October 2020 – on job candidates, stock & flow, confidence, and lessons from jazz

I took part in a challenge to produce a blogpost every day for the month of October. I did this to remind the perfectionist in me that sometimes good enough is good enough. Here are some of this month’s posts:

The job candidate selection process is a fail. Try this. – There was a story in the FT about a hiring process that boosts diversity and it reminded me of a practice that the owner of a large engineering firm shared with me a few years back.

Questions for the end of the day – If you keep a journal or you like to take a few minutes to ponder or review.

On the opposite of confidence – Seth Godin writes about marketing and “the new economy” and Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a unique thinker who brought our attention to Black Swans and the concept of antifragility. I pit them against each other to conclude that there is something stronger than confidence.

The most powerful animating force of creativity – It’s not about how to be creative. That’s simple enough. It’s about what you do with your ideas. And, as a manager, what you let people do with their ideas.

Stock and flow – One is a stream and the other one is durable. One is the treadmill that never stops and the other one is, well, steady. The distinction applies to many things: energy, time, projects, ideas, etc. Sacrifice neither.

Financial autonomy – In the course of this past month I was invited to comment on de-growth, the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) movement, and the triple bottom-line approach. As I looked back on what I said on all three, there emerged something of a first principle – applicable to all three and to several aspects of one’s life.

A lesson form jazz legend Miles Davis – It applies to how we deal with mistakes as well as how we coordinate as a team.

We can overcome our empathy deficit – After months of covid-19 we are still not sensitive to the realities of people around us. Scientific American identifies ways to remedy this.

U.S. workers did not share in the growth of the economy of the last forty years – The median income for all adults in 1975 was $42,000. If that income had grown at the same pace as the economy the median workers’ income would have reached $92,000 in 2018. It grew to $50,000. Their income growth captured only 17% of the growth that occurred in the whole economy. If you earned $133,000 in 2018, you should have been earning $168,000. You captured only two thirds.

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