Highlights from The Dispossessed

There were walls around all his thoughts.

You know how it is, what women call thinking is done with the uterus! Of course, there’s always a few exceptions, God-awful brainy women with vaginal atrophy.

“Entirely on your own initiative,” said Oiie. “It is the only initiative I acknowledge,” Shevek said, smiling, in dead earnest.

All such luxuries which if freely allowed to the public would tend to drain irreplaceable natural resources or to foul the environment with waste products were strictly controlled by regulation and taxation.

The meetings of such groups, the vehicles of both social action and sociability, were the framework of life in any small community, but here in the city they seemed much less important.

Even from the brother there is no comfort in the bad hour, in the dark at the foot of the wall.

In a human sacrifice to deity there might be at least a mistaken and terrible beauty; in the rites of the moneychangers, where greed, laziness, and envy were assumed to move all men’s acts, even the terrible became banal.

figurines and souvenirs and kickshaws and mementos and gewgaws and bric-a-brac, everything either useless to begin with or ornamented so as to disguise its use

After all, work is done for the work’s sake. It is the lasting pleasure of life. The private conscience knows that. And also the social conscience, the opinion of one’s neighbors.

“It’s always easier not to think for oneself. Find a nice safe hierarchy and settle in. Don’t make changes, don’t risk disapproval, don’t upset your syndics. It’s always easiest to let yourself be governed.”

Oiie was an ethical man, but his private insecurities, his anxieties as a property owner, made him cling to rigid notions of law and order.

You’re thirty, aren’t you? By that age a man should know not only his cellular function but his organic function—what his optimum role is the social organism is.

The individual cannot bargain with the State. The State recognizes no coinage but power: and it issues the coins itself.

The thing about working with time, instead of against it, he thought, is that it is not wasted. Even pain counts.

We left with empty hands, a hundred and seventy years ago, and we were right. We took nothing. Because there is nothing here but States and their weapons, the rich and their lies, and the poor and their misery. There is no way to act rightly, with a clear heart, on Urras. There is nothing you can do that profit does not enter into, and fear of loss, and the wish for power. You cannot say good morning without knowing which of you is ‘superior’ to

Somebody had told Bedap that Rulag was an engineer, and he had found in her the engineer’s clarity and pragmatism of mind, plus the mechanist’s hatred of complexity and irregularity.

The only security we have is our neighbors’ approval. An archist can break a law and hope to get away unpunished, but you can’t ‘break’ a custom; it’s the framework of your life with other people.

What’s the good of an anarchist society that’s afraid of anarchists?

Highlights from What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Successful people consistently compare themselves favorably to their peers.

People who believe they can succeed see opportunities where others see threats. They’re not afraid of uncertainty or ambiguity. They embrace it. They want to take greater risks and achieve greater returns. Given the choice, they will always bet on themselves.

Successful people have a unique distaste for feeling controlled or manipulated.

If you press people to identify the motives behind their self-interest it usually boils down to four items: money, power, status, and popularity.

That’s the fallacy of added value. Whatever we gain in the form of a better idea is lost many times over in our employees’ diminished commitment to the concept.

It’s obvious that the best course of action for dealing with people like this is to not let them make us angry. Getting angry doesn’t improve the situation and life’s too short to waste on feeling bad.

But once you appreciate the payoff of saying nothing—that if you’re silent, you cannot make an ass out of yourself or make an enemy out of someone else—then you might have a chance of getting better.

I also suspect that’s a big reason why so many of us withhold information. It’s not that we want to keep people in the dark. It’s simply that we’re too busy. We mean well. We have good intentions. But we fail to get around to it.

If the answer was “yes” he gave them some very quick recognition, either by phone, e-mail, voice mail, or a note.

Stop blaming others for the choices you made—and that goes with double emphasis for the choices that turned out well.

No one expects us to be right all the time. But when we’re wrong, they certainly expect us to own up to it.

It’s not about you. It’s about what other people think of you.

Basically, we accept feedback that is consistent with our self-image and reject feedback that is inconsistent.

1. Let go of the past.  2. Tell the truth.  3. Be supportive and helpful—not cynical or negative.  4. Pick something to improve yourself—so everyone is focused more on “improving” than “judging.”

It’s my contention—and it’s the bedrock thesis of this book—that interpersonal behavior is the difference-maker between being great and near-great, between getting the gold and settling for the bronze.

Even though we may be able to deny our problems to ourselves, they may be very obvious to the people who are observing us.

Some of the best feedback comes from what you observe. If you accept it and act on it, it’s no less valid than people telling you the same thing at point-blank range.

In each phase you must target a different constituency. In phase 4, you woo up—to get your superiors to approve. In phase 5, you woo laterally—to get your peers to agree. In phase 6, you woo down—to get your direct reports to accept.

All I’m saying is that you cannot rely on other people to read your mind or take note of the changed behavior you’re displaying. It may be patently obvious to you, but it takes a lot more than a few weeks of behavioral modification for people to notice the new you.

There’s the part where we actually listen. And there’s the part where we speak. Speaking establishes how we are perceived as a listener. What we say is proof of how well we listen. They are two sides of the same coin.

Asking, “Is it worth it?” engages you in thinking beyond the discussion to consider (a) how the other person regards you, (b) what that person will do afterwards, and (c) how that person will behave the next time you talk.

