Featured Content

The Marketer as Philosopher: by Flint McGlaughlin

"Asking 'how' leads to information; asking 'why' leads to wisdom." This is the essence of Dr. Flint McGlaughlin's book, The Marketer as Philosopher.

After twenty five years of asking "why" to a single question and testing his hypotheses using the web as a living laboratory, McGlaughlin has released a collection of his findings. These 40 brief reflections unfold in a series of layers that suggest a new framework and theory of messaging.

For more information, you can visit www.meclabs.com/mapbook

Latest Observations

On Leadership and Assessing Risk in New Hires

Topic:Interviews Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Jun 20, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

When the leader places someone in a strategic position, the first question they should ask is not the standard question: is this the right hire? But rather a more nuanced question: will this new hire do harm? This second question helps us assess risk. Here is the challenge: those who can do really well are those who can also cause serious harm. So, the leader needs to determine how big a change is needed (and change is always needed, even if it is just improvement) before they determine who they should empower to make that change. There is an inverse relationship between risk and reward with every hire.

On Love and the Three-Word Promise that Preserves Relationships

Topic:Personal
Posted on:Jun 19, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The three-word promise, “I love you” can start a relationship, but only the three-word promise, “in spite of” preserves a relationship. Transcendent love moves from proclamation, through explanation, to a point where it can only achieve description. It moves beyond reason, it defies explanation. At its height, all that is possible is an inadequate, but beautiful description.

On Leadership and the Essential Elements of a Good Strategy

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Jun 9, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The artful leader develops strategy with four key insights in mind:

1. A good strategy mitigates its downside. Great leaders don’t take enormous risks unless they must. They instinctually work with a cognitive heuristic: X/Y, wherein "X" equals achievement and "Y" equals risk.

2. A good strategy works across an adjustable timeframe. Most strategic plans are developed with a static mindset but executed within a dynamic context.

3. A good strategy allows the leader to “test their way in.” One of the most important ways to mitigate risk is to discipline it with increments.

4. A good strategy is dependent upon a good strategist. Don’t build your work around your plan; build your work around the man (or the woman). A quality strategist is more important than an accurate strategy. 

On The Illusion of Optionality

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Jun 7, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The artful leader does not mistakenly equate the number of options with freedom. The inverse is true; the number of options can produce restrictions on freedom. Sometimes the limited quantity of time and the limited quantity of information mean that the more choice, the less freedom. Decision nodes square complexity.

On Leadership and the Viscosity of Candor

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:May 31, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

As a leader, I am fascinated by the notion of viscosity. We create giant machines built of strong materials (steel, titanium), and yet, these machines for all their strength, will cease to function if not properly lubricated. Oil has no tensile strength, and yet, our great engines depend upon it. This is an important observation for the leader. It is dangerous to build great organizations, great productivity machines, without carefully ensuring they are “well lubricated.” The viscosity of candor is necessary, or the powerful “engines” of our enterprise may “seize” up.

On the Beauty and the Horror of Life

Topic:Personal Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:May 26, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Those who try to fathom life cannot truly understand until they have joined those who sing the song of grief. It is a chorus that all must one day join. When those whom you love the most have gone, when you finally realize what you’re losing with time, when the beauty of existence is finally accompanied by its own horror; only then do you know how to invest your fleeting moments, precious and few though they are… 

On the Difference between being “Male” and “Man”

Posted on:May 25, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Never confuse being male with being a man. The former is a biological definition; the latter is a spiritual definition. The defining characteristic of a man is his willingness to bear responsibility. Integrity is important, but it is part of being responsible for your words and your deeds. Men carry the responsibility as it relates to whom they become, and they carry responsibility as it relates for whom they care. 

On Leadership and the Art of Peaceful Paranoia

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:May 24, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

An artful leader embodies a contradiction of peace and paranoia. They are at peace because they maintain crystal clarity, not because they do not see problems coming. They are paranoid because they maintain aggressive vigilance, not because they do not have confidence that problems can be solved. They anticipate on two levels: the timing of a problem and the scale of the problem. And they recognize the importance of striking at the heart of the problem before it grows. An artful leader not only “sees around corners”, they “shoot around corners.”

On Leadership and Difference Between Solving Problems and Building People

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:May 23, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Some leaders use their team to solve problems, but artful leaders use problems to build their team. Solving a problem is event-focused; building is process-focused. The former achieves a one-off outcome; the latter develops a recurring (and growing) capacity. 

On Leadership and the Importance of “No”

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:May 22, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

One of the primary jobs of the leader is to say “no,” and mostly to themselves. We trap ourselves with seemingly harmless commitments. Beware of parallel energy streams; six parallel streams of energy will never be as powerful as six stacked streams. Intensify, do not proliferate.