Relationship Economy You Cannot See What You Do Not Understand Fri, 11 Apr 2014 17:47:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Say It Enough Times And They’ll Believe It Wed, 09 Apr 2014 09:20:08 +0000

Double ThinkIf we read or hear enough of the same thing sooner or later we begin to believe what we hear or read whether it is true or not.

We grow up hearing about getting and educations and getting a good job because that is what everyone says to do.

We go to work for a company that tells us what they want us to believe  regardless of how they treat us or the customer. Over time we become numb to the truth and fearful of speaking up.

The media repeats stories of interest and reports the so called facts about the story and we all believe it whether it is true or not.

We are told what we can and can’t do enough times that we believe it even when we are capable of doing more.

We read and hear the wonders of social media then we go and share what everyone who says they are an expert has said to do with social media.

Like a mantra for meditation we repeat our own stories over and over and become what we repeat about ourselves.

We’ve been trained to believe things that are repeated over and over whether they are true or not.

The Power Of Repeating Thins

Hitlers primary rules were  people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it often enough people will sooner or later believe it.  He convinced millions to believe these lies.

George Orwell‘s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four refers to the Big Lie theory on several occasions. The Big Lie theory is based on::

  • “The theory is based on  black white. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts.”
  • Using doublethink: Doublethink is the act of ordinary people simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Somewhat related but almost the opposite is cognitive dissonance, where contradictory beliefs cause conflict in one’s mind. Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance — thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction…”

Then we begin to speak out saying different things that we believe are true and a crowd gather to support what we say. Then the crowd grows in significance and influence and a shift in beliefs begin. The new beliefs create a shift in influence, power and information. Repeating the same thing over and over until it is a belief of the masses continues to be the theory whether what we believe it is the truth or a lie.

The difference today is when a lie is discovered it can no longer be hidden rather revealed to the masses.

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Do Women Listen & Understand More Than Men? Tue, 08 Apr 2014 09:15:34 +0000

deleteWomen often accuse men of not listening. Men usually get defensive and argue they do. We’ve all experienced this argument but the scientific facts support the women.

In a world of constant change being able to interpret the meaning of change is more important than reacting to the change. Men tend to draw conclusions based on limited data while women tend to seek a fuller understanding before concluding the meaning of change. Sometimes “drawing a quick conclusion” misses important information that when “heard or seen” could be revealing significant developments. In business and in our personal lives it is the significant developments that can change everything.  After all innovation usually comes from looking outside what is typically the “right view” and finding and alternative view.

Viewing things as they seem and in the current context is the wrong view for a world in a constant state of flux.

Many organizations simply delete alternative views when the view doesn’t fit their frame of reference. The better view is not to delete rather to assimilate with an eye on finding the meaningful noise lying within the data.

Kevin Dunbar, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, illustrated our reflexive reaction to being wrong with brain scans that should make any would-be innovator turn cold.  As this Wired profile of Dunbar explains, that’s like the brain’s “delete” key. Now, as any editor can tell you, a delete key is a wonderful gift: by cutting out the chaff (of prose, of data, of life) we can see the wheat that much more clearly. The brain’s process of filtering is what helps us pay attention. But for a scientist — or anyone in the business of discovery — if you habitually mentally delete anomalous data, how can you learn from it?

(Ladies, the news is slightly better for you: Dunbar noticed a gender split in his research. Women were more likely than men to investigate unexpected findings, while men were more likely to assume they knew the reason for the unexpected result, and proceed without more analysis.)

Being Right, Wrong And In Between

People have strong opinions based on their experience, position and assumed knowledge. When is comes to deciding courses of action for improving a result everyone seems to have an opinion. Some are right, some are wrong and the answer usually lies somewhere in between.

Finding the in between isn’t easy. The answer isn’t always about one parties view versus the other rather the answer is seeing and hearing things together. That means we have to learn to come together in between right and wrong to find a solution.  It is becoming more and more clear that women who have a seat, and a voice, at the table can see in between better than men.

Don’t believe or understand why this is true? Then you are likely a man seeing only half of the solution.

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The Foolish Things Business People Do Wed, 02 Apr 2014 09:30:06 +0000

foolishnessI have made some foolish business decisions in the past and each time I make sure the lesson is implanted in my brain for recall when I wander again towards foolishness.  Foolishness is the opposite of wisdom and the only thing that sustains a business is the wisdom to know not to make foolish decisions.

It would be valuable if all of us could learn from the foolish decisions each of us have made individually and collectively. Imagine the savings that could be realized from helping others avoid costly mistakes created from foolish decisions.  The fact is that today anyone can improve the quality of their decisions, the wisdom of insight and the assurance of having access to the knowledge required to avoid foolishness.

Avoiding Foolishness Requires Knowing

To avoid foolish business decisions we have to look at what drives entrepreneurs and established industry leaders to make foolish decisions.