The ability to make a person feel that, when you’re with that person, he or she is the most important (and the only) person in the room is the skill that separates the great from the near-great.

Eventually, you’ll come to see that expressing gratitude is a talent—a talent that goes hand in hand with wisdom and self-knowledge and maturity.

But injecting Jim into the mix—a friendly sympathetic human being whom, on the one hand, I do not want to disappoint (that’s human nature) and who, on the other hand, provides constant encouragement and input—brings it more in line with the follow-up process I’ve been describing here

Successful people have a high need for self-determination and will tend to accept ideas about concerns that they “own” while rejecting ideas that feel “forced” upon them.

What’s interesting (and reassuring) about this story is that it’s an example of a boss accurately assessing his shortcomings and his employee agreeing with him. That isn’t always the case. Sometimes the gap between what a boss says about himself and what the staff believes is wide, very wide.

Your memo has to be brutally honest. Your employees have to believe it is accurate. And most important, they must believe it matters.

Let them figure out what they should be doing on their own. Let them tell you where you’re not needed.

If you manage your people the way you’d want to be managed, you’re forgetting one thing: You’re not managing you.

Most leadership development revolves around one huge false assumption—that if people understand then they will do. That’s not true. Most of us understand, we just don’t do.

I tell people that change is a simple equation: Stop the annoying behavior and you’ll stop being perceived as an annoyance.

The smart ones believed that their corporation would “drop them in a flash” when they no longer met the company’s needs, so they in turn were willing to “drop the company” when it no longer met their needs.

As a general rule, people in their 20s want to learn on the job. In their 30s they want to advance. And in their 40s they want to rule.

Let that be your model for dealing with needy, demanding, allegedly “selfish” employees. To ignore them and resent them is to misunderstand them—and eventually lose them. You’re committing the corporate equivalent of a hate crime.

Managers at smart companies are catching on. They’re beginning to see that their relationship with top talent resembles a strategic alliance rather than a traditional employment contract.

Stop trying to change people who don’t think they have a problem.

Highlights from Discontent and its Civilizations

But if globalization is capable of holding out any fundamental promise to us, any temptation to go along with its havoc, then surely that promise ought to be this: we will be more free to invent ourselves.

What distinguishes the “war on terror” is that it is a war against a concept, not a nation. And the enemy concept, it seems to me, is pluralism.

Civilizations are illusions, but these illusions are pervasive, dangerous, and powerful.

On our globalizing planet, where the pace of change keeps accelerating, many of us are coming to feel at least a bit foreign, because all of us, whether we travel far afield or not, are migrants through time.

It’s a funny thing to lose your first language.

Yes, babies could look cute. But I’d been in enough relationships to know looks only go so far, particularly when they’re packaged with a high-maintenance need for constant attention.

Ours is a large extended family: my mother is one of nine, my father one of four.

And there will be people like me, with our powered exoskeletons left often in the closet, able to leap over buildings when the mood strikes us, but also prone to wandering naked and feeling the sand of a beach between our puny toes.

But a crisis can be an opportunity. It incites change. And the novel needs to keep changing if it is to remain novel.

Civilizations are illusory. But they are useful illusions. They allow us to deny our common humanity, to allocate power, resources, and rights in ways repugnantly discriminatory.

Highlights from Reinventing Organizations

I believe it has to do with the belief system of our times: in a hierarchical worldview, there can be only one brain in command, just as there must be a single boss at the head of every organization.

Then suddenly, almost out of nowhere, modernity has brought us unprecedented wealth and life expectancy in the last two centuries.

It is probably no exaggeration, but sad reality, that the very survival of many species, ecosystems, and perhaps the human race itself hinges on our ability to move to higher forms of consciousness and from there collaborate in new ways to heal our relationship with the world and the damage we’ve caused.

It turns out that, throughout history, the types of organizations we have invented were tied to the prevailing worldview and consciousness.

Every transition to a new stage of consciousness has ushered in a whole new era in human history.

While Red Organizations can be extremely powerful (especially in hostile environments where later stages of organizations tend to break down), they are inherently fragile, due to the impulsive nature of people’s way of operating (I want it so I take it).

Size and stability become possible because people in Conformist-Amber are content to stay in their box and not vie for a higher prize. People operating from this stage identify with their roles, with their particular place in the organization.

Where Red’s perspective was egocentric and Amber’s ethnocentric, Orange brought about the possibility of a worldcentric perspective.

The fears of the ego often undermine good intentions.

Bringing about consensus among large groups of people is inherently difficult. It almost invariably ends up in grueling talk sessions and eventual stalemate. In response, power games break out behind the scenes to try to get things moving again.

Consciously or unconsciously, leaders put in place organizational structures, practices, and cultures that make sense to them, that correspond to their way of dealing with the world.

The shift to Evolutionary-Teal happens when we learn to disidentify from our own ego. By looking at our ego from a distance, we can suddenly see how its fears, ambitions, and desires often run our life. We can learn to minimize our need to control, to look good, to fit in.

We are ready to let go of anger, shame, and blame, which are useful shields for the ego but poor teachers for the soul. We embrace the possibility that we played a part in creating the problem, and inquire what we can learn so as to grow from it.

