Newsletter – April, 2021

On My Mind
I’ve set aside more time recently for formal one-hour deep think sessions. These involve ear plugs and a clear desk except for a note pad and pen—with no phone or computer in sight. These sessions allow me to reflect and focus my attention on things that matter. These sessions were inspired by my experience in a sensory deprivation tank in Palo Alto, CA in the 1980s. It was a profound experience which I’ll never forget. I’m reminded of a timeless passage written by Vine Deloria, Jr. in an introduction to Black Elk Speaks in the book Masterpieces of American Indian Literature: “The twentieth century has produced a world of conflicting visions, intense emotions, and unpredictable events, and the opportunities for grasping the substance of life have faded as the pace of activity has increased. Electronic media shuffle us through a myriad of experiences which would have baffled earlier generations and seem to produce in us a strange isolation from the reality of human history. Our heroes fade into mere personality, are consumed and forgotten, and we avidly seek more avenues to express our humanity. Reflection is the most difficult of all our activities because we are no longer able to establish relative priorities from the multitude of sensations that engulf us. Times such as these seem to illuminate the classic expressions of eternal truths and great wisdom comes to stand out in the crowd of ordinary maxims.”

Interesting Stories
You never know . . . Petr Kellner, age 56, died in a helicopter crash in Alaska which also claimed four other lives. Kellner, was the co-founder and majority shareholder in PPF Group, a Czechoslovakia-based investment company headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Kellner was reportedly the Czech Republic’s “richest man” at the time of his death. The cause of the crash is still being investigated. His sudden and tragic death reminds me of the drowning death of Edouard Michelin in 2006. He at one time was appointed CEO of Michelin North America under the leadership of Carlos Ghosn, the future Renault Nissan CEO. Edouard Michelin was appointed Michelin Group CEO in 1999.

Company News
There are several upcoming public SIS events: the virtual Strategic Improvement Black Belt course which starts April 13, 2021; the Developing an Enterprise Information Strategy 60-minute webinar on April 12, 2021; the Shaping Organizational Culture 60-minute webinar on April 16, 2021; the virtual Multivariate Data Analysis 3-hour short course on April 27, 2021; the Strategic Improvement Green Belt course which starts May 4, 2021; and the Managing a Project Portfolio 60-minute webinar on May 6, 2021. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
The pandemic has had a profound affect on the beliefs and attitudes of people in organizations today—both for good and for bad. There does seem to be more empathy and interest in health and safety which is good. However, there is still—understandably—a lot of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety which is manifesting itself in many negative ways. I’ve recently reread the book Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential by Dr. Carol S. Dweck to better understand the current situation. There are a number of concepts mentioned in the book that leaders of organizations can use to help people grow and develop beyond their current mindsets.