The drivers of foolishness for early stage entrepreneurs includes:

  • Believing hare-brained ideas are the entrepreneurs most valuable asset.
  • Believing that building an idea is enough.
  • Believing that research and testing of assumptions are not necessary.
  • Believing that they don’t need facts to support their assumptions
  • They do not see the true complexity of the market.
  • They do not seek the counsel of wise people.
  • Believing that raising money for an idea is easy.
  • Not learning what needs to be learned about their business proposition
  • Listening to fools who promise to lead them into the promise land.
  • When fame and fortune is the goal and not meaningful value creation

The drivers of foolishness for established organizations includes:

  • Dishonesty: How often do we see managers make a promise to a client, an employee or an investor to learn later that they never intended to keep it? Sadly, it’s a common occurrence in America.  It’s also just a matter of time until such nefarious behavior becomes known and results in the collapse of the enterprise and its people.
  • Defective Culture:  Organizations that mistreat employees and abuse customers are ripe for failure. Firms that base their philosophies’ on “win-lose” thinking can neither survive nor prosper. This approach generally begins with leadership that is arrogant and greedy.  Then they hire and promote managers of the same attitude and behavior.
  • Customers Are Not Important: Company leaders who don’t listen to and respond to customer needs are facing financial disaster.  Sadly, these managers believe they know more than the customer. They suppose customers will never seek improvements or that competitors will never surpass them. They allocate no funds to research.
  • Dreadful Customer Service and Support: Managers and leaders who over promise and under deliver will watch a steady stream of their unhappy customers head for the door, while also telling their friends to shop elsewhere.  Managers who mistreat, abuse and disrespect customers will not be successful.
  • No Vision, No Strategy: When people do not understand why the company exists, or have a clear and knowledgeable view of what value it creates, the organization will not survive.  This is a firm with no leadership. They are lost and don’t know it. They are aboard a ship that’s is sinking and they don’t know it.

There are other factors that could be considered foolish in business. Things like not valuing your employees, hiring the wrong people and believing that change isn’t necessary to survive.  Care to add your own thought to the list of “foolishness” in business?

It is easy to avoid foolishness if you care to study and listen to the wisdom of the ages and the insight of the crowd. Both are available at the click of a mouse to those wanting to avoid foolish mistakes.

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Learning to Understand Tue, 01 Apr 2014 10:47:07 +0000

elegant-wa-perfect-understanding1C.S. Lewis said: “We read to learn that we are not alone”.

Reading will help you to learn more about the world, about human nature, about how human beings interact in society and in work. Studies have shown that the best leaders are those that read a lot. But it is not just in reading that creates the value it is in reading with the intent to understand.

If you don’t understand why, how, where, what or when…read to understand. The first book you should read is “yourself” because once you understand your person, your purpose and your product (what value you create) then and only then can you read to understand everything else.

The book about yourself is a story that never ends when you learn to read to understand.

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Beginning Over to Advance Forward Mon, 31 Mar 2014 09:20:57 +0000

all possible knowledgeIf what you know isn’t working then maybe it is time to learn something new.

In a world of constant change there is always something new to learn. But some people consider themselves an “expert” in knowing when in fact they are beginners stuck in what they think they know.

Ideas, opinions, and expertise get in the way of knowing what we don’t know. “Knowing” does not allow us anything new, no surprises, no insights, no discoveries. When seeking improvements, innovation or even simple problem solving it is vital to look at what we don’t know or see to find what we need to know and see that will lead us to finding solutions that matter.  It is what we didn’t know that is fueling revolutionary changes across the global and right next door.

How to Advance Forward by Beginning Over

We all have valuable experiences and lessons learned to share with others. The attraction of social technology to the human network isn’t about using the technology to puff up our reputation with what we know rather it is to learn about the things we don’t know. With the explosive growth of data, information and knowledge there is no shame in admitting you don’t know. The real shame lies in making your existing “knowledge” so much a part of our identity that we are afraid to ask or admit a lack of knowledge.  We’ve fallen into a pattern of arrogance about what we know so we puff up our identity with what we think we know.

Our knowledge and experiences helps us process a complex world, however, our knowledge and experience can trap us from seeing innovation and the possibilities of learning what we don’t know.  We were all born with the desire to learn. We grew everyday by what we learned.  After all the formal learning we ventured out to earn a living based on what we could do with what we knew. Then most of us settled in earning what we could with what we knew.  A few never stopped learning and in doing so discovered what they didn’t know and applied it to creating value that others didn’t know they needed or wanted until the masses discovered it.

Learning what you don’t know is a journey of discovery that never ends. Think like a child discovering all things new and use what you know to learn what you don’t know. Then and only then will you advance forward by beginning over with what you’ve discovered.