As a result, there are very, very few people working in staff functions in Teal Organizations. And those that do typically have no decision-making authority. They can provide guidelines but cannot impose a rule or a decision.

The higher you go, the more lines converge. It is only at the very top that the different departments such as sales, marketing, R&D, production, HR, and finance meet. Decisions are naturally pushed up to the top, as it’s the only place where decisions and trade-offs can be informed from the various angles involved. It’s almost deterministic: with a pyramidal shape, people at the top of organizations will complain about meeting overload, while people below feel disempowered.

The general philosophy is one of reverse delegation. The expectation is that the frontline teams do everything, except for the things they choose to push upward.

The heart of the matter is that workers and employees are seen as reasonable people that can be trusted to do the right thing. With that premise, very few rules and control mechanisms are needed.

A huge amount of time is freed by dropping all the formalities of project planning—writing the plan, getting approval, reporting on progress, explaining variations, rescheduling, and re-estimating, not to mention the politics that go into securing resources for one’s project or to find someone to blame when projects are over time or over budget.

using voluntary task forces instead of fixed staff functions has multiple benefits. Employees find avenues to express talents and gifts that their primary role might not call for. They develop a true sense of ownership and responsibility when they see they have real power to shape their company.

Teal Organizations reverse the premise: people are not made to fit pre-defined jobs; their job emerges from a multitude of roles and responsibilities they pick up based on their interests, talents, and the needs of the organization.

Without boxes to put people into, the organization chart disappears and it’s not always easy to know who is responsible for what.

Every role people take on is a commitment they make to their peers. They are not accountable to one boss; every one of their peers is a boss in respect to the commitments they made.

Through these weekly one-on-one discussions, teachers and students know each other on a much deeper level than in traditional schools.

The advice process transcends this opposition beautifully: the agony of putting all decisions to consensus is avoided, and yet everybody with a stake has been given a voice; people have the freedom to seize opportunities and make decisions and yet must take into account other people’s voices.

I have noticed that for some reason, many people naturally assume that in the absence of bosses, decisions in self-management organizations will be made by consensus. And because they have been scarred by the paralysis and endless discussions that often come when people seek consensus, they are quick to dismiss self-management as a viable way to run organizations.

Consensus comes with another flaw. It dilutes responsibility. In many cases, nobody feels responsible for the final decision. The original proposer is often frustrated that the group watered down her idea beyond recognition; she might well be the last one to champion the decision made by the group. For that reason, many decisions never get implemented, or are done so only half-heartedly.

If traditional companies rarely hold all-hands meetings, it is precisely because they can be unpredictable and risky. But in that very risk lies their power to reaffirm an organization’s basic assumptions and to strengthen the community of trust.

Things would change under you: one day we are doing it this way, the next day we’d completely change something core, and the next day it’s yet different and we’re always running to catch up.

Self-management, just like the traditional pyramidal model it replaces, works with an interlocking set of structures, processes, and practices; these inform how teams are set up, how decisions get made, how roles are defined and distributed, how salaries are set, how people are recruited or dismissed, and so on.

The tasks of management—setting direction and objectives, planning, directing, controlling, and evaluating—haven’t disappeared. They are simply no longer concentrated in dedicated management roles. Because they are spread widely, not narrowly, it can be argued that there is more management and leadership happening at any time in Teal Organizations despite, or rather precisely because of, the absence of fulltime managers.

Power is not viewed as a zero-sum game, where the power I have is necessarily power taken away from you. Instead, if we acknowledge that we are all interconnected, the more powerful you are, the more powerful I can become. The more powerfully you advance the organization’s purpose, the more opportunities will open up for me to make contributions of my own.

With freedom comes responsibility: you can no longer throw problems, harsh decisions, or difficult calls up the hierarchy and let your bosses take care of it. You can’t take refuge in blame, apathy, or resentfulness. Everybody needs to grow up and take full responsibility for their thoughts and actions—a steep learning curve for some people.

At check-in, participants are invited to share how they feel in the moment, as they enter the meeting. The practice brings participants to listen within, to reconnect with their body and sensations, and to grow the capacity for awareness in the moment. Naming an emotion is often all it takes to leave it behind and not carry it over into the meeting.

all colleagues have the opportunity to learn a simple three-step process for difficult conversation: Step 1: Here is how I feel. Step 2: Here is what I need. Step 3: What do you need?

Many blue-collar workers join FAVI scarred from past experience of mistrust and command and control. Joining an environment where they are considered trustworthy and where their voice counts is often a groundbreaking experience.

You have full liberty to find a solution, but until you have found one, you are bound to your previous commitments.

four simple statements for the yearly appraisal discussions: State an admirable feature about the employee. Ask what contributions they have made to Sun. Ask what contributions they would like to make at Sun. Ask how Sun can help them.

But such feedback should be given on the spot, all year round, and not left unsaid, waiting for the appraisal discussion at the end of the year.

Instead, people in these companies have a very clear, keen sense of the organization’s purpose and a broad sense of the direction the organization might be called to go. A more detailed map is not needed. It would limit possibilities to a narrow, pre-charted course.

Predictions are valuable in a complicated world, but they lose all relevance in a complex world.

The decision can be reviewed at any time if new data comes up or someone stumbles on a better idea.

