Monthly Archives: April 2016

Outsmart Murphy by Managing Your Critical Planning Assumptions

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When NASA’s $125  million Mars Orbiter crashed during the landing phase, a later analysis showed that the spacecraft builders worked in the metric system. NASA assumed, but for some reason failed to verify, that the builders were using the English measurement system of feet and inches. Thus, the Orbiter’s computer contained bogus data and the …

My car won’t start after I buy vanilla ice cream! HELP ME FIGURE OUT WHY.

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The following story, once shared on PBS by the Car Talk  brothers Click and Clack, turned out to be an urban legend.  But I’ve rewritten the story to engage you in solving the puzzle and offering a valuable lesson in strategic thinking. The story supposedly involves “Fred” complaining to Ford Headquarters that his car won’t …

Rediscover Your Life Mission

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During the winter of 1986, I attended a personal transformation program  called The Wall in a remote forest campground near Seattle. That experience changed my life. Two dozen inner-explorers gathered for deep discussion and reflection, then each crafted their life mission statement. Later I had mine engraved onto a bronze plaque that hung on my office wall for …

Project Design Made Simple

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You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to appreciate NASA Rule #15! “A review of most failed projects and project problems indicates that the disasters were well-planned to happen from the start. The seeds of problems are laid down early. Initial planning is the most vital part of any project.” – NASA Rule #15 …

Climb the Pyramid of Professional Excellence and Impact the World

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Recently I delivered the opening keynote at the 91st UCLA Extension Technical Management Program (TMP), a unique one-week learning experience for mid-career leaders in technology and business occurring each March and September. This was my 62nd time teaching in this program over the last three decades. This is my favorite ongoing gig because participants select …