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Reviews – Articles

Why Boards Go Wrong: “It’s the Group, Stupid!”

Run on East Side Bank, N.Y. 1912 February 16. Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

Back in 2005, the Brooklyn Law Review published the papers from the Corporate Misbehavior by Elite Decision-Makers Symposium, which Brooklyn Law School apparently held. Harvard’s Rakesh Khurana & Katharina Pick contributed a social-psychological look at how boards of directors of corporations can go wrong through social or group processes and how the current spate of “control the directors”…

McKinsey on how companies spend money

Stack of golden George Washington dollar coins,. (c) 2007 Bill Koslosky, MD (CC BY 2.5)

From “How Companies Spend Their Money” [PDF] (McKinsey Global Survey)

A survey of executives from around the world highlights how frequently — and why — a company’s resource allocation decisions go wrong.

Companies start off well, respondents say: senior executives are heavily involved in these decisions and routinely assess the prior performance of business units and the valu…

7 Decision Making Approaches: EMPIRICIST

Empiricists love data. Lots of data.

Empiricists love data. Lots of data.Warren Kinston and Jimmy Algie posited that there are seven, and only seven, unique mindsets or approaches humans use when making decisions about action. This is conscious decision, not simply unconscious reaction based on stimula-response.I’ve got the full article available, although the quality is wanting. (See [2])

Warren Kinston and Jimmy Algie weren’t a…

Why the iPhone Design Wouldn’t Have Flown With Another Firm

Epipremnum pinnatum (refused entry sticker on box). (c) Forest & Kim Starr. (CC BY 3.0)

SmartPlanet’s Andrew Nusca interviewe MAYA Design’s chief, Mickey McManus. McManus had some interesting things to say about making things so easy that they were intuitive, so easy that the user becomes “smug”:

We have a graph we write out. On one end is the customer that apologizes or make excuses. At the other end of the spectrum is smug. We want users to be smug. We’ll paper prototype it, then we’ll Wizard of Oz prototype it. After a few iterations, they’re smug. “This is so obvious, I don’t need to say it out loud.” And we want that.

If you think about it, this is something that Hidden High Potentials do regularly. (More on that below.) What’s even more interesting is his discussion of the Command & Control for the US Army. [full post]

Incompetence Makes Bosses Bully

Defense.gov News Photo 120324-M-AV740-001 by Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook, U.S. Marine Corps (2012)

Research published this month “examine[s] the effects of self-perceptions of incompetence on power holders’ tendency to aggress.” Or, why bully bosses are likely to be incompetent at their role. [Full Post]

Being Happy Makes You Less Productive. Sometimes.

Suck My Kiss by Jan Tik. CC BY 2.0

Happy workers are better workers, right? Nope. At least not all the time. And maybe not even most of the time. Find out why. [Full Post]

Optimists Get Better At Predicting Performance Over Time

Aberdeen Angus im Gadental an den Steilhängen des Muttawangjoch oder auch Mutterwangjoch genannt. Im Hintegrund die Südflanke des Feuerstein 2271m. (c) Böhringer Friedrich (CC BY-SA 3.0 AT)

The old research has been pretty consistent: optimists are lousy at predicting what will really happen because they always assume “happy day”. But no one has ever seen how optimists predictions change as they get more information.

Until now.

A recent study (currently a working paper) tracked MBA students performance predictions across semesters…. [Full post]

Treat Your Boss Like a Baboon in a Cage

Dan & Chip Heath talk about how to use animal training techniques to “train” your boss. Unfortunately, it’s more than a bit simple minded. There are better techniques for manipulating your boss, all that take advantage of deep human patterns. Click through for the link.

Barbara Fredrickson Talks Positivity on WUNC

Alicia recommended this NPR show in a comment on “Unhappy? Stop Trying to be Happier!”. It wasn’t podcasted yet, but is now.

If you missed it, like I did, here it is, with no added commentary from me. (Maybe later: I need to get through it.) But feel free to comment if you learn something important.

Young Stars vs. Systematic Innovators

Man drawing complex diagrams on whiteboard. (c) alphaspirit. Shutterstock.

The Young Genius vs. Old Master ideas of David Galenson, professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. Probably a pretty straight-forward idea but one that troubles the fields of art and economics both. Hidden high potentials are often systematic innovators, and since these are less valued in our society, there are interesting implications.

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