Archive | measurement missteps

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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Rewarding Teamwork

I believe every manager is a member of three teams: The people that report to that manager. This is usually what someone means when they refer to “my team.” The external stakeholders in other departments they work with every day. For example, marketing is often considered part of the extended team for sales or development. Their peers…

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Tabulating Taboos

What percentage of people wash their hands after going to the restroom? This is a difficult question to answer accurately. Surveys are unreliable because people are not likely to be truthful about behavior that is considered socially unacceptable. Surveys under-report the true percentage. Even if it is difficult, estimating the percentage of people who engage…

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Orchestrator or Autocrat?

This weekend’s Wall Street Journal contained an article by former Chrysler and General Motors executive Bob Lutz called “Life Lessons from a Car Guy.”  Lutz believes that different kinds of organizations require different kinds of leaders.  A loosely-connected conglomerate like General Electric requires a leader with vision and portfolio management skills; investing/divesting lines of business,…

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