TagInnovation

Jeff Bezos and the Role of Intuition in Decision Making

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When it comes to decision making, Jeff Bezos is quite comfortable relying on his intuition. This may come as a surprise given Amazon’s reputation for data analytics. Bezos has said in the past, “Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.” Judging from this quote alone one might imagine that employees at Amazon are like scientist in the lab, carefully tracking results from experiments and analyzing the date to make each decision...

Use this Richard Feynman Technique to Increase Your Team’s Productivity

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As World War II broke out, the physicist Richard Feynman was recruited to Los Alamos to assist in the development of the first atomic bomb. He was tasked with calculating the energy released by the nuclear explosion. Machines were brought in from IBM to assist in the task. Although state of art in their day, they were crude mechanical calculators that used punch cards to execute complicated calculations. The Army dispatched a group called the Special Engineering Detachment to operate the...

10 Lessons from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

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 1. “All you had to do was figure that America was going to do well overtime.” – Buffett Buffett kicked off the meeting by providing the audience with “a perspective on how you might think about investing.” The entire audience leaned in. Isn’t this why we all traveled to Omaha? On March 11, 1942, young Warren Buffett made his first stock purchase. He was eleven years old. Warren held up a copy of the front page of the New York Times that day.  It was filled with bad news...

When Your Wave Comes, Ride It

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Laird Hamilton surfing Teahupoo on August 17, 2000.  Photo: Tim McKenna   On August 17, 2000, Laird Hamilton was surfing a famous break off Tahiti called Teahupoo. The break at Teahupoo already had a fierce reputation, but on this day, Laird and his friend Darrick Doerner saw a wave approaching unlike anything they had ever seen before or since.  Doerner was on a jet ski, towing Laird into the wave when the magnitude of the wave hit him: “I towed him onto this wave and it was to the...

Innovation, Risk & Failure at Pixar

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In a recent interview, Ed Catmull, the cofounder of Pixar, shares his views on risk, failure and culture. The entire interview is worthwhile, but I found Ed’s perspective on these three issues to be especially insightful and applicable to all industries. Taking Risks The nature of innovation requires risk taking. This creates a fundamental tension for leaders who are simultaneously tasked with providing clear, stable leadership and managing a process that creates something new and of...

To Make Better Decisions, Think Independently

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Photo by Rachele Caretti, Licensed under CC by 2.0 One of the qualities shared by great decision makers is the rare ability to disregard the opinions of others and think for themselves. There is a strong gravitational pull to conform to the conventional wisdom. If you’re looking to avoid accountability or even regret (which is a powerful force in decision making), then it’s much easier to agree with the group as opposed to doing the research and analysis to make your own determination. It’s...

7 Leadership Lessons from a CEO

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I recently had an opportunity to hear Gail McGovern speak to a group of high-potential leaders at the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, DC. She shared her personal history from her early career at AT&T where she started as a computer programmer and rose to Executive Vice President. There were a lot of lessons learned along her career journey, and here are seven she shared with the next generation of leadership at the Red Cross: 1. Pick the best people. Attract, retain and...

Einstein & Creativity

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In 2015 we celebrated the one-hundred-year anniversary of the publication of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. What Einstein was able to achieve was so astounding and so creative, it is worth reflecting on how he did it. Thought Experiments. Einstein’s intellectual journey toward the General Theory of Relativity did not begin with complex equations and high level mathematics; rather it started with a simple thought experiment when he was just 16 years old. Young Einstein imagined he was...

Zuckerberg, EQ, Chopra and Benjamin Franklin

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How Mark Zuckerberg has grown into his role as CEO of Facebook.
Emotional Intelligence as a predictor of success.
Video of my friend Jit Chopra addressing a group of executives on the creative process.  If you like my post on “start with the bad ideas first“, then you’ll love to hear Jit tell the story about Edward Land and the Poloroid camera.
Benjamin Franklin’s 14 timeless tips on Getting Things Done. – and this man was very productive.

The 8 Most Important Qualities of Leadership at Google

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For most of Google’s history, and especially in the early years, it took a laissez-faire policy toward leadership. The company hired smart engineers, promoted the most brilliant into leadership positions and then pretty much left them alone. The assumption was that they were smart and would figure it out or ask questions if they needed help. As Google evolved, it became apparent that some managers thrived in this environment more than others.  In a recent article, Laszlo Bock, Google’s...

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