Losing Track Of How Your System Works

The ability to automate, dig deep, pre-sort, evaluate, chew, swallow, and spit out decisions without really understanding the implications or assumptions hard-wired in the set-up can be a rather large problem. A recent Wall Street Journal article by David Wessel about the use (overuse?) of software to screen job candidates got me to thinking about the costs of overly picky employment systems. What’s the problem with that?  So concerned with weeding out false positives, false negatives are likely going through the roof.  False postives cost a firm money in lost productivity and the cost of replacing a failed hire. I worry more about false negatives. What’s the cost of a false negative? The opportunity cost of not hiring someone who would have been stellar. Non-conformists, radical thinkers, creative types often don’t fit the jobs they excel in, but often are exactly the kind of thinking that invigorates corporate process. Applicants … Continue reading

I Bought Something At JC Penney

Less cluttered aisles. “I’m getting the best price,” feeling. Seemed to be a change in mix, but I really wouldn’t know. ‘Cause it was the first time I had bought something at JC Penney in several years, best as I can recall. I like not having to deal with feeling I’m getting gypped just because I don’t have a coupon. Lord knows I won’t go into Bed Bath & Beyond without my mailer for $5 off. They give me the feeling that if I don’t have a coupon I’m paying too much. The way things were priced at JC Penney made me feel warm and fuzzy. The categories – everyday, monthlong values & best prices – felt like a promise that tomorrow I wouldn’t regret the deal I got. The store I was at felt perkier. Livelier. It made the product seem better. The shoe sales folk were available and … Continue reading

The Importance of What You Measure

I’ve often found that questioning basic assumptions and measurements can be a powerful way for organizations to re-energize. The adage ‘you get what you measure’ holds power. Which is why the Wall Street Journal’s report “The Simple Idea That Is Transforming Health Care” caught my eye this morning. Asking health questions through the lens of ‘Quality of Life’ provides different answers and different perspectives than ‘How Can I Fix You.’  Curative issues still rise to the top, but how they are addressed may fundamentally change in ways that may save money or may simply change lives. Thought it was worth more than a tweet…  

Leadership on a Cliff

What was a harrowing descent had just become worse, the steep scree slope ended in a cliff of unknown dimensions. We had all bought into our guide’s decision to take the short-cut. Down was bad. Now we had to go back up. (from events recounted below…) Leadership fascinates me. Of course, recommended flavors and real life often don’t seem to line up as neatly as rah-rah management guides try to make us believe. While it would be nice to think that every successful conclusion was due to good leadership and every failure was due to bad, the lessons tend to be individualistic, full of false positives and negatives. Often the ability of followers to succeed in spite of leadership inanities is a more fascinating process question. That’s why it was refreshing to see that the 8 management points (and 3 pitfalls) put forward by Google appeared to be good common … Continue reading