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If They Would Only Pay Attention Thu, 27 Mar 2014 09:26:30 +0000

pay attentionIn December of last year a local entrepreneur/investor asked for my opinion on a new venture he was starting. Previously the entrepreneur had bragged to me about having started several earlier business and made millions from the ventures, (bragging is the first sign of a lie).

I told him I’ll be happy to look at his intended business venture and give some feedback.

I met his team and heard their visions of grandeur. The mantra was no different from what I’ve heard hundreds of times from other misguided entrepreneurs. The proclamations included:

  1. Our vision is to create the first….the best..and be the best at …
  2. This is going to be worth XX millions in the first year
  3. This is a hot market trend and we will build the best platform in the market
  4. We can get lots of volunteers to build the technology
  5. “I” know a lot of wealthy people who would invest in this so you should be the first one in on the deal

Then I began asking some basic questions including:

  1. Do you have a business plan that describes the business model , your competition, the value you create, the technology, investment required and who would gain the most from using your assets?
  2. What is the key differential between you and others doing what you plan to do?
  3. What is the business experience of the team?  The creative, intellectual and strategic capacities?
  4. How much money to date has been invested and who provided the investment?
  5. How much research has been done to verify your assumptions, design the offering, the technology and the market needs for your offering?

There are obviously a lot more questions but since the parties couldn’t answer the first five questions I knew right away that the planned venture was simply an idea with no foundation.  In other words no one had done any of the necessary homework to define how the idea becomes a valuable business proposition that meets a market need, recognized or not.

I told the entrepreneur/investor that he didn’t have anything worthy of an investment.  Until he and his team answered the basic question than all their proclamation were nothing but attempts to sell snake oil to the uniformed including themselves.

Sorry for being so direct but learning what you need to build a business isn’t hard, you just have to be willing to learn to listen and pay attention to more than yourself.

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Uncommon vs. Common Causes Wed, 26 Mar 2014 11:05:09 +0000


Common cause are events, occurrences and points of reference that are considered normal variation. Uncommon cause are unusual events that aren’t common. The reaction to common vs. uncommon causes are different.

Traditional wisdom would tell us to work on improving common causes of errors while simply noting uncommon causes of errors. It has been proven that to change processes because of uncommon causes of errors is costly and can actually increase the number of common causes.

Let’s say you drive the same road to work every day and on average it takes you 30 minutes to get to work. Then one day it takes you one hour to get to work because of an accident on the road. The common cause is normal traffic flows. The uncommon cause is abnormal traffic flows as a result of an accident. Would you permanently change the route you drive to work because of one accident that occurred on one day? Not likely.  However if the road closed because of a sink hole, uncommon cause, you would have to permanently change the route you drive to work each day.

Today’s business environment is rapidly being changed because uncommon causes of change have become common.  As a result the mental models of the past and all the related rules of thought no longer apply.

Evidence of Uncommon Becoming Common

Because of the internet more data has been created in the last ten years than since the beginning of time. The quest to create meaning from the data has increased the demand for minds that understand data.  More importantly mind that understand the increase in uncommon causes becoming common. Consider:

  1. Over 30 Billion pieces of content shared on Facebook every month
  2. Over 40% projected growth in global data generated per year
  3. More than 235 terabytes of data has been collected by the US Library of Congress by April 2011
  4. 15 out of 17 sectors in the United States have more data stored per company than the US Library of Congress
  5. The explosion of data in U.S. Health Care represents over $300 Billion potential annual value—more than double the total annual health care spending in Spain
  6. The increase in data represents a 60% potential increase in retailers’ operating margins from the insights gained about consumer preferences
  7. 140,000–190,000 more deep analytical talent positions are needed in the US today to create value from all this data
  8. The demand for analytic skills is growing; 1.5 million more data-savvy managers are needed in the United States by 2015

Data can be manipulated to mean anything but not everything has meaningful value. To gain meaningful value from data one must understand common vs uncommon causes of variance illustrated within the data.  However the real value is in understanding that uncommon causes are now the common cause that reflects the current market dynamics.

When common becomes fueled by uncommon causes of change that means our entire mental models must change.  Get it?


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Organizing and Creating Value Tue, 25 Mar 2014 09:30:24 +0000

org-chart2An organizational chart is a diagram that shows the structure of an organization and the relationships and relative ranks of its parts and positions/jobs.

The idea behind having organizational charts came from the military’s organization of man and machines to fight wars. During the industrial era companies followed form in their thinking about organizing man and machines with an emphasis on producing more and more tangible things for consumption.

In the emerging Social Era the markets consumption has shifted from tangible things of value to intangible things that produce more value. The organization and creating of intangible value doesn’t fit with the thinking behind traditonal organizational charts.

