latest from philip's thoughtstream

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Competence versus Incompetence

Every once in a white I receive an automated alert on my computer telling me to update my software.  I typically click through the yes and accept buttons until the alert disappears, assuring me that my security updates are concluded.  Yesterday however I encountered a very weird situation.  It was so weird in fact that it was the first time I encountered this message since I’ve owned computers.  I received a message telling me that I did not have any space on my hard drive.  Now this might seem like a typical message, however, I realized that since approximately 1995 (when I bought my first computer) till now I’ve never seen this message.  The reason, I suspect is because I have been updating my computer every 18 months or so.  Alternatively, I’ve had a major hard drive

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Leaders and Followers

It seems that in most of the leadership lessons that we receive, whether in the shape of mentoring or training, emphasize personal behavior almost at the expense of group dynamics.  It is my impression that too much focus is given to what we should do or not do in terms of interacting with others, and little thought is given to other people’s behavior.  We often talk about the leader’s ability to motivate others, and his/her ability to attract.   However, leadership does not happen in a vacuum as it assumes that an individual must have others to lead, otherwise that person is not considered a leader.   Most will in fact agree that for an effort to be successful it requires not only strong leadership but effective teamwork and the willingness of the team members to follow the

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Habits and Routines

A friend of mine sent me a message yesterday asking why it has been a while since I blogged and frankly I did not have a good answer other than laziness.  Then I recalled an article that I came across a few months ago about habits and routines.  The authors explained that the best thing that someone can do if they want to form a new habit or start a new routine (such as a diet for instance) is to actually get away from their daily routine.  The authors mentioned for example that the best time to quit smoking for instance is when someone goes on vacation.  They get away from their environment, which triggers their normal habits.  So if they insert themselves in a new environment they will not have the same cues and it is much easier to develop new habits.  Unfortunately, the down side

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Who is Guarding Your Brand?

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the fact that so many organizations entrust their brands to the most junior, ill equipped, unmotivated, untrained, and least compensated employees.  It seems that leaders within these organizations, some worth Billions of dollars in market capitalization, ignore the basic concept that customer attitudes and opinions are based on direct interactions not on advertising campaigns or corporate strategy.  Consider for a moment the following example from a real life situation (I omit the names to protect the guilty). A global financial services organization with local presence in the form of bank branches offers free delivery of ATM/debit cards with a giant logistics company.  The “service” on initial examination appears to be a value

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Friendly Products

Earlier today I was listening to a program with Walter Isaacson, the author of Steve Jobs’ biography book.  He was explaining how Steve was obsessed with the idea of making Apple’s products “friendly.”  Walter was highlighting how certain individuals on the team had a hard time understanding what “friendly” meant or in some cases why it was important. Interestingly enough later in the day I was in the living room checking my email on my MAC when my little nephew (he’s a toddler) came running into the room yelling “apple” and he got his mouth so close to the back of my screen and attempted to take a bite our of the logo while making the sound of teeth crunching an apple.  It immediately became obvious to me what friendly means to consumers

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