Fantastic Book: “How”to Generate Universal Benefits

I regularly read Thomas Friedman’s insightful and interesting NYT Column and have read many of his wonderful books. Reading his material has generated many posts, including Mimic Mother Nature to Create a New Political PartyNew Responsibilities are Opportunities, and many others.  In his column he often promotes the work of Dov Siedman and his book, “How: Why HOW You Do Anything Means Everything”. This recommendation inspired me to read his book. I was not disappointed.  Gandhi’s quote captures the book:

“To believe in something and not live it is dishonest.” – Gandhi

The book was fascinating.  Most importantly, from my perspective, he talked about optimizing the process, or finding a better HOW. From a new perspective, he explained Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s point that to get a better outcome, we must continually improve the process – the HOW!  Throughout the book he emphasizes, if you take care of the HOW, the WHAT takes care of itself, which to me is a rewording of Deming’s proclamation to continually improve the process so the product will take care of itself.

To make his point, he explains how we must build a culture to be the engine that leads to value based outcomes. Examples of cultures are markets and he made a valuable analogy about Free Markets to traffic. He made this comparison by explaining that traffic flows best and fastest when it is predictable. Traffic lights and rules such as lanes, warning signs and speed limits make traffic flow predictable. This of course also includes how neighborhoods function, such that cars, pedestrians and bikers can all make steady progress because conditions are predictable. If instead they made traffic a free for all with no regulations, not only would it be dangerous and difficult, traffic would move and function poorly. When a traffic light is out, things are uncertain and unpredictable. This condition slows and often stops forward progress. When things are unpredictable, this makes people risk averse meaning they could choose not to drive or if they do drive, progress is slow. Doing anything is a risk, if people are risk averse, things stop happening. The comparison to markets is that if people in business see an unpredictable market and they cannot reliably know if they can be successful, they may choose to do other things. In other words, a rules free market would create a culture that would likely stagnate or at least greatly diminish the market and economy.  For me this was a very powerful lesson.

He continually emphasizes making decisions on values to enable self-governance.  He demonstrates that when people enlist in values that promote the common good, rules, policies and procedures are not as needed.  He also shows that because it is impossible to make rules or procedures for everything possible, following shared values allows people and organizations to quickly and effectively adapt and make good decisions in new situations. The book reviews the HOW Leadership Framework and provides a fresh clarifying direction for people to use.

He points out the sometimes elusive nature of goals by sharing what Henry Sidgwick showed in the Paradox of Hedonism. The paradox Sidgwick explained was that if you pursue happiness directly, it eludes you. In a like manner, Seidman seems to suggest that if you pursue success directly, it will elude you.  To emphasize that better results are the by-product of better HOW’s, he explains:

…You can’t do self-improvement, but if in every email, conversation, meeting, and task you are thinking like a leader, you will improve.You can’t to tolerance, but if in every interaction you strive to fill the spaces between you and others with trust, you will get tolerance, and a whole lot more. You can’t do excellence or winning but if you believe in a set of core values and you pursue the expression of those values in everything you do, you all deliver more excellence to others…

So what does he suggest we do, he suggests we pursue significance to achieve success as a by-product of our how.  If we pursue significant, value based HOW’s, success will take care of itself!

For me, from my bias perspective, this book was a detailed explanation of HOW to Practice Paneugenesis.  In other words it was HOW you can continually improve your processes so you are able to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.  I strongly endorse this Seidman’s book, “How: Why HOW You Do Anything Means Everything”.

This post was written to help you know HOW to make it a Great Week for everyone and everything!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

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Best Practices are Contraindicated for Improvement

** Valuable input related to statistical theory was provided Allen Scott for this post

The concept of “Best Practices,” is often the well-intentioned aim of many best efforts (see We are Being Ruined by Best Intentions and Best Efforts).  Upon reflection, for several reasons, “Best practices” is contraindicated for any goal that aims to continually improve.

1.  “Best Practices” is a misnomer.  Best practices means this those practices are the standard adn are what should be done.  If not, it suggests operating procedures are being done incorrectly or have there are problematic processes.  This means implementing “Best Practices” will fix problems and get things back to where they should be.  This also means these efforts do not actually “improve.”  Our goals should be to exceed expectations – see video.

2. “Best Practices” implies an end point, that is, once the best practices are adopted – we are done.  Adopting “Best Practices” cannot lead to the best outcomes, over the longer term, because conditions constantly change and these changing conditions means practices must be continually improved.  It is for this reason, practices should be assessed or monitored using Process Behavior Charts** regularly so efforts can be continually improved.  The idea of “Best Practices” runs counter to the idea of continual improvement.

3. Best practices are always contextual, that is they depend on the circumstances.  What is being understood as best practices were best for where they were developed and used but may not apply to the situation where they are being applied.

