Latest Observations

On the Uselessness of the Plan That Cannot Be Executed

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Apr 27, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

Plans can be an illusion. They represent an ideal, and they are built on the warrant that we can predict behavior, even if it is only our own (this is more difficult than it seems). To some extent, plans are necessary, but we can give them an improper mystique. A plan derives all of its value from its execution. Otherwise, it is not a plan; it is an attempt at art. If a plan's value is derived from its execution, then we should engage in the planning process only in so much as it enables execution. One moment more is waste.

On Life and the Sweet Bitter

Topic:Personal
Posted on:Apr 24, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:David J

When one has lived long enough and yet somehow maintained a grateful heart in the midst of the human condition, life itself may be thought of as bittersweet. There is the bitter, the horrific pain. There is also the sweet, the inexplicable joy. Either side of this reality can come upon one suddenly. Indeed, I am often ambushed by the bitter, but just as often I am ambushed by the sweet. I might, then, think of life as the bitter-sweet, but I choose to see it as the inverse: the sweet-bitter. This may seem like a semantic difference. It is more. It is a choice to emphasize the "sweet." It is a choice to allow one's gratitude to outweigh one's horror.

My life is sweet-bitter. 

On Communication as Playful Existence

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Apr 23, 2015
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

I am intrigued by the notion of "communication play." I somehow sense that communication itself represents essence in existence, that communication is a form of predication. I also sense that there is a need for multiple approaches. I want to communicate methodically with structure, but I also want to preserve freeform with its transcendent leaps of insight. At times, my soul shivers with anticipation. I sense how much there is that can be said, despite all there is that cannot be said, and, in the saying, I experience the living. Life is present tense. Saying is expression. Expression is existence. 

On Oscillating Between Creativity and Intention

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Apr 22, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

The more intentional you are about what you need to say, the harder it is to say it well. Creativity is often stifled by intention. To maintain craftsmanship and the creative spirit, one must learn how to oscillate. Let the subconscious initiate and the conscious shape.

On Moderating Balance with Extremes

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Apr 21, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

Exaggeration is at the heart of artful choice. There are some decisions you cannot make until you have gone too far (at least conceptually). It occurs in design. We try to be precise with our imaginings. It occurs in pricing research. Until your experiment has taken you to the point where you are charging too much, you’ll never know if you are charging enough. The scientist and the artist alike must moderate their balance with extremes.

On Influence as a Means

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Apr 20, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Flint M

I have often said that a leader should lead with influence as opposed to authority. However, it is important to remember that the ultimate goal is not to build influence; influence is just a means to an end. More importantly, influence is an ethereal concept that approximates the way people feel toward you, which is the result of the way you treat people. The way you should treat people is not governed by your desire, but it should be governed by your values. Influence is not the goal; it is a natural result. Furthermore, influence is not the end because the end is not popularity; it is achievement. Every leader should ask three questions: What is the extent of my influence?  What is the source of my influence?  What is or will be the result of my influence? 

On Consciousness as the Knowing of My “Knowing”

Topic:Personal
Posted on:Apr 17, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

Somehow my (self)consciousness seems as though it is more than a unity of subject and object. When I dream (or when I am on the edge of sleep), my thoughts are projected in images. Some of these images are extraordinary. I say extraordinary because they are visually so different from what is happening in the mental. Different or not, they are connected. It is as if my rational becomes visual. (Is this symbiosis at the root of art? Was Schiller correct? Is art the highest expression?)

Is consciousness the knowing of my "knowing"? Is there a lesser state that is delineated by degrees of the same? Or is it wholly other in its classification? My consciousness seems a doubling of myself. It is self, knowing self. Consciousness is viewed within context, but does consciousness change when I reflect upon myself? At this point, my subjective becomes my objective. I am both subject and object. Is this a unity, or does it only seem to be a unity?

I’m asking many questions, but some of these are not questions. They are answers disguised as questions. I worry over my plurality. I fear my plurality could be confused with unity. Unity is the one; plurality is the aggregate. Unity may be reconsidered as a compound noun, and in this form, it betrays its disguise. With this disguise, the knowing of my "knowing" may be perceived as an infinite loop. 

On Mistaking Patent Inability for Profound Expression

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Apr 16, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

Do not mistake arrogance for confidence. This leads to a plethora of horrific artistic expression. A person without confidence tends to be one of two extremes: They are either too tentative, or they are too arrogant.

In a pluralistic society, we are afraid to say what we know deep inside. If you cannot draw or paint, please do not call what you produce "modern." You are not special, and you are not genius. You are passing off your patent inability as profound expression. Don’t fool us, and don’t be fooled. The only thing worse than deceiving us is deceiving yourself. 

On Leaders and the Danger of Focusing on the Particular

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Apr 15, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

Effective leaders have a distinct ability to view the panorama and not just the particular. Indeed, they use the particular to better understand the panorama.

People in authority, who are not true leaders, are always focused on the particular. Much of the literature on management is focused on the particular. Indeed, some of the best writing about execution drills down into the sequencing of the particular.

The leader cannot avoid the particular. Indeed, without the particular, the leader cannot grasp the panorama. However, the effective leader brings to an organization more than a view of the future; he brings a view of the whole. 

On Achieving a False Equilibrium

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Apr 14, 2015
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:David J

As human beings we are by nature challenged with internal conflict. This conflict manifests itself in multiple forms, but perhaps the most essential is our struggle between right and wrong - at least as we perceive it. The challenge can emerge as a battle. Over the years the battle wears us down. True peace might come if the good or the right defeats the bad or the wrong. As time passes, this seems impossible.

We then approximate a truce. We accept the measure of the wrong, and try to hold on to a measure of the right. With this acceptance comes a sense of peace. One must be careful with this approach. Is this peace or just a resignation to death?