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Showing posts from April, 2021

Chess: A Game of Perfection Played by Imperfect Humans

Chess is one of the most played and analyzed games in the world. It has a rich and long history and is played by millions of people of all ages.  The game is believed to have originated in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization in present-day Pakistan. The oldest chess pieces were found in the Sindh region of Pakistan. The pieces are carved from black stone, with white markings on them. As much as chess is a game of skill and tactics, it's also a game of strategy. Unlike other board games like Monopoly or Risk, chess is a game of perfect information, so players are aware of their opponents' moves at all times. But they have little or no information about each other's thoughts or intentions. Chess is a fantastic metaphor for life because it teaches us that there are many ways to win and many roads to success. Chess teaches you how to think strategically, how to anticipate the opponent's next move, and how to plan ahead. Chess teaches you how to be patient and to wait for

A Time of Great Change and Opportunity

We are in the midst of a shift from an industrial economy to a knowledge-based digital economy.  It is a time of great change and opportunity. Businesses have to be innovative. They have to take risks, break new ground, and change things in ways that create real value for their customers. This new economy rewards the courageous and confines the cautious. It’s an economy that’s rewarding entrepreneurs and innovators who can see around corners, not managers who can or explain their way to incremental improvement. It’s an economy that rewards creators and marketers but not bankers and brokers. It’s an economy that rewards people for disrupting industries not following others blindly into the past.

The Art of Leading Strategically

 Leadership is like art: it's hard to describe in words but easy to recognize in practice. To be a great strategist, you must be a good leader and understand the art behind it.  Strategy is a way of thinking about and doing things, and every great strategist has the capacity to recognize the value of different approaches in different situations. They develop their own unique approach to strategy and understand that leadership is more an art than a science. A strategic leader is able to motivate others toward a common goal, and have enough foresight to anticipate obstacles and roadblocks along the way. But first, they must be willing to lead.  As a leader, you can have a positive effect on the culture of your organization by fostering a sense of community, encouraging creativity, and most importantly, inspiring your employees to reach their fullest potential.  Good leaders lead their people to success. The vision is clear, the path to that vision well defined, and the people are ins

Leadership: The Ability to Inspire

Leadership is the ability to inspire people to do something good. It’s one of the most important skills that anyone can develope.  Leadership is not about the leader. It’s about enabling others. My definition of leadership is simple: Leadership amplifies the best parts of others so they can achieve their full potential. What’s interesting about leadership is that it stems from social influence, not just authority or power. And some of the best leaders I’ve witnessed had no formal title. There are many ways a person can demonstrate leadership, such as originality, an ability to simplify complex subjects, effective communication, and a willingness to listen and learn. The best leaders are always looking for new ideas, often from unexpected sources. They surround themselves with people who think outside the box and regularly engage in activities that help keep their thinking fresh. The biggest mistake leaders make is believing that the new ideas and perspectives they seek always come from

What is the Purpose of Business?

Business is an activity that helps to produce a product or service in order to sell it for profit. It's about making money and sometimes businesses also make some kind of social contribution, but ultimately they're trying to make money. People work together to produce something of value. That value may be a physical good like a house or car, or it may be an intangible service such as advice. The people working together are called an organization. Businesses can be very small, like a family farm or a two-man construction team, or very large with thousands and millions of employees. Businesses are run by managers and owners. Managers organize the workers to produce goods or services, whereas owners decide how profits from sales will be distributed. Owners and managers are not the same. Owners can be hard to identify, like when a company's stock is owned by thousands of people. Owners distribute profit to the people who own the company's assets. The people working in a bus

What is Knowledge?

What is knowledge? Knowledge is what we have learned that we can recall at any given moment. To have knowledge about something, we must understand it. Knowledge requires that we know why things are the way they are and what caused them to be that way. The knowledge we have is only a small fraction of what there is. For example, imagine an experimenter who has spent his entire life in a room with no windows. He knows everything about the room, but he doesn't know anything about space or physical laws outside it. The human race is in a similar position when it comes to knowledge. We know so little of the universe, and we don't even realize how much there is left for us to learn. We should realize that the world may well be a stranger and more wonderful place than we ever imagined. For example, we may need to redefine our concept of 'life'. We may have to extend the definition of 'life' to include things that we previously thought were not alive, like maybe certain

