Hey Lorne Rubis blog fans!
Please enjoy the latest episode of The Culture Cast podcast to help you get you in the best mindset to start off the week!
Have a great week,
Key Point: Thinking exclusively in straight lines gets in the way of innovative and exponential performance. A brilliant article by Bart de Langhe, Stefano Putoni, and Richard Larrick appeared in the May/June, 2017 issue the Harvard Business Review. Their conclusion:
“In recent years a number of professions, including ecologists, physiologists, and physicians, have begun to routinely factor nonlinear relationships into their decision making. But nonlinearity is just as prevalent in the business world as anywhere else. It’s time that management professionals joined these other disciplines in developing greater awareness of the pitfalls of linear thinking in a nonlinear world. This will increase their ability to choose wisely—and to help the people around them make good decisions too “
To make their point, they invite readers to test their linear thinking on the following puzzle:
“Imagine you’re responsible for your company’s car fleet. You manage two models, an SUV that gets 10 miles to the gallon and a sedan that gets 20. The fleet has equal numbers of each, and all the cars travel 10,000 miles a year. You have enough capital to replace one model with more-fuel-efficient vehicles to lower operational costs and help meet sustainability goals.
Which upgrade is better?
Intuitively, option B seems more impressive—an increase of 30-MPG is a lot larger than a 10-MPG one. And the percentage increase is greater, too. But B is not the better deal. In fact, it’s not even close.
Shockingly, upgrading fuel efficiency from 20 to 100-MPG still wouldn’t save as much gas as upgrading from 10 to 20-MPG.
But choosing the lower-mileage upgrade remains counterintuitive, even in the face of the visual evidence. It just doesn’t feel right. If you’re still having trouble grasping this, it’s not your fault. Decades of research in cognitive psychology show that the human mind struggles to understand nonlinear relationships. Our brain wants to make simple straight lines.”
If you want the full-Monty on this concept, please read the entire article. I see the stubbornness of linear thinking in people all the time. However, the fact that our brain wants us to keep things on the “straight and narrow” can often hamper our ability to really challenge, experiment and explore. A non-linear thinker tends to embrace a myriad of unrelated thoughts that somehow connect in ways that might otherwise not have been evident. We know the world is getting faster, and more complex. As leaders, we have to intentionally nurture non-linear thinking within others and ourselves to discover novel approaches to daunting opportunities.
Non-Linear in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: As the HBR article above states, it’s easier said than done, but tackling something from a new and different angle seems to be one of the greatest weapons Millennials have to make waves in a world that ceremoniously and uncreatively “re-tweets.” Go ahead, call another situation “____gate.” Photoshop another “Crying Jordan” meme for something obvious. Your initial results and “likes” might be gratifying, but in my opinion it’s so tired. Can’t we think a little non-linear and do a lot better than that?
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis
Key Point: Acting with abundance is a way of life and in my view, THE only way. Those of you that have read my book “The Character Triangle,” are aware that I emphasized this vital value of “Abundance,” seven years ago when I first wrote about it. It was very gratifying to attend Singularity University in Silicon Valley last week and to see the slide presented in the photo below. Singularity is a powerful voice of influence and impact regarding exponential thinking and adaptability performance. Organizations setting a breakthrough pace in the world are truly exponentially better than competitors. Abundance is a key value underlying Singularity and a necessary foundation for exponential performance. Note the way Singularity compares Scarcity versus Abundance:
I particularly want to point out the bottom column comparing thinking small versus having a 10x mindset. Scarcity people scoff at the idea of thinking 10x. They feel it’s unrealistic and get hung up on how literal the idea is, rather than accepting the “moonshot” inspiration as an accelerant. Subsequently, scarcity people get exactly what they think; small improvements of “sameness,” often copying whatever industry practice prevails. This leaves a big “hole” for a competitor, typically a disruptor, to find that innovative breakthrough. They bring the 10x thinking to life and all the “sameness” people stand together watching.
Always Abundant in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: What a great comparative slide from Singularity University. It’s amazing how one could ever choose Scarcity over Abundance when the differences are that clear, but obviously many organizations do. If these were applied to personality traits, which person would you like to have dinner with? The Scarcity minded person, or the Abundance minded person? I’m making reservations with Abundance every time.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis
Key Point: The ability to shift perspective is better than being smart. That’s the view expressed by Astro Teller, the leader who runs Google’s moonshot business, X. Chris McQueen, another Googler and the guy who leads Google’s Innovation lab, heads many of Google’s transformation and ideation sessions out of the famous “Google Garage.” He deftly makes this “perception” point by telling a story he shared with a number of us fortunate enough to spend a day with him this past week.
A friend of McQueen’s is a crazy gear head and wanted to share that enthusiasm with his newborn infant by immediately hanging a car themed mobile over the crib. Surely the little one would be excited to view these bright, shiny vehicles and quickly begin a shared paternal love for the automobile. Much to his friend’s chagrin, the baby just never seemed to show any interest in the colorful, beautiful mobile. One day, the dad bent down to make up the crib and happened to see what the mobile looked like from the baby’s perspective. He was shocked to observe that instead of ogling, cooing, inspiring cars, the toys looked like a bunch of intertwined, unattractive sticks. It was nothing like the view from the top of the crib, or even from the side. His friend realized that the mobile was essentially for him and not at all interesting from the baby’s point of view. Hmm.
This simple, yet impactful little story reminds us when we want to deliver something of meaning to others, we have to be sure that we are looking from the perspective of the receiver or user. Otherwise, the service or product we offer is more often about us than them. During his workshops, McQueen emphasizes the only real way to deeply understand and achieve this valued actionable viewpoint, is to connect the user and their needs through observation and data. Doing this well results in actionable insight from the users’ perspective. This is often easier said than done and usually requires iterative work, including fast prototyping and testing before we invest (regardless of how well intended or how strongly we believe in our interpretation).
While I’m sharing “McQueen Nuggets,” I thought I’d provide another represented in his San Francisco “pothole” story. Chris asked us how we would prioritize fixing ALL the potholes in San Francisco (or any other place for that matter). This is under the assumption that it is not practical, feasible or economical to fix all of them at once. The obvious thing is to fill in the big ones that could cause harm or damage to people and transport. However, the next logical place would be to repair the holes that experience the most traffic. This simple and helpful guide is a principle many organizations could benefit from: Map the journeys your most valuable customers take and fix every pothole where they frequently travel!
Googley in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: I think as Millennials, we thrive on user/customer generated feedback. We want to inquire about what “potholes” we can fix first. Thankfully, there’s always a great platform for this type of communication. But we also know the asphalt is always going to get torn up somehow, and need to be on the lookout. It’s a bumpy road out there, but if you learn how to navigate and adapt to the journey by asking those who frequent the commute, it’s a lot smoother.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis
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