In both cases, if there is a workable solution on the table—”workable” meaning a solution that nobody believes will make things worse—it will be adopted.

Is my heart at work? Do I sense that I am at the right place?

We each have full responsibility for the organization. If we sense that something needs to happen, we have a duty to address it. It’s not acceptable to limit our concern to the remit of our roles.

Put supportive structures, practices, and processes in place (lower-right quadrant) Ensure that people with moral authority in the company role-model the behavior associated with the culture (upper-right quadrant) Invite people to explore how their personal belief system supports or undermines the new culture (upper-left quadrant)

There are three ways to help put new cultural elements in place: through practices that support corresponding behavior, through role-modeling by colleagues with moral authority, and by creating a space where people can explore how their belief system supports or undermines the new culture.

Over and over again, the CEO must ensure that trust prevails and that traditional management practices don’t creep in through the back door.

That is the magic of organizations: their processes can lift up employees to adopt behaviors from later stages of consciousness that they might not yet have integrated at an individual level.

Fighting the inner urge to control is probably the hardest challenge for founders and CEOs in self-managing organizations. Over and over again, they must remember to trust.

CEOs that role-model virtues such as humility, trust, courage, candor, vulnerability, and authenticity invite colleagues to take the same risks.

Every time a team presents, a new picture of a desirable future is woven into the collective consciousness.

Through purpose: Individual energies are boosted when people identify with a purpose greater than themselves.
Through distribution of power: Self-management creates enormous motivation and energy. We stop working for a boss and start working to meet our inner standards, which tend to be much higher and more demanding.
Through learning: Self-management provides a strong incentive for continuous learning. And the definition of learning is broadened to include not only skills but the whole realm of inner development and personal growth.
Through better use of talent: People are no longer forced to take management roles that might not fit their talents in order to make progress in their careers. The fluid arrangement of roles (instead of predefined job descriptions) also allows for a better matching of talent with roles.
Less energy wasted in propping up the ego: Less time and energy goes into trying to please a boss, elbowing rivals for a promotion, defending silos, fighting turf battles, trying to be right and look good, blaming problems on others, and so on.
Less energy wasted in compliance: Bosses’ and staff’s uncanny ability to create policies generates wasteful control mechanisms and reporting requirements that disappear almost completely with the self-management.
Less energy wasted in meetings: In a pyramid structure, meetings are needed at every level to gather, package, filter, and transmit information as it flows up and down the chain of command. In self-managing structures, the need for these meetings falls away almost entirely.

Through better sensing: With self-management, every colleague can sense the surrounding reality and act upon that knowledge. Information doesn’t get lost or filtered on its way up the hierarchy before it reaches a decision maker.
Through better decision-making: With the advice process, the right people make decisions at the right level with the input from relevant and knowledgeable colleagues. Decisions are informed not only by the rational mind, but also by the wisdom of emotions, intuition, and aesthetics.
Through more decision-making: In traditional organizations, there is a bottleneck at the top to make decisions. In self-managing structures, thousands of decisions are made everywhere, all the time.
Through timely decision-making: As the saying goes, when a fisherman senses a fish in a particular spot, by the time his boss gives his approval to cast the fly, the fish has long moved on.
Through alignment with evolutionary purpose: If we believe that an organization has its own sense of direction, its own evolutionary purpose, then people who align their decisions with that purpose will sail with the wind of evolution at their back.

People might not just reduce or increase the number of hours they work as employees. They might switch between employment (fulltime and/or part-time) and freelance work; they might at others times choose to volunteer, donate money, or temporarily have no involvement at all with an organization, only to come back later.

Many of us sense that the current way we run organizations is deeply limiting.

Highlights from The Principles of Product Development Flow

“I believe that the dominant paradigm for managing product development is fundamentally wrong.”

In practice, sensible behavior prevails, despite the presence of a dysfunctional formal procedure.

Third, with a little help from option pricing theory, we will discover that we can actually design development processes such that increases in variability will improve, rather than worsen, our economic performance.

We favor highly granular planning because we don’t understand the statistics of variability.

We value flexibility, and we pay for it. In contrast, most product development organizations exclusively reward specialization.

One of the most interesting examples of decentralizing control without losing alignment is the way the military deals with the uncertainty of warfare.

If you only quantify one thing, quantify the cost of delay.

As this book progresses, you will see that the economics of flow is almost always dominated by the cost of queues. If we cannot quantify the cost of a queue on the critical path, then we cannot quantify the benefit of reducing this queue. If we cannot quantify the benefit, we can’t generate support for major changes.

Reducing risk, which is the primary mission of testing, clearly creates economic value for product developers. In fact, reducing risk is so centrally important to product development that it is indispensable for us to quantify its economic impact.

In product development, our greatest waste is not unproductive engineers, but work products sitting idle in process queues.

In product development, our problem is virtually never motionless engineers. It is almost always motionless work products.

We can create enormous improvements in decision making with surprisingly imperfect answers. Do not let fear of inaccuracy prevent you from creating economic frameworks.

This leads to what we might call the Pareto Paradox: There is usually more actual opportunity in the undermanaged 80 percent than the overmanaged 20 percent.

Some product developers aspire to use the same approach in product development. They prepare a minutely detailed plan at the beginning of the project and measure performance against this plan. When they deviate from this plan, they take corrective action. They aspire to front-load their decisions. While this is a superb strategy in repetitive environments like manufacturing, it is a terrible one in product development.