4. Even more concerning about “Best Practices” is the idea that supposed best practices are being implemented on top of current practices before the existing processes are assessed and understood.  This means efforts could be considered full scale tampering. How could it be known whether these “Best Practices” were not already being used?  Additionally, this type of tampering is problematic because we are adjusting the processes based on the results instead of first understanding the existing process.  Tampering always results in greater variation and worse results, most notably over the longer term.

Instead, study successful practices that led to desired outcomes. In addition, at the same time, it is important to learn more about current processes to see how to improve existing efforts rather than tamper with those processes.  This can be done by conducting research and empowering those involved by getting them real-time information about relevant processes by having them Flow Chart their processes and showing them how to use process behavior charts.  This information help them understand how to improve their processes as it relates to the overall system.  Improving the system will help not only with the project at hand, it will also help the organization become a national model  because it will help the organization more effectively achieve its mission and as a by-product have higher profitability, improved employee morale, higher customer satisfaction, lower wastes and be more likely to create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Many points captured here are expressed in this updated version of the video about how to Exceed Expectations.  Enjoy.

5. If needed, here is more information about the theory of variation (statistical theory):

**Walter Shewhart discovered two causes of variation in any process that changes over time:

 • Common causes — causes that are inherent in a system (process or product) over time, affect everyone working in the system and affect all outcomes of the system. 

• Special causes — causes that are not always part of a system (process or product) or do not affect everyone, but arise because of specific circumstances.

If only common causes of variation are present, the system is stable or predictable, it has an identity, and prediction of future performance is possible, with a high degree of belief.  When Special or assignable causes are present, this makes the system unstable and unpredictable.  This means we will not be able to accurately predict future performance of the system.

Shewhart created a tool most recently called the Process Behavior Chart to separate the two sources of variation and guide the action of management. Understanding the source of variation directs action by management. If this theory of variation is not understood, most attempts at improvement (in stable systems) will fail and many will make things worse. W. Edwards Deming called these actions without knowledge “tampering.” Applied, Shewhart theory will help us to realize no amount of care, skill, and hard work  will overcome fundamental flaws in our system. If we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting about what we are getting. Feedback from current and especially past successes and failures will also be critical information for systemic change. The problems cannot be understood or evaluated without the aid of statistical theory and the effects of any attempt at improvement cannot be evaluated without statistical methods. 

I look forward to hearing about how you continually improve your processes so you are able to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Help make it a Great Week for everyone and everything!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

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Progress Trumps Problems and Perfection

The goal is not to be perfect by the end. The goal is to be better today.                                – Simon Sinek

In a provocative presentation, Bill Bellows explains how and why we should focus on progress or improvement instead of perfection or even problems.  The issue with focusing on problems is that they end or are fixed.  It is like putting out a fire.  Once the fire is out, we are not better but back to how things were.  Improvement on the other hand can create progress, fixing problems cannot.

Perfection can be problematic because it is never attained. Perfection is something to strive toward, however what perfection is changes as it becomes closer. As you near goals, adjustments are often necessary.  These adaptations cannot be compromises, where we give up something, but  improvements. As Stephen Covey explained in the 3rd Alternative, not my way or your way, but a better way (see Honoring Justice Scalia – Dare to Disagree) We adapt because we gain a clearer picture of what will help us achieve a desired aim.

Progress can lead to perfection, however the concept of perfection continually evolves. This means we should engage in constant and never ending improvement.  To maintain inspiration and motivation, it is therefore vital we note progress and feel good for any and all gains.  Not only does progress document movement toward a desired state, it puts us in a positive state and is what I refer to as wellness, see Experiencing Wellness = Progress Toward Desired.

I look forward to hearing about the progress you make in generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Help make it a Great Week for everyone and everything!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

 

Cause Good: Complex Often Has a Simple Explanation

Sometimes things are made to appear complex when there is a simple  explanation. The appearance of complexity could be to justify the need for a professional or because it has not been studied enough.  More study often helps us understand.  As Einstein suggested:

Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein

As I explain, we should keep things simple with health and focus on how to cause good health (see Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad).  Why focus on anything else?  If we create better health, prevention happens and when something does happen that is distressing, which it will, often also out of our control, we can recover faster if needed.  Focusing on disease and its many possible causes (See How Tolstoy’s Insight Relates to Health), even if discovered, does not cause health, at most it could bring us back to where we were, not improved health.  As Dr. W. Edwards Deming discussed,

 Putting out fires is not improvement of the process. Neither is discovery and removal of a special cause detected by a point out of control. This only puts the process back to where it should have been in the first place. – Dr. Deming indicated this was an insight of Dr. Joseph M. Juran

I was reminded of the idea of simplicity when I heard the 2 brain twisters below.  Can you untwist these?

  1. A group of people go to the apple orchard and each pick 5 apples. In the group there were 2 fathers and 2 sons.  The group brought back 15 apples.  How can this be? (answer at bottom of post)
  2. This one is spiritual.  Can you tell me what comes at the beginning of eternity and at end of time? (answer at bottom of post)

Examples  of Simple Research Explanations
In research, simple explanations enlighten unexpected outcomes.  Below Dr. Michael Greger explains 2 of these paradox’s. One is, “What Explains the French Paradox“. In this paradox it was thought wine people drink in France protected their poor food choices, does it? (see video below).

