A theme for Autism Awareness Month

Every year when April – otherwise known as Autism Awareness Month – rolls around, I ask myself, “Awareness? Awareness of what exactly?” Most times I forget my own advice and try to find a “one-size-fits-all” answer to the question. (My advice: there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all for anything.) Some times I just bail […]

Learning from failure (is overrated)

Failure and the fear of failure are two completely different things. That’s what I wrote in my copy of Rework at the end of the “Learning from failure is overrated” section. It came to mind last night as I was reading Children With Disabilities and Making Mistakes. In the article, Zach brings up one of […]

Kids, sacrifice, and the master’s journey

I don’t remember exactly where I read this, and I’m paraphrasing a bit, but this little anecdote captures the essence of mastery, and the sacrifice that often goes with it: A world class, and world famous, dancer was approached by an excited fan following a performance. “You were fantastic!” the fan said. “I’d give half […]

The importance of teachers and coaches

How many times have you heard someone say, “Those who can’t do, teach (or coach)”? How many times have you said it, or thought it? I think we all probably have at some point in our lives. Except for those who know early on that what they want to do is teach or coach. They […]

Which do you fear more, failure or mediocrity?

What motivational methods make some of you cringe (or worse)? This is one of the questions that Dan Pink posed to the group participating in his live chat at The Book Club on the New Yorker. In response to the “Don’t make mistakes because I (mgr,owner, boss) will think less of you” motivational method, he said: […]

Rework (a review)

Rework is my kind of book. Written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson from 37Signals, it has several chapters  made up of a bunch of short essays (most less than two pages) that each dive into a very specific idea or question related to the chapter. And pictures, lots of pictures. Much of the content […]

A checklist for checklists

It’s easy to say, “Make a checklist for your complex process and use it”. It’s another thing altogether to actually make a checklist that is good and that works. One of the things that I like most about The Checklist Manifesto is that it recognizes and addresses the challenges inherent in designing a good checklist. […]

Simplifying the execution of complexity

My review of Atul Gawande’s latest book The Checklist Manifesto focused, by design, on the broad scope of the book. Within that “big picture” lesson, though, are many smaller, more specific lessons to be learned. For example: No, the real lesson is that under conditions of true complexity – where the knowledge required exceeds that […]

Navigating complexity with checklists (a book review)

Atul Gawande’s latest book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right is an incredible book that I highly recommend to anyone that works in a complex environment, especially if that involves working with multi-discipline teams. And most especially if this involves frequently working with people you have never worked with before. I picked the […]

The futility – and value – of planning

In his recent article Planning is very important…. It doesn’t work, Jack Vinson has this insight into planning: If they hadn’t planned, there is no chance they would have been able to accomplish what they wanted to do.  At the same time, if they had decided that the plan was exactly what they were going […]