Manage By Walking Around http://jonathanbecher.com Aligning Execution With Strategy Mon, 29 Jul 2019 01:36:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 https://i2.wp.com/jonathanbecher.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/cropped-jb-logo.jpg?fit=32%2C32 Manage By Walking Around http://jonathanbecher.com 32 32 56894116 7 Factors That Make Us Stupid http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/07/28/7-factors-that-make-us-stupid/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/07/28/7-factors-that-make-us-stupid/#comments Mon, 29 Jul 2019 01:36:52 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7357 I stumbled on an insightful definition of being stupid from Adam Robinson: Stupidity is overlooking or dismissing [conspicuously] crucial information. Robinson argues stupidity is not the opposite of intelligence. Instead, stupidity is impaired judgement due to one or more factors: Rushing or urgency Information overload Physical or emotional stress Intense focus on an outcome Being...

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I stumbled on an insightful definition of being stupid from Adam Robinson:

Stupidity is overlooking or dismissing [conspicuously] crucial information.

Robinson argues stupidity is not the opposite of intelligence. Instead, stupidity is impaired judgement due to one or more factors:

  1. Rushing or urgency
  2. Information overload
  3. Physical or emotional stress
  4. Intense focus on an outcome
  5. Being outside your normal environment
  6. Social or peer pressure
  7. Being in the presence of an authority

Individually, each of the factors can adversely impact our decision-making. Taken together, they dramatically increase the odds that otherwise intelligent people act stupidly.

By way of example, Robinson points to a 2016 Johns Hopkins study which reports that more than 250,000 people die every year in U.S. hospitals from medical errors. This makes medical errors the third-leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.

Why are there so many accidental deaths in hospitals?

Robinson explains that all seven factors are present in a hospital, especially in an emergency situation. Short timeframes, conflicting patient vitals, a high stress situation, and multiple experts. All of these contribute to a higher tendency to overlook crucial information.

This also explains distracted driving — talking or texting on the phone, eating or drinking, fiddling with the radio — anything that takes your attention away from safe driving. Each contributes to information overload which increases the odds of an accident when you have to deal with an unusual traffic situation. If you take your eyes off the road for only 5 seconds, that’s long enough to cover the length of an American football field while driving at 55 mph. Yes, distracted driving is stupid.

When you are faced with a critical decision, slow down and remove distractions. Avoid the 7 factors that impair your judgement. As the philosopher Forrest Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does.”

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Culture Gets A SEAT At The Table http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/07/21/culture-gets-a-seat-at-the-table/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/07/21/culture-gets-a-seat-at-the-table/#respond Mon, 22 Jul 2019 00:54:24 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7339 Struggling with the pun in the title? I’ll start with some background… SEAT is an annual conference for sports & entertainment professionals, focused on whatever is top-of-mind in the industry. It distinguishes itself from other conferences by strongly emphasizing networking and relationship building. This year’s event was held at the Daytona International Speedway, the first...

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Struggling with the pun in the title? I’ll start with some background…

SEAT is an annual conference for sports & entertainment professionals, focused on whatever is top-of-mind in the industry. It distinguishes itself from other conferences by strongly emphasizing networking and relationship building. This year’s event was held at the Daytona International Speedway, the first time the conference had been held outside of a hotel and the first time the Speedway had hosted an event of this scale.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jbecher/status/1150780436488085505

This year’s three concurrent tracks were digital marketing, data & business intelligence, and venue technology & design. In addition, popular subjects like CRM, AI, and social media were prominent throughout. However, the event also had its share of surprising topics. The opening session was titled “Health & Mental Well-being as Growth Drivers” and may well have been my favorite of the conference. Some interesting soundbites:

  • 80% of people make unhealthy life choices (sleep, diet, exercise), reducing their lifespan by 8-10 years.
  • Not getting enough sleep has dire consequences, including increasing the risk of cancer by 70%.
  • A shared focus on well-being can create an organizational purpose even stronger than traditional mission statements and objectives.

Another surprise was that the topic of culture showed up repeatedly. Toward the end of the event, I asked five attendees which topic most surprised them – each separately answered ‘culture.’ Because my mantra is “culture eats strategy,” I was pleased to see a sports conference consider the impact of culture on business performance.

For example, one of the panels discussed whether sports organizations should become purpose-driven. The contrary point of view suggests everything should directly support winning games and ultimately championships. Creating a separate purpose might be distracting from the primary mission. However, no team will win every game and every championship. Creating a purpose based on societal benefit inspires fans during the difficult times. A purpose can also serve as a rallying cry for employees, who work long hours and might be lower paid compared to other industries. While the panel came to no clear-cut conclusion, I firmly believe creating a purpose can create a strategic advantage.

