imminent and, not surprisingly, politics are dominating everyone’s conversations.  Last week a work colleague and I had an on-going discussion of whether brands have political connotations. We started with an observation about cars in the office parking lot: more Republicans own BMW’s while more Democrats own Jeeps. Cars turned into sports: Democrats…

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Solving Traffic Congestion

If a stretch of highway is often congested, we should add another lane to increase capacity. Wrong. In “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from U.S. Cities,” researchers show any increased capacity from additional roads is temporary.  Traffic increases to fill the added capacity.  The study’s startling findings include: The number of vehicle-kilometers traveled…

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