Simple Sabotage

How many of the things that we do sabotage our ability to do anything, and everything

My son and a friend were exploring the Internet a few days ago and came across a US Government manual from World War II called Simple Sabotage. The book is written to teach ordinary citizens in the occupied territories how to do simple things to impede the operations of the Nazi war machine. The Chinese form of torture and execution, Death by a Thousand Cuts, is a related idea. By inflicting a thousand delays, confusions, frustrations, and small obstacles, the common folk in the occupied territories could help drive out the Germans.

Workers and bosses today use “The Manual” in every organization in America, and the bigger the worse, without even knowing it. People are afraid to do anything without authorization from the Boss, and no one will take responsibility for their words or actions. Continue reading “Simple Sabotage”

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Notes on Negotiation

Tips on getting what you want, and getting what everyone wants, in negotiations.

Tips on getting what you want, and getting what everyone wants, in negotiations.

When Eisenhower became President, Truman was rumored to have said, “Ike can’t just tell people what to do like he could in the Army. When you are president, you only get what you can negotiate.” Whether this story actually happened is irrelevant. In life, you only get what you negotiate.

Tactics

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Externalities and Internalities

Gibbons grooming each other - small

A Christian look at unintended ways that our lives affect others, and what to do.

The Cat House Café at the Memphis Zoo sits beside the gibbon exhibit, where Ringo and Talulah entertain guests with their funny faces and their acrobatics. When we eat there, my family and I get a table as close as we can to the picture windows overlooking their home, and yesterday the closest table was next to some loud, rambunctious little boys. Valuing Ringo and Talulah more than a quiet table, knowing that it is senseless to expect little boys to be quiet at the zoo, and being loud sometimes ourselves, we sat down and enjoyed a cheeseburger, waffle fries, and chicken strips for lunch.

Being a business and economics-minded person, I could not help but think about how the various people in the café were affecting each other; the costs and benefits of each interaction. The direct and intentional interactions were between workers preparing and selling food and drinks, and customers eating and drinking. There were indirect and unintentional actions as well. These can be thought of as externalities, which Investopedia defines as “A consequence of an economic activity that is experienced by unrelated third parties.” Typically, the costs or benefits of the goods or services being bought and sold do not reflect the costs or benefits of the externality. A classic example of a negative externality is a factory generating air pollution that its workers and nearby residents breathe. A classic example of a positive externality is that same factory cleaning up its exhaust and planting a park for its employees. The surrounding neighborhood would also benefit.

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Using 2X2 Tables to Choose Between Two Alternatives

You can make better decisions by using simple 2×2 tables. Learn how here!

There are hundreds of ways to evaluate programs and other initiatives. Many are subjective and do not provide hard, actionable data. Others are objective but so complicated that data analysts and statistics specialists are required to use them. 2X2 tables are easy to learn and use and very effective at producing understandable yet quantifiable results from a data set. This article details how to use them.

Using 2X2 Tables to Choose Between Two Alternatives