Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife by John Nagl uncovers common themes for effectively dealing with insurgent or non-conventional warfare.
One of the great regrets of my life is not having served in the military. I've become painfully aware of my lack of service since moving to the D.C. area, where it feels like everyone is either active duty or retired military or a "defense contractor" or an FBI/Secret Service agent. They're all way way … Continue reading Fortune Favors the Offensive: 5 Principles of speed and aggression from history’s greatest generals
How do middle class people of the developed world keep the edge, work ethic, and values their immigrant ancestors had? How do we develop mental toughness?
In 1519 Hernán Cortés the Conquistador led a flotilla of 11 ships to the eastern shores of Mexico against the direct orders of his superiors. You see, power and hubris had driven Cortés mad, and whether he realized it or not (everyone else did), his mutinous power quest, fueled by bloodlust, was indeed insane. Cortés' fleet would … Continue reading Strategy: Cortez the Killer
Jack and I watched this movie called Tortuga, about an adorable sea turtle's journey from birth through adulthood. The movie starts on a beach where adult female sea turtles have dug hundreds of nests in the sand, each containing up to two-hundred eggs. Thousands of eggs simultaneously hatch. The infant turtles instinctively dash for the … Continue reading Not All the Turtles Make it to the Sea
Manager is a just a made up word. Supposedly a manager is a person who controls a portion of a business, but you and I know this is silly, and not a real thing. Any control this person has is an illusion. People don't act because the person called their manager told them to. People … Continue reading Management Skills: There’s No Such Thing As ‘Manager’
The greatest trick Waste ever pulled was convincing the Organization it didn't exist. Waste does not look like an enemy, it appears as a friend-in-need. Waste is the extra team member that can lighten the load. Waste is just one more meeting, spreadsheet, or status report that makes bosses feel good. Waste gives us a … Continue reading The Temptation of Waste and The Fall of Organizations
The other day I read this Wall Street Journal article called "Smarter Ways to Discipline Children." The article advocates the parent management strategy outlined by Dr. Alan E. Kazdin in his famous book The Kazdin Method. Basically the doctors and researchers discussed in the article have found that the only effective way to get desirable … Continue reading Management Skills: Praise and Positive Feedback
None of the unemployed people I have met over the past few years expected to be unemployed. They didn't think their company would ever go out of business or their boss would actually fire them or the new job they had lined up would fall through after they already burned their bridge behind them. Some … Continue reading Career Survivalism: A guide to surviving an economic apocalypse
Kids are generally thought of as little career killers for their parents. I can understand why. Kids take up a lot of a parent's time with their need for attention and supervision, and time is a manager's most valuable and scarcest resource. Kids can also be unpredictable and cause their mom or dad to miss … Continue reading Having Kids Won’t Kill Your Career, But Seeking Work/Life Balance Might
I have a tendency to judge others against a perfect version of themselves. I assume people are capable of perfection, and I expect to find everyone virtuously sprinting towards perfection. Expecting perfection from direct reports can be a good habit for a manager. A boss with perfection as a standard can replace a culture of … Continue reading Expecting Perfection is an Imperfect Strategy
The other day a new guy asked me, "Can you give me some tips?" I think he wanted me to give him one of those top ten lists, you know, the ten simple things you need to do to be a great manager. There is such a thing as a stupid question. If you're … Continue reading The Top 10 Tips For Being A Great Manager (Not Really)
"Let's get the burrito bowls again. You go first," I said to my wife. We were at Chipotle, a burrito bar restaurant for the millionth time. "Brown or white rice?" asked the burrito barista. "Ummm. ... ... No rice." My wife finally answered. "Black or pinto beans?" "I don't know. What do we normally get?" … Continue reading Management Skills: Decision Making
I read this Newsweek article called "Is the Internet Making Us Crazy" last week. It's about how people are becoming more addicted to the web, digital devices, and screens in general. I am one of these people. I think I may spend around eleven hours each day looking at a screen. In the morning my eyes … Continue reading Screen Addiction
Why do we experience time in one direction? In other words, why do we remember the past, and know nothing about the future? And why is it a complete certainty that my company and your company will some day go out of business?