Intelligence: The Ability to Learn Things

Intelligence is the ability to learn or understand things, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, and to use logic to solve problems. Intelligence in like a muscle. It strengthens with use and weakens without use. Some people believe that intelligence is inherent and unchangeable (a.k.a. nature). Others believe that intelligence is a skill that can be learned and improved (a.k.a. nurture).  The purpose of intelligence is to help you live the best life possible.  That means understanding what our strengths and weaknesses are, and how to use them to our advantage. It means learning to deal with other people, and learning how to deal with ourselves.  And it means knowing how to use our natural talents in a way that will allow us to enjoy life—and to help others enjoy it too. There are many different intelligences, such as emotional intelligence and practical intelligence. Emotional intelligence is about being able to read other people's emotions and respond accordingly. Practical i

What is Power?

Power is the ability of one entity over another. If we were to attempt an analogy, power would be similar to the gravitational force between two objects – though it may be more accurate to say that power is akin to a compressed spring, constantly trying and seeking with all its might to push against something else. There are many forms of power. The most common and obvious one is that which can be seen in the physical realm – for example, a bulldozer pushing against a tree to destroy it. But there are also other forms of power: mental (for example, hypnosis or media influence), economic (the ability to manipulate supply and demand), social (organization) and more. From the point of view of one holding power, this is very much a zero-sum game – there exists a finite amount of it, and if I have more than you, that means you have less. It is possible to increase one's own power at the expense of others' (a phenomenon which can be seen in economics as well) but more often than not

How to Think in Systems?

Systems thinking is a way of looking at the world that helps you to see relationships and patterns in the complex systems that surround us. It is a powerful tool that can be used to solve challenges or address problems in any organization—from small businesses to multinational corporations.  There are many different meanings of systems thinking and the term has been used in many ways. In fact, when we think there is a problem with 'systems' or society, sometimes the problem actually lies within ourselves and our own actions. Systems are complex. Systems are a lot of things and consist of many different parts. They have properties that can be described or measured, but the same system may have many unique characteristics. Systems are dynamic, and can be in different states at any given time. When we look at a system through reductionism -- taking pieces apart -- it might seem that the system cannot exist without those components. However, the system as a whole can still exist wi

Mental Models to Improve Thinking and Decision Making

Mental models are concepts and ideas that help us understand how the world works. The concept of mental models has been around for a long time, but has recently gained popularity because of advances in neuroscience and cognitive psychology.  These advances have allowed us to better understand how our brains work and why we make mistakes. And they have allowed us to figure out how to correct these mistakes. Mental models are simple, cause-and-effect explanations of how SYSTEMS work or how things in the world CONNECT. A mental model is a representation of a system in our mind, so that we can reason about the system. Mental models help us understand NEW information, situations, and problems.  Mental models are a helpful tool for improving thinking and decision making. Research has found that the more mental models you have available to you, the better we’re able to think and the more likely we are to make better decisions.  Because they structure how we think and what we pay attention to,

The Art of Business

Business and art are indivisible, for they both involve the act of making. The two are different in that a business must be profitable to survive but an artwork need not be valued by anyone besides the artist to exist.    A successful business is one that is able to make a profit (create value) while still offering products or services worth purchasing by its consumers.   Some people think that business is not an art because it does not possess the expressiveness of art. Business, in essence, is a system for making money.   But that is a very limited view of business. A business is not just a system for making money. Although it must figure out how to do that.    A business is a group of people inspired by an idea. Using raw materials and resources as inputs, they aim to create products and services that would delight their customers.    By bringing more art into business, leaders can bring the beauty and balance of art and creativity to the rational and strategic world of business.  

How to Identify Thinking Errors?

Thinking errors are the little nuggets of flawed thinking that sneak into our brains, and lead us to make irrational decisions.  Thinking errors are unhelpful thinking habits. They are also known as cognitive distortions or cognitive biases. A thinking error or bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in specific situations. The pattern can be either irrational, or logical but based on an inaccurate perception of the situation. Our minds are geared to find patterns from past experiences and make predictions on how future experiences will be the same. But sometimes our minds make incorrect assumptions, and this can lead to thinking errors or cognitive distortions.  Thinking errors can be useful as they act as a shortcut to finding what works and what doesn’t. They help us to react quickly to things that are familiar to us. However, they can lead to thinking errors, such as jumping to conclusions or believing stereotypes.  Thinking errors can cause us to think that we are a