Not only do these emergent opportunities arrive continuously and randomly, but they are also quite perishable. Opportunities get smaller with time, and obstacles get larger.

It is always useful to look for a way to reshape a bad choice into a better one. Decompose the choice into its pieces and keep the good parts.

The general principle is that we should make each decision at the point where further delay no longer increases the expected economic outcome.

The value of information is its expected economic value.

Low-cost activities that remove a lot of risk should occur before high-cost activities that remove very little risk.

Such aggressive filtering, before acquiring sufficient information to make a good economic choice, would eliminate all uncertain and poorly understood opportunities. However, it is precisely these uncertain opportunities that have large payoff asymmetries, making them the best sources of new drugs. Opening the filter to pass these asymmetric opportunities actually increases economic value.

In my experience, most managers make amazingly fast decisions when they are presented with compelling economic arguments.

Product development inventory is observable through its effects: increased cycle time, delayed feedback, constantly shifting priorities, and status reporting.

The more projects we have in process, the more projects we have to track and report status on.

This is actually a more serious problem than most developers realize because the waste created by following a bad path typically increases exponentially, not linearly, as we progress down the path.

Widespread queues demotivate workers and undermine initiative.

Managing the process upstream of the bottleneck is a valuable tool for improving flow at the bottleneck.

We simply cannot rely on randomness to correct the problems that randomness creates.

Waiting for complete information improves efficiency, but it leads to queueing.

Product development creates economic value by producing the recipes for products, information, not by creating physical products.

Risk-taking is central to value creation in product development.

We frequently encounter strongly asymmetric payoffs in product development. The value of a success can be much higher than the cost of a failure.

Either excessive or insufficient probability of failure reduces the efficiency with which we generate information.

Repeating the same failures is waste, because it generates no new information. Only new failures generate information.

Product developers should clearly distinguish exploratory testing, which should be optimized for information generation, and validation testing, which should be optimized for high success rates.

When our task list becomes very granular, the noise in each estimate is very high compared to the signal. Granular estimates produce good estimates of aggregate scope, but we should never schedule tasks at this level of detail. Instead, it makes more sense to aggregate many small tasks and to schedule them as a group.

The irony of this is that many companies try to reduce the risk of poor forecasts by taking more time to do a careful forecast.

A buffer converts uncertain earliness to certain lateness.

In product development, “left side” outcomes represent bad variability, but “right side” outcomes represent good variability.

Each engineering decision acts as a predecessor for many subsequent decisions. The number of dependent decisions generally grows geometrically with time. Consequently, a single incorrect assumption can force us to change hundreds of later decisions. When we delay feedback, rework becomes exponentially more expensive.

When engineers are experimenting with a new idea, rapid feedback is enormously energizing. Rapid feedback quickly supplies the positive reinforcement of success, and fast positive reinforcement always increases motivation.

It is generally safe to assume that we really don’t know where the optimum point is on the batch size response surface. As a result, we must test the response of the product development process to batch size reduction by reducing batch size and measuring the results.

Sequence activities to create maximum value for minimum cost, and remember that removing risk from a project is a key way to increase the expected value of the project.

Since it takes almost equal effort to ask for a big bag of money as a small one, people prefer to ask for big bags of money.

the practice of working in one phase at a time is so devoid of common sense that engineers seldom follow it, even when it is required by their procedures.

If a simple kanban system was trying to limit the WIP between two processes to 30 items, it might use six pallets that could each hold five parts as physical kanbans. The downstream process would take parts off a pallet and when it was empty, send it back to the upstream process. This empty pallet would signal the upstream process to make more parts. The upstream process is not allowed to make parts unless it has an empty pallet to put them on. This sets an upper limit on the amount of WIP between the two processes.

Toyota further enhances the effectiveness of this WIP constraint by cross-training workers at adjacent work stations.

A smaller batch size approach to WIP purging is to shed requirements during periods of congestion.

It is best to identify in advance which requirements we would consider eliminating or relaxing. We do this for two reasons. First, we can make a more well-reasoned decision before the pressure of a congestion crisis occurs. Second, if we preplan which requirements might be jettisoned, we can structure our product architecture to make it easy to jettison them. We do so by loosely coupling these elements to the rest of the system, so that we can cut them loose quickly.

A simple way to do this is for the development team to pay for variances during manufacturing ramp. Once the product has been in manufacturing for a fixed amount of time, responsibility for these variances can be transferred to manufacturing.

Which project activities are most suited for part-time resources? Those that are most prone to expensive congestion. These are high-variability tasks on the critical path. Activities that are more predictable can be handled with full-time resources, since such activities experience less congestion.

Unfortunately, most organizations love to load these highly productive resources to very high utilization rates. We need to change this mind-set. The big guns are not most valuable as an efficient substitute for small guns, they are most valuable for handling situations that the small guns cannot handle.

Experts allow us to apply tremendous problem-solving power to a bottleneck. Generalists can be easily shifted to any place they are needed. Is there a way to get both these benefits from the same person? Some organizations believe this is possible, and they characterize the people they are trying to create as T-shaped resources.

The ideal resource is a jack-of-all-trades and a master-of-one.

