- Coming July 8: Multi-Expert Consensus
- Some working groups consist of experts from many fields. When they must reach a decision by consensus, members have several options. Defining those options in advance can help the group reach a decision with all its relationships intact. Available here and by RSS on July 8.
- And on July 15: Disjoint Concept Vocabularies
- In disputes or in problem solving sessions, when we can't seem to come to agreement, we often attribute the difficulty to miscommunication, histories of disagreements, hidden agendas, or "personality clashes." Sometimes the cause is much simpler. Sometimes the concept vocabularies of the parties don't overlap. Available here and by RSS on July 15.
This page has links to articles from 2020. For other years:
July 1, 2020
- On Standing Aside
- Occasionally we're asked to participate in deliberations about issues relating to our work responsibilities. Usually we respond in good faith. And sometimes we — or those around us — can't be certain that we're responding in good faith. In those situations, we must stand aside.
June 24, 2020
- The Planning Dysfunction Cycle
- Some organizations consistently choose not to allocate enough resources or time to planning for their most complex undertakings. Again and again, they decline to plan carefully enough despite the evidence of multiple disappointments and chaotic performance. Resource contention and cognitive biases conspire to sustain this cycle of dysfunction.
June 17, 2020
- An Introduction to Workplace Ostracism
- We say that a person has been ostracized from a group when that person is ignored by the members of that group or excluded from participating in that group's activities, and when we might otherwise expect that person to be a member. Workplace ostracism can have expensive consequences for the enterprise.
June 10, 2020
- They Don't Reply to My Email
- Ever have the experience of sending an email message to someone, asking for information or approval or whatever, and then waiting for a response that comes only too late? Maybe your correspondent is an evil loser, but maybe not. Maybe the problem is in your message.
June 3, 2020
- Capability Inversions and the Dunning-Kruger Effect
- A capability inversion occurs when the person in charge of an effort is far less knowledgeable about the work involved or its purpose than are the people doing that work. In capability inversions, the Dunning-Kruger effect can intensify group dysfunction, sometimes severely disrupting the effort.
May 27, 2020
- Concealed Capability Inversions: Questions
- A capability inversion occurs when the person in charge of an effort is far less knowledgeable than are the people doing that work. Capability inversions are common and usually harmless if effectively addressed. But when the person in charge conceals the inversion, and falsely claims expertise he or she lacks, trouble looms.
May 20, 2020
- Hidden Missions
- When you meet people who seem unfit for their jobs, think carefully before asking yourself why they aren't replaced immediately. It's possible that they're in place because they're fulfilling hidden missions.
May 13, 2020
- Neglect of Probability
- Neglect of Probability is a cognitive bias that leads to poor decisions. The risk of poor decisions is elevated when we must select an option from a set in which some have outstandingly preferable possible outcomes with low probabilities of occurring.
May 6, 2020
- New Virtual Meetings for Teams
- Now that so many members of so many teams are working from home, the virtual meeting has taken on a new form, and new importance. Here are suggestions for making your virtual team meetings more effective.
April 29, 2020
- Intentionally Misreporting Status: II
- When we report the status of the work we do, we sometimes confront the temptation to embellish the good news or soften the bad news. Reporting the real situation can be so difficult, in part, because of fear, ambition, and self-delusion.
April 22, 2020
- Intentionally Misreporting Status: I
- When we report the status of the work we do, we sometimes confront the temptation to embellish the good news or soften the bad news. How can we best deal with these obstacles to reporting status with integrity?
April 15, 2020
- Incompetence: Traps and Snares
- Sometimes people judge as incompetent colleagues who are unprepared to carry out their responsibilities. Some of these "incompetents" are trapped or ensnared in incompetence, unable to acquire the ability to do their jobs.
April 8, 2020
- The New Virtual Meeting: Digressions
- The bane of meetings everywhere, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, has been digressions. But there are reasons to expect the incidence of digressions in meetings to increase now. What reasons could there be, and what can we do about digressions?
