Newsletter – May, 2020

On My Mind
I’ve studied many of the COVID-19 models lately . . . and I vividly recall Dr. George E. P. Box say many times – “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” His words of wisdom are still relevant today. On another note . . . one challenge for many organizational leaders on the backside of the current crisis will be to create a growth-oriented/optimistic mindset amongst employees. This will be difficult because of the trauma experienced by many employees and remnant feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety. There will also be modified or new business models to consider. The world will be different. Change will be required . . . and I hope your organization is adaptable.

Interesting Stories
Warren Buffett (89 years old), the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BH), conducted the BH Annual Meeting on May 2, 2020. It was broadcast live on Yahoo! Finance. Buffett—who is known as The “Oracle” or “Sage” of Omaha—usually conducts the meeting with Charlie Munger (the Vice Chairman of BH; 96 years old) in front of thousands of people in a packed Omaha arena, but I think there were less than 100 people allowed in the arena this year due to the COVID-19 situation. Charlie did not attend this year because he lives on the West Coast and so Warren was joined on stage by Greg Abel who is the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Vice Chairman of Non-Insurance Operations of Berkshire Hathaway. The entire 5+ hour meeting (including pre- and post-meeting coverage) is available on YouTube. My favorite part was Warren’s opening tour de force lecture on the history of the U.S. from an economic perspective from 1789 to the present. His compelling conclusion: “Never bet against America.”

Company News
I attended video conferencing sessions sponsored by the Strategic Management Society, MinneAnalytics, and the SouthWest Metro Chamber of Conference. The next Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC public courses are the following: Strategic Improvement Green Belt starts August 4, 2020 and Strategic Improvement Black Belt starts August 10, 2020. In addition, there will be a webinar (Zoom) series which will begin May 22, 2020. The course and webinar brochures will be available mid-May on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
I re-read Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (2nd Ed.) by Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow. Many organizations are in crisis mode now and this is one of the classic texts on crisis analytical tools. I especially like the book because the authors show how perspective-based models and scenario analysis can be used to interpret and explain historic events. I’ve also re-read Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (2nd Ed.) by Geert Hofstede and Gert Jan Hofstede – one of the classic books on organizational culture. Surprisingly, my favorite chapter is Chapter One: Introduction: The Rules of the Social Game because the authors skillfully define organizational culture and present various useful culture models and frameworks.