It takes advanced planning to do cross-training and to create T-shaped resources. It takes discipline to load experts to less-than-full utilization. The decision to use part-timers must be made early.

Detailed planning is very perishable, and this perishability increases with the distance to the planning horizon.

When we cram too many projects into the product development pipeline, we create queues. These queues create a frictional drag on throughput as developers spend more time expediting and less time adding value. The added load reduces output instead of increasing it.

Whenever we have any flexible customers, we can use pricing to reduce congestion. Because of the steepness of the queueing curve, even a small shift in demand can make a big difference in flow time.

We monitor the queue and intervene to restore it to the center of its target range, not to simply bring it back within bounds.

Cadence inherently makes activities automatic and routine. This lowers transaction overhead and makes it economical to use smaller batches.

This is an interesting case where the heirs of a brilliantly designed system failed to understand the underlying logic of the system.

When all jobs have the same delay cost, the preferred scheduling strategy is to do the shortest job first (SJF).

Projects should only visit nodes that add economic value. They should visit these nodes in the specific sequence that adds economic value most cost-effectively.

As a general rule, any inexpensive step that eliminates a lot of risk should occur early.

Instead, it is usually better to maintain a trickle flow of work through the alternate route, even when the primary route is under-utilized.

Decisions are made at a synchronous, cadenced meeting where people from adjacent processes can easily interact.

The curtain between adjacent processes does not have to be completely opaque. As work nears completion, we should make its character visible to downstream resources.

They assume that the plan is correct, and a deviation is always bad. Therefore, they try to close the gap between the two by making results closer to the plan. They often discover it is cheaper to prevent deviations than it is to correct them, so they also emphasize preventing deviations.

When goals are dynamic, we need different control systems. If we have stable goals, we try to prevent deviations, often by increasing inertia and avoiding risk. If we have dynamic goals, we try to quickly correct deviations, often by decreasing inertia.

Not all deviations have negative economic consequences.

By accelerating feedback, we can design processes with less WIP, thereby lowering delay times.

Whenever we have a short turning radius and a quick reaction time, we can proceed safely at a higher speed.

This develops a culture of magical decision making, where everybody feels they can make great decisions unencumbered by either analysis or facts.

When people see that their actions cause consequences, it changes their behavior. They feel a sense of control, and this causes them to take even more control of the system.

Under dynamic conditions, we need to pay attention to the timing of the revenue associated with the inventory. When revenue is growing rapidly, we may need more DIP to support this growth.

The Marines believe orders are incomplete without this information. They believe that intent needs to be understood deeply through the organization. They believe that when intent is clear, Marines will be able to select the right course of action.

In product development, we can change direction more quickly when we have a small team of highly skilled people instead of a large team. We can change direction more quickly when we have a product with a streamlined feature set, instead of one that is bloated with minor features. We can change direction more quickly when we have reserve capacity in our resources.

Since the Marines expect plans to change, they focus on simple, modular, and flexible plans. Simplicity leads to fast adaptation. Modularity solves the problem of adaptation because different modules can be configured many different ways. Flexibility is achieved by preplanning “branches” and “sequels.”

There is no substitute for moving to a quick proof-of-concept. There is no substitute for early market feedback.

They believe that one of the biggest mistakes a leader could make is to stifle initiative.

Highlights from Homage to Catalonia

The Spaniards are good at many things, but not at making war. All foreigners alike are appalled by their inefficiency, above all their maddening unpunctuality.

for some reason all the best matadors were Fascists.

When a man refused to obey an order you did not immediately get him punished; you first appealed to him in the name of comradeship. Cynical people with no experience of handling men will say instantly that this would never ‘work’, but as a matter of fact it does ‘work’ in the long run.

It was not till late March that I saw a bomb worth throwing.

I admit I was amazed and scandalized when I first saw it done. The idea of trying to convert your enemy instead of shooting him! I now think that from any point of view it was a legitimate manoeuvre.

Actually churches were pillaged everywhere and as a matter of course, because it was perfectly well understood that the Spanish Church was part of the capitalist racket.

This alliance, known as the Popular Front, is in essential an alliance of enemies, and it seems probable that it must always end by one partner swallowing the other.

The Anarchists were the opposite of the majority of so-called revolutionaries in so much that though their principles were rather vague their hatred of privilege and injustice was perfectly genuine.

The Communist’s emphasis is always on centralism and efficiency, the Anarchist’s on liberty and equality.

When I joined the militia I had promised myself to kill one Fascist–after all, if each of us killed one they would soon be extinct–and I had killed nobody yet, had hardly had the chance to do so.

If there is one thing I hate more than another it is a rat running over me in the darkness.

I have felt exactly the same thing when stalking a wild animal; the same agonized desire to get within range, the same dreamlike certainty that it is impossible.

Many of the normal motives of civilized life–snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc.–had simply ceased to exist.

And, after all, instead of disillusioning me it deeply attracted me. The effect was to make my desire to see Socialism established much more actual than it had been before. Partly, perhaps, this was due to the good luck of being among Spaniards, who, with their innate decency and their ever-present Anarchist tinge, would make even the opening stages of Socialism tolerable if they had the chance.

A fat man eating quails while children are begging for bread is a disgusting sight, but you are less likely to see it when you are within sound of the guns.

