Showing posts from 2014

Why smart people get depressed, and what you can do about it

About a week ago I posted an article on the IHM Business School blog about an important, but very taboo subject.  At more than 15,000 unique page views the first few days, it is probably the most read article I have ever written. With more than 130 comments on the IHM Blog, it is certainly the most discussed. I was amazed, not only that the article arose such interest, but of the very thoughtful responses, and how many people that have had similar experiences. Leif Claesson, one of the commenters, even took the trouble to translate the article into English. Because of the interest in the original article, I am publishing Leif's translation here. Here is a link to the original article on the IHM Business School blog . --- This was a very difficult article to write. If you prefer reading easy pieces regarding easy subjects, you should skip this one. Robin Williams recent suicide, received a lot of coverage. The speculations with regards to why one of the world’s most gif

The Lost World – A vacation project

I recently had to jump head first from a cliff to escape a T-Rex. I am on vacation, and I can't stand having nothing to do, so, I decided to run a little vacation project. Because I am interested in photography, never outgrew my fascination with dinosaurs, and read the occasional comic, I decided on a Lost World photo comic project. If you are into management, I highly recommend running a non-profit, all volonteer project now and then. Because people won't get paid in coin, you have to do something else: You have to make it interesting and educational. You also have to find the right people: People who share your interests. Preferably people who get a bit obsessed when they are doing something interesting. They need to be creative, and learners willing to try new things. Oh, and they have to be able to work well together. The Plan: The Lost World Running from dinosaurs When I was a child I read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book The Lost World  ( Wikipedia a

Management models - Why they are useful

Put yourself in the shoes of a CEO. What is your primary goal? There are many different ideas about that, but I like this one: To ensure that the organisation can survive and thrive on its own terms! Not my idea by the way, but the idea of Colonel John Boyd, U.S. Air Force. No matter what goal you, as the CEO of your organisation, subscribe to, you have a problem: How do you make the organisation move in the right direction? One of your most important tools is the set of managers in the organisation. According to Gallup, companies recruit the wrong kind of talent for management jobs 82% of the time . Why is that? Gallup puts it down to failure to identify the right personality traits, or talent. Though that is probably true, it is unlikely to be the whole truth. There is another thing that matters: Skill matters ! Talent alone won't make a manager great, or even good. Talent is just a measure of the aptitude a person has for a certain kind of tasks. To be good at

Training makes all the difference!


Coffee, LEGO movies, questionnaires, and complexity theory

I recently had a cup of coffee with a friend, and the discussion turned to the difference between complicated and complex , and why the difference is important. I have had reason to think about that recently, so I had a couple of examples fresh in my mind, both relating to questionnaires and surveys. As it turns out, many questionnaires you are asked to fill out have a common design mistake: The assumption that the subject under investigation is complicated, rather than complex. It is an easy mistake to make. The result is increased risk that the survey points you in the wrong direction. Let's briefly define what we are talking about before digging in to the meat of the matter: Complicated systems have many parts, but they also have predictable cause and effect relationships. For example, a mechanical watch is complicated. It is also predictable. It runs like...well, it runs like clockwork. Complex systems have parts that can adapt to the behavior of other pa

Systems archetype: Success to the Successful

The Success to the Successful  systems archetype explains how very small differences, and random factors, can lead to one actor in a system to be hugely more successful than other actors: how monopolies are created why income is so unevenly distributed in many countries why success in the school system leads to success later in life how Microsoft became dominant in the software market ...and many other phenomena. Success to the Successful provides an explanation model for the Pareto Principle , the observation that in many systems, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. To understand the causal loop diagram above: Assume that you have two actors A and B. A and B compete for resources. A and B may start out being equal. That is, there may be no observable difference that would give either a competitive advantage. As long as the system is perfectly balanced, nothing interesting happens, but, if there is a random event that either favors A, or hamper

Conflict resolution - Perhaps we should be more childish!

It is natural to want to avoid conflict, but it may not be the best way. You may be surprised to learn who had the courage to stand up in the face of anger and constructively work to resolve a conflict, and who had not. (Photo: Henrik Mårtensson Yep, that's me. Model: Ida Stranne.) You should not decide until you have heard what both have to say. –Aristophanes, c. 446 AD – c. 386 AD I have seen two interesting cases of conflict resolution recently, showing off two very different methods of resolving conflicts. Even more interesting than the different approaches, is who chose which approach. Read on, you will be surprised, or maybe not. Case 1: Scream and make up In the first case, two people worked together on building something, but they had different ideas, and constantly got in each other's way. They took a break, and decided to go out together, to let their tempers cool off. When they came back, the conflict had escalated to the point where they were screami