Category Archives: Uncategorized

An Innovation Lesson: How a Snarling Dog Saved American Airlines Money

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A story about Robert Crandall, the legendary former chairman of American Airlines, demonstrates how creative thinking can simplify operations and reduce costs. Crandall visited each AA location annually and discovered that a low-traffic Caribbean cargo warehouse employed an expensive night watchman to deter theft.  Crandall suggested reducing the watchman to just three nights a week (the …

How would YOU have managed the risky project to rescue the Thai soccer team trapped deep in a cold dark cave?

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The amazingly good news is that it’s over…. 12 “Wild Boar” Thai children and their coach were all rescued alive after being trapped two weeks in a cold dark cave 6 kilometers deep. It was a mission feared impossible, as divers navigated tight passages of sharp rocks, weighed down by bulky equipment and guiding weak …

18 Transformational Questions for your Mid-Year Career and Life Review

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The great Mark Twain reminds us that we should take our brains out once in a while and stomp on them because they get all caked up. Let’s stomp! I’m a firm believer in the value of asking brain-shaking questions at least twice a year.  Since the first half of 2018 is history, now is a …

Outfox Murphy’s Law by Managing Your Project Assumptions — or Else!

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After 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 …

The #1 Preventable Reason Projects Fail Before they even Begin is…

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Hopefully, something like this has never happened to you. The big boss assigns you what could be a career make or break a project and asks for a plan on her desk in three days. The project is bigger than those you’ve done before and outside your mainstream expertise. You begin by jotting down some …

My “Academy Award” speech was all about YOU!

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When I took the podium to accept my award, I began just like those fancy Hollywood actors. “I’d like to thank those who made in possible — my amazing students, the ten thousand managers, geeks, engineers, nuclear scientists, entrepreneurs, game designers, and other brainy folks who survived my unorthodox teaching style, and are now changing …

Overcoming Huge Obstacles Under Extreme Pressure…

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Imagine you worked for Los Alamos National Laboratory as a technical specialist, and you discovered there was the raw material for 20,000 radioactive dirty bombs in civilians hands… spread throughout the United States, and you were in charge of finding them. What would you do? Quick Facts: Over 20,0000 “sealed-source ” radioactive “fit in your pocket” sized …

Reflect Back to Move Forward

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The end of a calendar year is a natural time for personal reflection. It’s a process I do every year, as a way to celebrate victories, examine lessons learned, and gear up for the year to come. Each year the format varies. This year I journaled the answers to seven questions, perhaps you will do …

Making 2018 Your Best Year Ever

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Mark Twain reminds us that we should take our brains out once in a while and stomp on them up because they get all caked up. I’m a firm believer in the value of asking provocative questions each December to prepare for the next. Since this year is winding down, now is a great time …

Your Assignment: Get Rejected

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“You want us to do what?!” That’s what the forty engineers and IT experts in my Reinvent Yourself and Thrive course at UCLA Extension’s Technical Management Program said when I gave them their out-of-class assignment. Their homework was to make an unusual, strange, or ridiculous request of a total stranger where the odds of rejection were …