Culture also appeared during discussions of CRM and business intelligence. Many practitioners lamented their best ideas weren’t being implemented and wished they had more executive support. While I understand the desire for explicit management buy-in, I think the more critical issue is creating a culture of innovation. Here at the San Jose Sharks, we have a series of principles which encourage employees to try out new ideas, even if their ROI isn’t immediately understood. There should be no shame in a failed experiment, as long as the lesson learned is documented for others.

Now that culture is at the SEAT conference table, I suspect it will be an on-going discussion topic at future events. After all, without the appropriate culture, key initiatives are unlikely to be successful.

Is culture a discussion topic at your company?

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Sheets to the Wind http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/07/07/sheets-to-the-wind/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/07/07/sheets-to-the-wind/#respond Sun, 07 Jul 2019 19:45:24 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7334 During a recent catch-up, a close friend pointed out another person in the restaurant and commented that it was a little early for him to be two sheets to the wind. I was amused – not because 7pm was indeed early for someone to be drunk in a restaurant – but because I had always...

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Repetition Is Your Friend: The Spacing Effect http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/06/23/repetition-is-your-friend-the-spacing-effect/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/06/23/repetition-is-your-friend-the-spacing-effect/#comments Sun, 23 Jun 2019 20:21:53 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7324 A common misconception about school is that it teaches us how to learn. However, in my opinion, school doesn’t teach us how to learn, it teaches us how to pass tests. We pull all-nighters, cramming information into our brains, to ensure we have facts memorized. Often, we forget what we “learned” as soon as the...

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A common misconception about school is that it teaches us how to learn. However, in my opinion, school doesn’t teach us how to learn, it teaches us how to pass tests. We pull all-nighters, cramming information into our brains, to ensure we have facts memorized. Often, we forget what we “learned” as soon as the test is over.

There’s a similar phenomenon in our professional lives. We try to memorize the names of people we meet, the script for a speech, or the key facts for a sales meeting. We announce a new strategy once during an All-hands meeting and hope employees remember the details.

There’s a better way to learn: spaced repetition.

Learning occurs best when new information is incorporated gradually into the memory store rather than when it is jammed in all at once.

— John Medina, Brain Rules

We are more likely to recall concepts if we learn them in multiple sessions, spread out over time. Spaced repetition doesn’t require more effort but it does require better planning. The investment to learn has to begin long before the knowledge is needed. Instead of cramming, you’re nibbling.

Schools don’t use spaced repetition. Most lectures cover a single topic which the teacher doesn’t mention again – until the test. And most students don’t think about the topic either – until they’re cramming for the test the night before.

Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist and quantitative memory research pioneer, first identified the spacing effect in the late 1800’s. His research showed that 40% of new information is forgotten in 20 minutes and 70% after one day. More information could be retained by repeated exposure to material over a series of increasing intervals.

So how do you take advantage of spaced repetition to learn more? There are three major components:

Limit the length of learning sessions. All-night cramming is inefficient because attention spans are limited and we retain decreasing amounts of information over time. I recommend no more than 90-minute sessions (read the 90-minute rule).

Create a learning schedule. For example, after you’ve reviewed information for the first time, review it again an hour later. Wait a day and do it again; then every other day, weekly, every other week, monthly, etc. At every step, if you find yourself remembering more, you can reduce the frequency. If you remember less, increase the frequency.

Track progress. Tracking progress reinforces to ourselves that we are improving – even if it takes longer than expected. Positive reinforcement is crucial to overcome difficult points in the learning journey.

I’ve been applying these techniques in my professional life for many years. It’s common for me to repeat information several times, in several different ways, over an extended period of time. I counter the “we’ve already told them that” objection with the reality that most likely don’t remember what we’ve told them. When rolling out a new strategy, it’s not only important to have multiple sessions but to check how much employees are retaining after each session. Eventually the new strategy doesn’t feel new anymore.

As a former colleague of mine once quipped, when it comes to learning, repetition is your friend.

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Defending Learning Latin, almost ad nauseum http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/06/02/defending-learning-latin/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/06/02/defending-learning-latin/#comments Mon, 03 Jun 2019 03:05:26 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7313 As an eighth-grader, I decided to take Latin as an elective. Openly, it was more of an impulse choice than a carefully-constructed decision. Not surprisingly, my friends questioned my decision and I found myself defending learning Latin. In fact, the class was much more interesting than I expected it to be. At the bottom of...

