Point Lookout
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Archive of Point Lookout for 2020

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A railroad switchComing April 8: 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? Available here and by RSS on April 8.
Child's toys known as Chinese finger trapsAnd on April 15: 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. Available here and by RSS on April 15.

This page has links to articles from 2020. For other years:

April 1, 2020

A bedroom in a log homeVirtual 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 pointsBullet 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

Examples of nonlinear relationships among conceptsBullet 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

A meeting held in a long conference room. Meeting geometry is another factor that can lead to contribution misattribution.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

A remorseful dogWorkplace 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

The planet Earth on planet Earth on April 17, 2019Unintended 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

An off-putting conversationUnintended 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

Three gulls excluding a fourthUnrecognized 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

Three gulls excluding a fourthUnrecognized 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 bullying as bullying.

January 29, 2020

A model of a space station proposed in 1952 by Wernher von BraunHigher-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

HoneybeesDisjoint 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

A pumpkin pie in the midst of being dividedDisjoint 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

Braided streams in Grewingk Glacier RiverDisjoint 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

Agricultural silosDisjoint 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.

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