It is a horrible thing to have to enter into the details of inter-party polemics; it is like diving into a cesspool.

There are occasions when it pays better to fight and be beaten than not to fight at all.

Anyone who has served in Spain knows that the one operation of war that Spaniards really perform really well is that of feeding their troops.

Since 1930 the Fascists had won all the victories; it was time they got a beating, it hardly mattered from whom.

My second was a violent resentment at having to leave this world which, when all is said and done, suits me so well.

To be killed in battle– yes, that is what one expects; but to be flung into jail, not even for any imaginary offence, but simply owing to dull blind spite, and then left to die in solitude–that is a different matter.

I have the most evil memories of Spain, but I have very few bad memories of Spaniards. I only twice remember even being seriously angry with a Spaniard, and on each occasion, when I look back, I believe I was in the wrong myself.

Highlights from Rules for Radicals

“The establishment in many ways is as suicidal as some of the far left

If we fail to communicate with them, if we don’t encourage them to form alliances with us, they will move to the right.

We must first see the world as it is and not as we would like it to be.

Political realists see the world as it is: an arena of power politics moved primarily by perceived immediate self-interests, where morality is rhetorical rationale for expedient action and self-interest.

The pursuit of happiness is never-ending; happiness lies in the pursuit.

Concern for our private, material well-being with disregard for the well-being of others is immoral according to the precepts of our Judaeo-Christian civilization, but worse, it is stupidity worthy of the lower animals.

In short, ethics are determined by whether one is losing or winning.

The ninth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.

To oversimplify, what Gandhi did was to say, “Look, you are all sitting there anyway—so instead of sitting there, why don’t you sit over here and while you’re sitting, say Independence Now!'”

The Haves develop their own morality to justify their means of repression and all other means employed to maintain the status quo.

and as we use purifying synonyms, we dissolve the bitterness, the anguish, the hate and love, the agony and the triumph attached to these words, leaving an aseptic imitation of life.

To pander to those who have no stomach for straight language, and insist upon bland, non controversial sauces, is a waste of time.

he knows that worn-out words like “white racist,” “fascist pig,” and “motherfucker” have been so spewed about that using them is now within the negative experience of the local people

They knew not only of my concern about their plight but that I liked them as people. I felt their response in friendship, and we were together. It is in this totality of the situation that I did what, otherwise, would have been offensive.

With very rare exceptions, the right things are done for the wrong reasons. It is futile to demand that men do the right thing for the right reason—this is a fight with a windmill. The organizer should know and accept that the right reason is only introduced as a moral rationalization after the right end has been achieved, although it may have been achieved for the wrong reason—therefore he should search for and use the wrong reasons to achieve the right goals.

Communication on a general basis without being fractured into the specifics of experience becomes rhetoric and it carries a very limited meaning.

Organizations are built on issues that are specific, immediate, and realizable.

It is impossible to maintain constant action on a single issue. A single issue is a fatal strait jacket that will stifle the life of an organization.

We learn, when we respect the dignity of the people, that they cannot be denied the elementary right to participate fully in the solutions to their own problems. Self-respect arises only out of people who play an active role in solving their own crises and who are not helpless, passive, puppet-like recipients of private or public services.

One big problem is a constant shifting of responsibility from one jurisdiction to another—individuals and bureaus one after another disclaim responsibility for particular conditions, attributing the authority for any change to some other force.

You can insult and annoy him, but the one thing that is unforgivable and that is certain to get him to react is to laugh at him. This causes an irrational anger.

They are right; but we must begin from where we are if we are to build power for change, and the power and the people are in the big middle-class majority.

They see the poor going to colleges with the waiving of admission requirements and given special financial aid. In many cases the lower middle class were denied the opportunity of college by these very circumstances.

People must be “reformed”—so they cannot be deformed into dependency and driven through desperation to dictatorship and the death of freedom. The “silent majority,” now, are hurt, bitter, suspicious, feeling rejected and at bay. This sick condition in many ways is as explosive as the current race crisis. Their fears and frustrations at their helplessness are mounting to a point of a political paranoia which can demonize people to turn to the law of survival in the narrowest sense.

The frenetic scene around them is so bewildering as to induce them to either drop out into a private world, the nonexistent past, sick with its own form of social schizophrenia—or to face it and move into action.

The middle classes are numb, bewildered, scared into silence. They don’t know what, if anything, they can do. This is the job for today’s radical—to fan the embers of hopelessness into a flame to fight.

Highlights from the God of Small Things

“Inspector Thomas Mathew seemed to know whom he could pick on and whom he couldn’t. Policemen have that instinct.”

Some days he walked along the banks of the river that smelled of shit and pesticides bought with World Bank loans.

He oiled himself with warm, peppered coconut oil, kneading his old, loose flesh that stretched willingly off his bones like chewing gum.

the Loss of Sophie Mol grew robust and alive. It was always there. Like a fruit in season. Every season. As permanent as a government job.

savoring their teacherly disapproval, touching it with their tongues, sucking it like a sweet

It was as though the window through which their father disappeared had been kept open for anyone to walk in and be welcomed.

not of the wedding itself so much as the fact that she had permitted herself to be so painstakingly decorated before being led to the gallows. It seemed so absurd. So futile. Like polishing firewood.

