Archives For joe

On (a)gile Leadership

joe —  Sat 14-Jul-18
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I’m not much fun at the movies or even watching TV. For some reason I lose interest in the main plot and find myself more interested in what happened to Little Bo Peep in Toy Story 3. She was Woody’s gal for the first two movies and now no mention of her?

Same thing happened when watching this wonderful two minute video. Take a look and tell me who the hero of this story is.

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Synchronized swimmerA friend once asked, “What is the dumbest question anyone has asked you?” I didn’t have an answer then and still don’t. Though done in jest, my response of “That one?” wasn’t taken well.

Like many, I have been programmed with the mantra that there are no stupid questions. I believe that. Every question has a potential to strip a way a little varnish of ignorance that runs deep in ourselves. That doesn’t mean every question uttered was a wise one, though.

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How About McDonalds?

joe —  Sat 23-Jun-18
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I don t careIf you are like me, one of the more inane and frustrating conversations you might encounter involves the simple question, “Where do you want to eat?” This seemingly innocuous question feels like a game of tic-tac-toe that is easily won or at least tied, but in reality it often requires the skills of a Chess Grand Master to resolve.

I am going to give you two lifehacks that will help you not only solve this question but also solve a whole series of related frustrating conversations. In the end, this same technique demonstrates why I am such a fan of early prototypes.
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Let’s Peel That Onion Back

joe —  Tue 19-Jun-18
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SmockI am confident that 98% of you are going to disagree with this week’s column. Many of you might even think I’ve lost my marbles as I have typically sided with the opposite position on this topic. In the end, however, pragmatism won out.

I was reading a column by Travis Bradberry where he implored his readers to stop using those ridiculous buzzwords that are regularly attributed to the pointy-hair boss types. Bradberry discusses the cringe that comes over the audience when someone says “low-hanging fruit,” “win-win,” or “bang for your buck.” I think Bradberry’s position says more about us as a receiver than it does the pointy-hair boss, and that’s not good.

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For the Love of Constraints

joe —  Sat 2-Jun-18
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Giraffe airplane hero“Oh, and by the way,” is one of those love/hate phrases for me. It often comes just after I have accepted an assignment from someone, and right before he high-tails it out of the room in fear of my response.

Boss: “Joe, I’d like you build me a device that will allow a giraffe to fly.”

Joe: “Um, ok.”
Boss: “Oh, and by they way, you can’t use any known methods of flying.”

While it feels like a Dilbert strip in the making, I’ll show you how these seemingly unreasonable qualifiers have led to some great breakthroughs in thinking. I’ll also give you a tool you can use to help your thinking as well.

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Fail Fast Should Fail Faster

joe —  Thu 24-May-18
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Stop just stopDid you ever find yourself repeatedly using a phrase, only to later discover it is meaningless, misleading, or simply wrong? I find these phrases often have meaning when they first come out, but take the wrong road once the prevailing zeitgeist takes ownership.

Today, I want to ask all of you that are using the phrase “Fail fast, fail often” to stop. Having worked a significant time in the corporate innovation space, I hear this phrase several times a week. The idea behind fail fast, fail often is that failure creates learning opportunities. When these learning opportunities are done early enough in the product creation cycle they can help you avoid making bigger mistakes later, when the stakes are higher.

Great idea; mom and apple pie. But that’s the problem, it’s so mom and apple pie that it becomes easy to say without understanding the complexities of what it requires to implement.

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Head Full of Doubt

joe —  Sat 23-Sep-17
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Calvin  gun powderAh, wisdom – that wonderful state we each believe we have today but somehow lacked when we were younger. In most cultures wisdom is highly respected. For a creative person, which I consider every one of you, wisdom can be your worst enemy.

Many of you know that I am a Calvin and Hobbes fanatic. Something about a naïve boy and his imaginary tiger unabashedly taking on the wisdom of the world captivates me. Calvin is the heart of many a creative soul.

Bill Watterson, author of Calvin and Hobbes, is a fascinating man. His inspiring life-story of right versus might, retiring early, and holding to his principles is one that I highly recommend reading. One surprising revelation is that Watterson never considered himself an artist, at least in the traditional sense. Continue Reading…

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