Thursday, August 20, 2020

Who can resist a list? Hammer and Sickle

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” 

― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

10 Learnings from March 15 to August 15.


·            Forget the new normal.  Welcome to the New Abnormal.

·            There will be no going back to work.  We have to find a New Way Forward.  (Progressive not Disruptive; we’ve had enough disruption lately!)

·            We must not waste the crisis.  We must reinvent work/life integration.

·            We are SURVIVING.  It is time to REVIVE and THRIVE.

·            We must re-invent the office.

·            Delivering more with less will be fundamental to REVIVING.

·            Connecting, Collaborating and Communicating will become critical Leadership skills.

·            Inspiring our people to Perform at Peak will be challenging in a hybrid world.

·            We must create a new way of leading which is both CARING and DEMANDING.

·            The New Way Forward will begin with a total commitment to knowing what to do (live our Purpose), followed by inventing new approaches on how to do it.


Is There A Danger In Making Fun Of Attorneys? See Also

Making Fun Of Attorneys: Why it's worse to keep 



How Thomas Cromwell used cut and paste to insert himself into Henry VIII’s Great Bible

MAKING IT HAPPEN: Analysis reveals a hitherto unknown plot by Thomas Cromwell to literally change the balance of power on the Bible’s front page, just one year before his execution for high treason.

The Internet as a Cold War Weapon Yasha Levine, Immigrants as a Weapon

Hammer and sickle sparks anger during ACT election campaign, but what does this symbol mean in 2020?

WELL, THE PUBLIC HEALTH COMMUNITY HAS SQUANDERED ITS PUBLIC TRUST ON THIS ONE, SO THEY WON’T HAVE MUCH TO WORK WITH NEXT TIME AROUND: Why Stephen Emmott fears the next pandemic could kill a billion people.And Covid-19 is a very mild pandemic disease by comparison with others that might occur. They’ve oversold it — understandable in the beginning when all we knew was that the Chinese were panicking, but not by now — and people will discount what they say next time. And yet it could be much, much worse next time.

Squandered trust is very destructive, yet such squandering is the hallmark of pretty much all of our institutions these days, worldwide. That says something unfortunate about the people who are running those institutions.

U.S. Carrier Group Conducts Operations in South China Sea Bloomberg

Trump sets deadline for sale of TikTok operations in US Financial Times

Google Has Stopped Responding To Data Requests from Hong Kong Authorities CNet

China Sets Trial Run For Digital Yuan in Top City Hubs Nikkei

Eleven tools for thinking?

 I don’t like the framing or rhetoric in these tweets, but still an interesting result

Niskanen Institute statistical portrait of the quality of government.

 Interferon therapy?

Rising number of mystery Covid cases in New Zealand.

Leon Wieseltier update

Cardboard theft

Is 2020 the year of the introvert? FT.


Five-5- Search Engines to Find More Than What Google Shows - MakeUseOf: “Google is synonymous with searching the web, but did you know there’s a lot that Google isn’t showing you? Here are some alternative search engines to search the internet in a way Google won’t. There is nothing wrong with Google Search when it comes to finding web pages. But Google can’t search within your computer and cloud accounts to find a file. Google also restricts itself to the language you’ve set. And why are we helping a corporation get bigger by handing over data in exchange for them earning ad revenue? Break the habit and try one of these search engines instead…”

Now They’re Throwing Huge Concerts in a Packed Water Park in Wuhan, China. “Note: No reported cases. That’s because the Chinese Communist Party isn’t reporting them. And the American press doesn’t point that out because they need that Chinese money. So if I go to my neighborhood Kroger without a mask, I’m a war criminal. But these folks can stand shoulder to shoulder in huge crowds and breathe all over each other, in the very city where this $#!+ started, and it’s just fine.”

The trouble with motherhood statements is that by saying nothing, they are worse than useless. The purpose of a strategy and principles is to simplify things; they give direction, set expectations and enable staff to make decisions. Rapid decision-making is a source of competitive advantage, part of the ’start-up mentality‘ that big companies are embracing. However simpering, generic statements provide none of this clarity, and so generate endless debate and navel gazing. 

Motherhood statements create no buy in among colleagues and can leave people feeling disenfranchised, because it is meaningless to them. Most dangerous of all, they provoke knee jerk reactions. As leaders begin to realise the lack of direction, they jump to solve the problem by creating greater clarity. Unfortunately this clarity usually comes in the form of a financial target, which is often arbitrary and only serves to further disenfranchise staff. 

  • ‘We define favourite through NPS, and aim to achieve industry best figures of +50’.
  • ‘We test and retest our meals in blind tasting to continuously tailor to people’s tastes’.
  • We create social ecosystems to make Maccas more like a club as a fast food joint.’

There are also plenty of examples of successful companies with great mission statements:

  • Aim high, be inspiring: ‘To be Earth’s most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online’. [Amazon]
  • Bring it to life, make it memorable:‘Don’t #@!% the Customer’ [Atlassian]. ‘When we make decisions we ask ourselves, “How will this affect our customers?” If the answer is that it would screw them over, or make life more difficult, then we need to find a better way. We want the customer to respect us in the morning’.
  • Set direction, don’t try to capture everything you do: ‘We will be the low fare airline.’ [Southwest Airlines]
  • Let people tailor it to their context:‘At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them’.
  • Keep it simple: ‘At Virgin Atlantic, our mission statement is simple. To grow a profitable airline, where people love to fly, and where people love to work.’

Some of the best advice on this subject comes from the author of the last statement, Richard Branson. In his article for the Entrepreneur website, he recommends applying the twitter test; can you summarise your mission statement in 140 characters? (let me save you the effort, Virgin Atlantic’s is exactly 139…