In another example, surprising work seem to suggest butter may not be bad, despite all the previous research indicating it was.  Dr. Michael Greger explains this supposedly complex question with a simple explanation in his video, “The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail“.

Information in this post illustrates how marketers use doubt to unknowingly persuade people.  You can learn more about how marketers use doubt from “Merchants of Doubt” and at this post: Do Not Let Deniers Doubt Dissuade.

To me this suggests we should think of simple ways to take action that will generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.   For instance, right now if you thank someone for something they did, that interaction benefits them, you, and those benefits can ripple through society to cause even more good.

Keep it simple, focus more on how to cause good than how to prevent or avoid bad.  By focusing on and taking action on how to cause good, you are likely to generate a positive ripple of beneficial interactions.  These actions can help you make it a Great Week for everyone and everything!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Brain Teaser 1: Grandfather, Father, and Son

Brain Teaser 2: Letter E

Action Required for Change

Hope is important and necessary, dreams are important, and desire vital, however nothing happens without action.  If we want something, we must make it happen.  If we want a better day, life, world, friend, or event, we must do what we can to make it possible.  Kelly Clarkson captured that idea at this years Music Billboard Award show when she asked people to take a “Moment of Action” instead of a “Moment of Silence”.

The  “Moment of Action” must turn into a regular effort to generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits!  Take action to make this the great world it can be for all of us.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Aim to Thrive, Not Just Grow for a Better Tomorrow

It was pointed out to me that we should focus on development rather than growth. After all, as Kate points out, to have a growth is generally not good news nor is it good, unless we are young, to keep growing in size.  Kate Raworth captures these ideas well in her TED Presentation, A Healthy Economy Should be Designed to Thrive, Not Grow.

As we know, everything is connected and when one part of the system continually grows, it can destroy the whole system.  Our economy is a subsystem of our ecology.  In this presentation, she clearly explains development doesn’t need to stop, we can keep making life better, however growth is not the appropriate path to follow.  It is also something we do not have to wait to make happen, it is happening now.

I encourage you to review the resources made available for they presentation, including “Over 100 global cities get majority of electricity from renewables”, CDP, 2018.  To demonstrate development over growth, the Mayor of Burlington Vermont explained:

“Burlington, Vermont is proud to have been the first city in the United States to source 100 percent of our power from renewable generation. Through our diverse mix of biomass, hydro, wind, and solar, we have seen first-hand that renewable energy boosts our local economy and creates a healthier place to work, live, and raise a family. We encourage other cities around the globe to follow our innovative path as we all work toward a more sustainable energy future.”

Enjoy Kate Raworth’s inspiring TED Talk:

For me this is suggesting our focus should be on how to generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.  As Jane Benyus, surmised, the only real function of living organisms is to live in a way that makes life more livable so all can thrive.  Enjoy.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

The Multiple Perspectives of Dan Brown’s “Origins”

 

Dan Brown’s fascinating and thought provoking book, “Origin“, provides a look at many issues from multiple perspectives.  He intelligently guides us through different perspectives that relate to science, technology, artificial intelligence, religion, the existence of God, Love and even Adam & Eve (as is also done by Harold Kushner in “How Good Do We Have to Be?”).  In Kushner’s book, he offers a  radically new interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, which he sees as a tale of Paradise outgrown rather than Paradise Lost.  In Kushner’s interpretation, eating from the Tree of Knowledge was not an act of disobedience, but a brave step forward toward becoming human. A different perspective changes things as is shown in the Mutts comic below. I  also discuss the influence of perspective in these posts: Perspective Helps Clarify Relative ImportancePerspective May Create and Frame How People View EventsEnlightening Evolutionary Perspective on Health, and many more on this site..

In an entertaining fashion, Brown’s  “Origin” provides evidence to support multiple perspectives.  In a related matter, W. Edwards Deming often explained that facts were all dependent on context.  While many can misinterpret this conception to suggest that there are no facts, my understanding is these statements are made to help people understand that “facts” depend on context and only hold true in specific contexts.

In a tangible example that supports contextual facts, Dan Brown asks, can this Roman Number equation be correct,  I + XI = X? If you wonder how, what seems impossible, is actually all a matter of perspective.  The solution can be accomplished by changing the way the equation is viewed. To see how this is possible, write the equation down on a piece of paper and then turn it 180 degrees (upside down) and look at the equation once again. Now it is X=IX+I and it is mathematically correct. The task was accomplished by simply changing  perspective.

I encourage you to read Dan Brown’s book  “Origin“.  I think it can help “Make it a Great Week!”

Please share your thoughts so we can work to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless interactions so everyone and everything benefits!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

 

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