Organizing and Creating Value

Organizations’ need to learn to shift from organizing power, people and process to the organization of ideas, knowledge and value creation. Value is created from human capital (ideas, knowledge and the exchange of information) that is aligned with strategic capital (purpose, vision and differential) which is leveraged by structural capital (IT, Systems, Processes, networks etc.) and collectively aimed at building relationship capital (customers, suppliers, markets and marketing).

Power has been restructured from traditional hierarchies to social networks inside and outside any type of organization. Power within a social network is within the nodes that transmit ideas, knowledge and information. Power within a social network isn’t about control from what or who you know rather it is about influence from the quality of what you share with the network.

Process has been redefined from a standard procedure to a fluid adjustment of the way things should work in order to create the most value for the end user, internally and externally.

People, internally and externally, are no longer tools of production rather they are co-creators of never ending value creation.  This means that human capital is the foundation of all value creation, tangible and intangible.

Human capital represents all those intangible things that can’t be managed with traditional organization charts rather they are self-managed by the inherent nature and influence of being part of a “social network”. I am not talking about Facebook or LinkedIn but I am talking about the human network that rest within any organization.

Managing intangible capital is much different than managing tangible assets.  Tangible assets are those things management likes to count or put in a box on an organizational chart. Intangible things aren’t conducive to being counted or boxed in. Intangible capital works best when it is allowed the freedom to create value.

Image from Richard Dennison

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The Rising Influence of Women Mon, 24 Mar 2014 09:16:49 +0000

WomenOfInfluence_Logo-304The influence of women in modern society has become regular topic in main stream and  social media.  Historians will look back and point to this time period as the tipping point of female influence on media, business, politics and social change.

Maddy Dychtwald writes “We are at a true tipping point, at which women are rewriting the rules of the game, questioning old assumptions and inventing new paradigms. As communities, corporations and countries respond, more children will have quality health care and education, workplaces will be more family friendly, men will experience new freedoms and opportunities to pursue a wider range of careers, and companies and countries that accept and facilitate women’s rising power will thrive – as those led by women are already doing.

Men historically have had the greatest  influence on media, business, religion and society in general. That influence has perpetuated mindsets and business models without much advice from women. The media feed the male ego and the stories had a dominant male voice. Those were the old days but the media and the influence has changed because of social media.  

According to data from  financiesonline  women now dominate the use of social media in all major networks except LinkedIn.  However, on LinkedIn Pulse the sixth most followed channel out of a total of 56 channels is Professional Women. Based on the channels growth rate over the last 12 months it is likely to be in the top three by the end of this year.  And that is not all the story…

Women are Leading in the 21st Century

The 21st century will be shaped by a new world power: women.

All around the world women are emerging as a major economic force – and are using their the power of influence to improve society in ways we can only begin to imagine.

Women’s economic influence is happening at every level of society, in every sphere, starting as a tiny ripple, spreading out ring by ring into waves, surges, tsunamis of new vision sweeping over our world. As I write and as you read, women are just beginning to unleash their economic influence, and the smartest workplaces, legislatures, and families see that they have no choice but to follow.

Women have become the majority of the American workforce. And they’re starting to dominate lots of professions – doctors, lawyers,bankers, accountants. Over 50 percent of managers are women these days, and in the 15 professions projected to grow the most in the next decade, all but two of them are dominated by women. So the global economy is becoming a place where women are more successful than men, believe it or not, and these economic changes are starting to rapidly affect our culture

My mother used to say “Someday the world will recognize the value a women creates and then the world will be a better place“. If my mom were alive today to see the rising influence of women she’d simply say “I told you so”.

My mom was a wise women.



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Problem Examination: Pretending Wed, 19 Mar 2014 09:39:14 +0000

pretending-to-be-asleepWhen we were children it was fun to pretend to be somebody and act the part.  It is in the pretending that we let our imaginations create stories that reflected dreams, wishes and a portrait of who we wished to become. As we crew into adulthood we discovered who we really are but many of us continued to pretend to be someone others expected us to be.

We can see the same behavior organizationally. Companies pretend to be “social” because everyone else is and all the data suggest the customer expects it. This behavior reflects an ongoing problem that used to be hidden but now is transparent for all to see, pretending.

Pretending to be someone or something you, or your organization, are not does nothing but create problems for you, your organization and many others.  We pretend because of insecurities that drive us to try to be someone or something others expect us to be. Some people and organizations are good at pretending and carry on doing so for years without anyone ever finding out the truth. Those are far and few between.

Pretending leaves a trail of problems including:

  • Over promising and under delivering
  • Fake intents that others sense and eventually discover
  • Misleading communications used to perpetuate the false images or statements
  • Lying to cover up that which was pretended
  • Destruction of a true identity which leads to a loss purpose

The list goes on and on but the point remains the same. Pretending everything is all right when in fact everything is all wrong is denial of a reality that will surely be discovered in time.  Meanwhile you’ve just wasted a lot of time, energy and effort to only lose what you were pretending to have or be.

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