Ammu said that human beings were creatures of habit, and it was amazing the kind of things they could get used to.

The nodder nodded as Rahel’s ancestral lineage fell into place for him.

When she looked at him now, she couldn’t help thinking that the man he had become bore so little resemblance to the boy he had been. His smile was the only piece of baggage he had carried with him from boyhood into manhood.

Name of the Game

I’m putting this here so I don’t have to keep looking it up.

The name of the game by John Boyd is moral leverage for grand strategy:

Preserve or build up our moral authority while compromising that of our adversaries in order to pump up our resolve, drain away adversaries’ resolve, and attract them as well as others to our cause and way of life.

Highlights from The Truth of Suffering and the Path of Liberation

”Association with those you hate is suffering.”

It is very hard. It turns out to be quite a handful, quite a project, for us to keep everything at the ideal level.

The conclusion is that everybody is neurotic, that neurosis creates discomfort and anxiety, and that basic anxiety is happening all the time.

We can’t just practice passion, aggression, and ignorance on ourselves alone; we do it to somebody else as well, and someone always gets hurt.

We generate their anxiety, and they also generate it themselves; and we end up with what is known as “the vicious circle of samsara.” Everybody is constantly making everybody else feel bad.

We would like to watch the birth of our child and its growth, so that finally we will have a child who is competent and good because of our training.

The torturing process we impose on ourselves is a habitual pattern, or ape instinct.

You don’t want to be born into the next world, but unfortunately, the situation is such that you are born into the next world.

As we get older, we are not getting the entertainment we used to get out of things. We have already experienced practically everything that exists in our world.

We want our own particular habits to keep happening, and we do not want to give anything up, viewing that as a sign of weakness.

Then, quite conveniently, they blame somebody else, if they have a scheming enough style of thinking; and if they don’t, they just freak out with their mouths open.

Nothing will satisfy you. Nothing will be wish-fulfilling at all, absolutely not. Something is not quite working. Whether you are smart or dumb, it doesn’t make much difference: things don’t quite work.

Since you carry your burden of suffering with you all the time, you have grown accustomed to it. You have learned to live with it.

Therefore, with greater clarity, pain is experienced more harshly, more precisely and directly

The original problem began because you lost your awareness. You cannot lay that on someone else.

There doesn’t have to be a second meaning all the time, and you don’t have to philosophize everything. There could be pure motivation.

Basically, both eternalism and nihilism are ways of trying to nourish one’s existence and one’s ego. They are extreme views in the sense that either you couldn’t care less and nothing is a problem, or there is a problem, so you have to be on the right side of it.

Simply perceiving it through your mind and seeing the futility of it, realizing it is just a game, is the saving grace. That seems to be the point of the practice of meditation.

This ignorance is a different sort of ignorance than the initial triggering process. It is not basic bewilderment but rather simply boycotting situations, ignoring things, refusing to see things in an intelligent way.

Taking life, stealing, and sexual misconduct are regulated by social norms. Some forms of these actions are approved by law because they go along with the basic scheme of society; others are not approved by law because they interfere with that scheme.

You hope that if you speak your harsh words loudly and clearly, they will be a kind of weapon or bomb that you can throw into the midst of society, into the midst of your friends, or into the midst of your enemies.

As the creator of harsh, destructive words, you hope that you can destroy society, concepts, ideas, feelings, and theories of all kinds.

Because you feel so rugged and primitive, you are afraid that you might be excluded from that vision, so you stick to your particular logic, your jumbled-up confusion, your poverty mentality.

First we have to interrupt our ignorance, and second we also have to interrupt our passion. By interrupting both our ignorance and our passion, we have nothing happening in terms of the samsaric world. We have already unplugged the refrigerator.

A person experiences a glimpse of cessation as a kind of appetizer. If the appetizer is good, you have a sense of how the main course will be.

The Buddha said that cessation could be experienced. He said that suffering should be known; the origin of suffering should be renounced; the cessation of suffering should be realized; and the path should be regarded as the truth to resolution. That’s almost word for word.

We begin to feel that we could prevent such problems by being highly disciplined and by having a genuine connection with our own mind and thought patterns, which could be good or bad, virtuous or otherwise.

You practice due to your own inspiration. Nobody can make you do it if you don’t want to.

The only possibility is that at one and the same time, the simplicity of the practice can be developed with respect to the tradition and discipline, and your intuition can be developed according to your own basic understanding of life. That is the point of profundity.

Beyond that, you are becoming highly disciplined. You are realistic, proper, and industrious; you have self-discipline and project dignity. Such ordinary decency is recognized as a token of cessation.

You begin to see the value of the intellect, which in this case means sharpened clarity rather than theory. Instead of resorting to Jungian or Freudian styles of psychologizing everything, you are simply experiencing your life and understanding how it works.

“Because everything is impermanent, everything is always painful and subject to suffering.”

On the path of accumulation we are working with ourselves and we are inspired to make sacrifices. We accumulate good merit by developing a good attitude and performing good deeds. We cultivate simplicity and sacrifice.

There is a tremendous sense of humor and relaxation, and a sense of openness, gentleness, and goodness. You are beginning to feel the effect of your practice. It is beginning to work, and you feel positive. It is like coming out of a steam bath: your muscles have relaxed; you feel so healthy.