“Science Gone Wrong”?

By Guy Higgins

I’ve just finished reading a book by Dr. Paul Offit, Pandora’s Lab (Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong). The seven stories (and they actually are well told stories) capture the histories of seven episodes involving science. Those episodes, in order, cover:

  • The centuries-long creation of the opioid epidemic
  • The decades-long creation of the trans fat health hazard
  • The two sides of the discovery of a way to make atmospheric nitrogen chemically useable
  • The lengthy history of how genetics begat eugenics (simplistically, the idea that “inferior” humans should not have children)
  • The decades-long rise and fall of surgical lobotomies
  • The forty-year creation of an epidemic that has killed millions of people
  • The continuing health risks created when genius colors outside the lines

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A Booming Market for Fitness Trainers

By Guy Higgins

I completed a full workout this morning, and I feel like a spent round. I’m tired, and I can feel all the muscles I used. It was a hard and satisfying workout. I gained benefit from the entire workout even though I had to force myself to complete all the reps in all the sets. While I don’t work with a personal trainer, there are half a dozen or so trainers at my gym, and they always seem to be busy. Personal trainers aren’t cheap – they charge about as much as master plumbers. Why do people hire personal trainers when they can go to the library and check out a book on fitness that tells you everything that the trainer will tell you? Good question. Continue reading

What If You Are the Smartest…

By Guy Higgins

I recently read an article, How the “World’s Greatest Coach” Influentially Leads Generation Z, about the Duke men’s basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski. A slight tangent here – the article says, “He is the winningest Division I basketball coach of all-time with over 1,020 game wins as a head coach.” While I like Coach K a lot, he is not (yet) the “winningest coach” in college basketball. That honor belongs to the late Pat Summit (who died young at 64 from early onset Alzheimer’s Disease) whose record, coaching the Tennessee women’s team is currently 78 wins ahead of Coach K. That was just to set the record straight. Continue reading

MBAs, Margarine and Statistics

By Guy Higgins

Okay, so I’m wired differently than a lot of people, but I just finished reading three articles that I think tell pieces of a very important message.

As leaders, we need to understand the tools that we have available to us – to both use ourselves and to provide to our various teams to enable them to succeed. I think that those tools include: Continue reading

The Case Against Preparedness

By Guy Higgins

The U.S. Coast Guard’s motto is “Semper Paratus.” For those of you who did not take Latin from Sister Mary Attila the Hun and therefore don’t remember your Latin, that translates as “Always Prepared.” I think that’s an excellent motto and one that we should all embrace as leaders and as individuals. I suspect that most people will agree that preparedness is a good idea – until they contemplate actually preparing. It’s the old saw about alligators and the swamp. Over the past several years, we’ve encountered a number of reasons for taking care of the urgent business of today before taking care of preparing for tomorrow. I’m going to take a look at some of those reasons – at the case against preparedness. Continue reading

Common Traits of Great Leadership

By Guy Higgins

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently The Seven Secrets of Great Team Captains. I came across it in Apple News under the title of You’re Picking The Wrong Team Leaders. That was the title that grabbed my attention because I think we often pick the wrong team leaders. In fact, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) just published an article The Difference Between Great Leaders and Good Ones (for the record, the author defined “good” in moral or ethical terms – not quality terms). That article described a great leader as one (my interpretation) with enormous charisma and high energy (acknowledging that such a leader could lead to ethically or morally good or bad goals). The WSJ article flatly contradicted that implication. So, I’m going to look at the seven leaders that the WSJ used as exemplars of great team captains (who were, in these cases, great leaders). Continue reading

Taking a Strain

By Guy Higgins

The phrase “take a strain” has come to mean doing the difficult work, but it harks back to the distant past with ships mooring to a dock or pier (or even a quay) in a harbor. In that sense, it meant ensuring that the mooring lines remained taut so that the ship would not move with waves and rub against or even crash into the dock/pier/quay, damaging the hull. It also meant that the crew needed to continually monitor the mooring lines and adjust them as the tide ebbed and flowed.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I just read an article on cyber security that made me think about “taking a strain.” The article reported on a survey conducted by a cyber security firm. The survey found that 35 percent of cyber security professionals admitted to skipping or sidestepping their own security protocols. National Institute of Standards and Technology cyber security personnel speculate that “security fatigue” is a contributing factor. The crew is tired and the mooring lines don’t seem to be under strain here. The organization is at risk of crashing into something, and leadership (the captain or the bosun or somebody!) needs to focus the crew and pay attention. Continue reading

Thinking

By Guy Higgins

I read a couple of different and interesting articles recently:

The titles for these two articles are likely to create a question in the minds of the Noble Reader, “What the heck do these have in common?” Continue reading

More on that Cognitively Diverse “Elephant”

By Guy Higgins

Last week, I wrote (yet again – seems to be a favorite subject) about cognitive diversity and the potential to improve performance by putting it to work. This week, I’m going to “talk” about where we can actually leverage cognitive diversity and how we might do that.

First, I want to do a bit of exploring – where might cognitive diversity actually deliver value? As I thought about trying to discuss the subject of where cognitive diversity can contribute to improved performance, I discovered that that is a harder question than I initially thought it would be. Caveat – the following thoughts are (pretty much) all my own. Continue reading

The Six Hundred Pound (Diverse) Elephant

By Guy Higgins

Focusing on What Works for Workplace Diversity, an article recently published by McKinsey, discusses approaches for increasing (in this specific case) gender diversity in the workplace. Similarly, Damien Hooper-Campbell, the Chief Diversity Officer for eBay, spoke at a conference about how to increase diversity in the workplace.

The McKinsey article briefly mentions the correlation between (identity) diversity and performance right at the beginning and then promptly ignores how that improved performance might be achieved, focusing, instead, on developing ways to eliminate unconscious bias in the hiring process. Eliminating biases is good and it should pay off for any company successful in eliminating (or at least reducing those biases). Continue reading