April 1, 2020
- Virtual Meetings: Then and Now
- Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to stay-at-home orders that affect many of us, more of our meetings are virtual, and the virtual meetings we used to conduct are somewhat changed. How have they changed, and what can we do about it?
March 25, 2020
- Bullet Point Madness: II
- Decision-makers in many organizations commonly demand briefings in the form of a series of bullet points or a series of series of bullet points. Briefers who combine this format with a variety of persuasion techniques can mislead decision-makers, guiding them into making poor decisions.
March 18, 2020
- Bullet Point Madness: I
- Decision-makers in modern organizations commonly demand briefings in the form of bullet points or a series of series of bullet points. But this form of presentation has limited value for complex decisions. We need something more. We actually need to think.
March 11, 2020
- Contribution Misattribution
- In teams, acknowledging people for their contributions is essential for encouraging high performance. Failing to do so can be expensive. Three patterns of contribution misattribution are especially costly: theft, rejection/transmigration, and eliding.
March 4, 2020
- Workplace Remorse
- Remorse is an unpleasant emotion. But it need not be something we suppress or avoid. It can provide a path to a positive learning experience that adds meaning to life.
February 26, 2020
- Unintended Condescension: II
- Intentionally making condescending remarks is something most of us do only when we lose control. But anyone at any time can inadvertently make a remark that someone else experiences as condescending. We explored two patterns to avoid last time. Here are two more.
February 19, 2020
- Unintended Condescension: I
- Condescending remarks can deflect almost any conversation into destructive directions. The lost productivity is especially painful when the condescension is unintended. Here are two examples of remarks that others might hear as condescension, but which often aren't intended as such.
February 12, 2020
- Unrecognized Bullying: II
- Much workplace bullying goes unrecognized because of cognitive biases that can cause targets, bystanders, perpetrators, and supervisors of perpetrators not to notice bullying. Confirmation bias is one such cognitive bias.
February 5, 2020
- Unrecognized Bullying: I
- Much workplace bullying goes unrecognized. Three reasons: (a) conventional definitions of bullying exclude much actual bullying; (b) perpetrators cleverly evade detection; and (c) cognitive biases skew our perceptions so we don't see some bullying as bullying.
January 29, 2020
- Higher-Velocity Problem Definition
- Typical approaches to shortening time-to-market for new products often involve accelerating problem solving. Accelerating problem definition can also help, but a curious paradox stands in the way.
January 22, 2020
- Disjoint Awareness: Bias
- Some cognitive biases can cause people in collaborations to have inaccurate understandings of what each other is doing. Confirmation bias and self-serving bias are two examples of cognitive biases that can contribute to disjoint awareness in some situations.
January 15, 2020
- Disjoint Awareness: Systematics
- Organizations use some policies and processes that can cause people in collaborations to have inaccurate understandings of what each other is doing. Performance management, politics, and resource allocation processes can all contribute to disjoint awareness.
January 8, 2020
- Disjoint Awareness: Analysis
- Breaking large problems into smaller parts can sometimes create a set of risks that make solving the problem in pieces more difficult than solving it as a whole. But we can still profit from breaking the problem into parts if we manage those risks.
January 1, 2020
- Disjoint Awareness: Assessment
- When collaborators misunderstand each other's work and intentions, they're at risk of inadvertently interfering with each other. Three causes of misunderstandings are complexity, specialization, and rapid change.
Previous Year Next Year
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
My blog, Technical Debt for Policymakers, offers resources, insights, and conversations of interest to policymakers who are concerned with managing technical debt within their organizations. Get the millstone of technical debt off the neck of your organization!
Point Lookout by
starting your Amazon search here
Point Lookout by
starting your Amazon search here
Ebooks, booklets and tip books on project management, conflict, writing email, effective meetings and more.
If your teams don't yet consistently achieve state-of-the-art teamwork, check out this catalog. Help is just a few clicks/taps away!