On My Mind: Some of the commonly used organizational performance categories are Safety, Quality, Financial, Growth, Quantity/Volume, Customer Satisfaction, Employee Satisfaction, Productivity, and Innovation. There are other emergent categories that are becoming popular: (1) Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) and (2) Diversity & Inclusion. Many organizations are developing metrics, scorecards, and dashboards in these two categories. Socially conscious investors are using ESG metrics to evaluate potential investments which means companies are now paying more attention to these areas. It will be interesting to watch these performance categories evolve. Interesting Stories: Paul Allen—who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975—passed away in October of 2018. He contributed greatly to society and yet was not as well-known as other business magnates. There is a nice tribute to Paul Allen written by Bill Gates which appears in the August 31, 2019 issue of Forbes magazine (Pages 15-16). Included in the tribute are six pictures of Paul Allen which provide some interesting glimpses into his life. Company News: I’ll be presenting on Advances in Strategic Planning at the Global Quality Futures Workshop in Hiroshima, Japan in late August. The next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC courses are the following: Strategic Improvement Master Black Belt starts August 14, 2019; Strategic Improvement Green Belt starts September 11, 2019; Strategic Improvement Black Belt starts November 5, 2019; and Strategy Techniques & Tools will be held November 25, 2019. The brochures for these courses are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. The 11th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held October 29, 2019 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. There will be eleven presentations on topics related to Organizational Culture & Philosophy, Strategic Planning, Innovation, Performance Measurement, Risk Management, Safety Huddles, Lean Six Sigma, System Thinking, & Problem-Solving. The brochure is available on the ANNUAL CONFERENCE page of this website. Intriguing Reads: Chess is considered by many to be one of the ultimate games of strategy. It is often used to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The new book titled The Science of Strategy by Alexander Kotov provides a detailed examination of the role strategy plays during a chess match. I especially liked Chapter 5 on Manoeuvring and Chapter 8 on Positional Evaluation – Planning. If you want to develop your critical thinking and problem-solving skills by studying and playing chess, then this is the book for you.