In When , Stuart Albert says that using the right tools we can become better at managing and deciding issues of timing. Good timing is a skill that can be acquired. They fail to include all the sequences, rates, shapes, punctuation marks, intervals, leads, lags, overlaps, and other time-related characteristics that are part of the temporal structure of everything that happens, every action that is taken, every plan that is implemented.
I had never thought of it that way. I was intrigued. Albert likens the structure of timing analysis to the structure of a musical score. There is a horizontal and a vertical dimension to it. Five horizontal—sequence, punctuation, interval, rate, and shape—and there is a vertical dimension—polyphony. The way they come together in an organization gives us insight into timing.
These patterns form the temporal architecture. Sequence refers to the order of events, like the notes in a melody. Temporal punctuation refers to the times when events or processes begin, pause, or come to an end. Interval and duration indicates how much time elapses between events and how long each event will last. Rate refers to how quickly events are happening. Shape describes rhythms and other patterns such as cycles, feedback loops, peaks, and valleys. Polyphony is the questions the interrelationship between all things happening at the same time.
We have to learn how to listen for the rhythm of what is going on, for its moments of tension or release, for moments when we must pause and change direction. Learning to view events in this manner will help us to spot opportunities first, execute on them well, and avoid costly mistakes. As of May , nobody has. This is a classic sequence inversion error, playing notes out of order—in effect putting the cart before the horse. The first step should have been to attract the donor, who would help select the architect, and then become involved in the design of the building.
In order to get the timing right Albert says we need to move beyond spheres and networks, boxes and arrows, trees and branches, and instead think in terms of a tall polyphonic musical score in which a large number of processes and events are playing at the same time.
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Re-imagining the world as a polyphonic, polyrhythmic score shifts how we think about the causes and consequences of events. So, naturally, when we think about the consequences of our actions, we think in terms of a line, antecedents to the left, consequences—separated by some amount of time—to the right. When we say A causes B, we are focusing on the horizontal dimension of the score. We are focused on what comes before the cause and what comes after the effect.
That is fine, but we should also be paying attention to what is going on vertically , to what must and must not go on at the same time. When provides a more insightful way to look at events and the seven essential steps in a timing analysis. Timing issues are not always obvious but Albert helps us to know where to look and what to look for so we will be much more likely to get the timing right.
I N Antifragile , Nassim Nicholas Taleb reports on things that are fragile and things that are antifragile and how they became that way. Resilience survives. The opposite is fragile. Though often unintentionally, we tend to make things fragile. We have been fragilizing the economy, our health, political life, education, almost everything … by suppressing randomness and volatility. Much of our modern, structured, world has been harming us with top-down policies and contraptions which do precisely this: an insult to the anitifragility of systems.
This is the tragedy of modernity: as with neurotically overprotective parents, those trying to help are often hurting us the most. By trying to make things simple and linear we run the risk of underestimating randomness and its role in everything.
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And more importantly, we fail then to benefit from them. Thus while we may be resilient or robust, we are not antifragile. Our character should be antifragile. Random events should serve to make you better than before. Rules are fragile. Principles are resilient.
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Virtue is antifragile. Classroom learning is fragile. Real-life and experiential knowledge are resilient. Real-life and a library are antifragile.
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If we can learn from them, they can make us antifragile. Taleb writes:. Randomness is not a bad thing. We make our organizations fragile when we are overprotective ; when we try to iron out all of the variations and wrinkles that are a part of life. The longer we go without randomness, without variations, without setbacks, the worse the consequences when the unpredictable occurs. Antifragile is an interesting and at times entertaining read. Sadove , chairman and chief executive of Saks Inc.
It starts with leadership at the top, which drives a culture. And that then drives results. Never do you get people asking about the culture, about leadership, about the people in the organization. All In by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton explains why some managers are able to get their employees to commit wholeheartedly to their culture and give that extra push that leads to outstanding results and how managers at any level, can build and sustain a profitable, vibrant work-group culture of their own.
All In takes the principles found in their previous books— The Orange Revolution and The Carrot Principle —and expands on them and places them in a wider context. To have a culture of belief employees must feel not only engaged, but enabled and energized. Define your burning platform.
Create a customer focus. Develop agility.
Share everything. In a dark work environment, where information is withheld or not communicated properly, employees tend to suspect the worst and rumors take the place of facts. It is openness that drives out the gray and helps employees regain trust in culture. Partner with your talent. There are employees now in your organization walking around with brilliant ideas in their pocket.
Root for each other.
It is this reinforcement that makes people want to grow to their full shape and stature. Establish clear accountability. The authors skillfully examine high-performing cultures and present the elements that produce them. A leader at any level can implement these ideas to drive results. A great learning tool.
To succeed, you need everyone on your team all in ; you need a culture of belief. A high performing culture is characterized by people that are engaged, enabled and energized. I T IS A defeatist attitude to think that luck or circumstances primarily make you what you are. Luck, both good and bad happen to us all. In Great by Choice , the authors rightfully assert that we have entered an extended period of uncertainty and turbulent disruption that might well characterize the rest of our lives.
The question then is, what is required to perform exceptionally well in such a world? For their study, the authors chose a set of major companies that achieved spectacular results over 15 or more years while operating in unstable environments. They call these companies "10Xers" for providing shareholder returns at least 10 times greater than their industry. They achieved spectacular results not because they experienced different circumstances, but because they displayed very different behaviors. Fanatic Discipline: Extreme consistency of action.
Empirical Creativity: Bold, creative moves from a sound empirical base. Productive Paranoia: Highly attuned to threats and changes especially when things are going well. Fear and worry is channeled into preparation, contingency plans, buffers and margins of safety. This means maintaining a lower bound and an upper bound, a hurdle that you jump over and a ceiling that you will not rise above, the ambition to achieve and the self-control to hold back.
A Mile March provides a tangible point of focus that keeps you moving forward.
Fire Bullets, then Cannonballs: 10Xers increase their luck by firing lots of bullets instead of a big un-calibrated cannonball. The underlying principle is, be creative, but validate your creative ideas with empirical experience.