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As an eighth-grader, I decided to take Latin as an elective. Openly, it was more of an impulse choice than a carefully-constructed decision. Not surprisingly, my friends questioned my decision and I found myself defending learning Latin.

In fact, the class was much more interesting than I expected it to be. At the bottom of our first quiz, the teacher included a still memorable quote:

Latin is a dead language, as dead as it can be.
First it killed the Romans, and now it’s killing me.

The textbook also had a series of engaging cartoons designed to help you remember random phrases. My favorite was a Roman policeman who had stopped a speeding chariot and asked “ubi ignis est?” – translation: Where’s the fire? That still cracks me up.

Over the years, I’ve realized that knowing some Latin can improve your English vocabulary. While English is considered Germanic language, Latin has had a strong influence. There are plenty of Latin words commonly used in English – consider alias, et cetera, vice versa, verbatim. During a particularly busy time at my last job, a close friend sent me a two-word email: “memento vivere.” Sure, I could have googled the phrase but my Latin schooling suggested it translated to “remember to live” – my friend was encouraging me to take a break from the tyranny of the urgent.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to share ten of my favorite Latin phrases:

a priori — from what comes before; relying on knowledge rather than experience.

ad nauseam — used to describe an argument that has taken place to the point of nausea.

barba non facit philosophum — having a beard doesn’t make you a philosopher; similar to “clothes don’t make the man” and “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

carpe diem — seize the day; usually used to encourage someone to act.

caveat emptor — let the buyer beware; the purchaser assumes the risk that the goods or services fit the needs. Similar to “as is.”

et tu, Brute? — from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar’s last words after being murdered by his friend Brutus; used to convey betrayal.

ipso facto — by the fact itself; something considered true by its very nature.

mea culpa — my fault; usually used as a confession. Similar to “that’s on me.”

non sequitur — it does not follow; used to describe a remark which is absurd because it doesn’t make sense in the current context.

quid pro quo — this for that; an exchange of value. Similar to “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

Of course, I could have included many more. What’s your favorite Latin phrase?

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Explaining The Dunning-Kruger Effect http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/05/27/dunning-kruger-effect/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/05/27/dunning-kruger-effect/#respond Mon, 27 May 2019 20:40:24 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7308 Have you heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect? The term derives from a 1999 article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology which showed that low performers tend to overestimate their abilities. It’s not that low performers think they are better performers than higher-skilled people (that’s the illusory superiority effect); it’s just people think they’re...

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Excessive Fanaticism in Sports http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/05/05/excessive-fanaticism-in-sports/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/05/05/excessive-fanaticism-in-sports/#comments Mon, 06 May 2019 01:42:05 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7302 One of the things I love about my job is the unbridled passion of our fans. I’m continuously in awe of the many ways people express their love for the San Jose Sharks. When was the last time someone tattooed the logo of a technology company or bank on their body? Being a supporter of...

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You Should Be Using the Eisenhower Matrix To Make Decisions http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/04/21/eisenhower-matrix-to-make-decisions/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/04/21/eisenhower-matrix-to-make-decisions/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2019 19:28:23 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7284 The most urgent decisions are rarely the most important ones. —Dwight Eisenhower In light of our always-on world, it’s natural we focus on time-sensitive tasks; the seemingly non-ending list of things that have to be done. At work, these tasks include responding to emails or voice mails, generating a report due later in the day,...

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Adaptability may be more important than IQ or EQ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/03/31/adaptability-more-important-than-iq-or-eq/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/03/31/adaptability-more-important-than-iq-or-eq/#comments Sun, 31 Mar 2019 20:06:38 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7280 For most of my career, I have favored candidates with high Emotional Quotient (EQ) over those with high Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Just like my mantra that culture eats strategy, I believe situational awareness often trumps pure smarts. Of course, I’ve never known any candidate’s IQ test score let alone their EQ score. (Yes, you can...

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The Power of Suggestion http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/03/17/power-of-suggestion/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/03/17/power-of-suggestion/#comments Mon, 18 Mar 2019 02:59:56 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7274 “Objection, your Honor, the Defense is leading the witness.” If you’ve watched TV courtroom dramas, you’ve heard this common expression. One lawyer is complaining that the other lawyer is asking leading questions; the questions suggest the answers the witness should give. As such, it unfairly taints the witness’ testimony. As often happens, a recent courtroom...

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