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Fail-Fast FAQ

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Also see: AdAspera ... BSA101-CAPP Overview ... DIKW ... FAQ


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Leadership is deliberately causing people-driven actions in a planned way to accomplish the leaders agenda. Phil Crosby[3]

Some visions of thought leaders are "to fuel the evolution of leaders who choose to contribute to sustaining life (body, mind and spirit) in ourselves, our organizations, and our communities".


With the belief "that leadership development is rooted in personal development and organizational transformation is rooted in individual transformation.[4] 

  • Thought leadership is also an emerging discipline in its own right.
  • Our ability to understand its core practices, then to effectively apply them, are the keys to positioning ourselves and our companies for next level growth.[5]  Source-URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_leader


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View my page on iConnect iLearn in the 21st Century

First question goes here


future history is a postulated history of the future

that some science fiction authors construct as a common background for fiction.

Sometimes the author publishes a timeline of events in the history, while other times the reader can reconstruct the order of the stories from information provided therein. 


"Systems Thinking" "Solution Tools" constraints theory decision-making traps


Second question goes here


Fail-fast is a property of a system or module

with respect to its response to failures. A fail-fast system is designed to immediately report at its interface any failure or condition that is likely to lead to failure. Fail-fast systems are usually designed to stop normal operation rather than attempt to continue a possibly-flawed process. Such designs often check the system's state at several points in an operation, so any failures can be detected early. A fail-fast module passes the responsibility for handling errors, but not detecting them, to the next-higher system design level. Fail-fast is also sometimes called fail-stop.


Hall Center for Humanities ... Shifting Borders Project


Third question goes here


Tom Peters Times ... October 2008

Measuring Performance


In this edition of the TP Times, we are taking on the intensely topical subject of performance measures and the impact they have on peoples' behavior. "What gets measured gets done" as Tom himself has argued on any number of occasions, so the judgement about what to measure is all-important. You only have to look at some of the questionable decisions that have been taken in financial institutions over the past 10 years to see that judgement gets clouded when you get the targets wrong!


Here we give floorspace to a number of points of view on the vexing question of how measures drive performance, and how getting that right leads to the kind of performance we want from our people ... or not!


Madeleine McGrath

Managing Partner, TPC!UK

Consultant, Facilitator




As a British cyclist, I was glued to the TV for the Olympics, watching medal after medal being won in cycling by Team GB. In all, 15 Olympic and Paralympic golds! Following on from previous successes at the Athens Olympics and the World Track Championships, it was an astounding team performance!


Performance Director David Brailsford was asked about the launch point for this amazing success. "Quite simply," he replied, "I think we have a greater desire to succeed than our competition, which means that we are brutally honest about our current performance levels, and totally willing to learn from our mistakes."


Dave Brailsford's reply catapulted me straight back to my work arena. There had to be a valuable message here for all of us who have a passion for business excellence. Why do some business teams achieve surprisingly high performance levels and other similarly equipped teams fail to do so? Why do we see so many businesses go through boom-to-bust-to-boom cycles? What does it take to become a consistent winner these days?


I certainly believe that, in Darwinian terms, "survival of the fittest" increasingly means spotting and responding to the incessant barrage of competitive challenges and market disruptions. If performance excellence is increasingly about fast and effective adaptation, then for me Dave Brailsford's remarks are right on the money. So, what can we learn from his gold-medal-winning team?


To start the debate off, I can point to what I see as three important factors: awareness of current performance levels compared to the competition, collective desire to achieve a shared ambition or goal, and ability to learn. Let me expand on these:


1. Awareness ...


As a young Army Officer, I was once tasked with planning an attack on an enemy position. For hours I pored over maps, studying known friendly and enemy dispositions, weather, tide, intelligence reports, and so on. I got completely bogged down in my thinking. I had lost clarity. My Commanding Officer offered me a twenty-minute flight in a helicopter to sight the ground over which we were to advance. Twenty-one minutes later I had a crystal clear plan in my head and knew exactly what we had to do. I had quite literally gained altitude over my problem. Heightened my awareness.


I think the business world is evolving faster than management is adapting. We are, as a cadre of managers, poorly prepared to deal with the rate of change we now face. Some of us are in denial about this, some are simply confused by it, and some have willingly embraced the renewal imperative.


Do you have "altitude" over your organisation, or are you bogged down in the detail? Do you have a brutally clear view of your current performance? Can you define the competitive challenges and disruptive forces at work on you? Does everybody in your organisation know, understand, and care about the adaptive strategy as much as you do? Honest answers to questions like these can differentiate the next generation of winners from the future also-rans.


2. Collective desire ...


Many contemporary managers are from a generation that has not experienced the hardships of economic depression or wide-scale warfare. Full employment, violence-free lives, and comfortable retirements are seen as reasonable expectations. Many of us who have done well in the developed world have simply become too comfortable and too complacent I see many well-established businesses that, as part of an increasingly individualistic society, have become temples of high individual aspiration but low collective or corporate ambition. Take the present credit crunch as an example. To what extent have we all been denying or ignoring the onset of the now inevitable crisis? Will this denial prove to be a contributory factor to the scale of the eventual havoc it causes us all? Even now, people still seem to believe they can escape unscathed!


If leadership is "the art of getting others to want to struggle for shared aspirations" (from leadership researchers Jim Kouzes & Barry Posner), I see too many businesses that are suffering from being over managed and under led. I often ask clients "Isn't our performance struggling from a lack of people who are struggling?" Gold medals certainly don't come without a struggle!


I regularly present the above leadership definition to management audiences. Almost invariably, managers in the West tell me that they have a problem with the word "struggle." I can assure you that in Bucharest, Talin, Moscow, Mumbai, Casablanca, and Chishinau, managers never question the word "struggle." Why is that?


Are you as hungry for your organisation's success as the average Latvian, Indian, Russian, Estonian, Romanian, or Moldovan is for theirs? Do you really love what you do at work, or are you really funding a lifestyle that you love?


3. Learn ...


I want to discuss two factors in this context, failure and speed. Failure is a taboo subject in many management teams to the point where it is, paradoxically, inhibiting their performance. In a fear-charged, non-collaborative, and non-purposeful context, the key post-failure survival competence is blame avoidance, not learning. This kills the natural propensity of an organism to learn from experience and adapt itself for the future. It also seems to me that the larger the organisation, the more hiding failures is likely to be a key management skill, and the more opportunities to do so exist!


Now speed, or rather the lack of it! In the military environment, where speed of reaction often determines survival, soldiers at all levels are taught "naturalistic" decision-making, that is (1) Rapidly identify three options open to you, (2) On gut feel, go with one of the three options, BUT assume that whichever one you choose will ... (3) Need substantial revision once you are underway. This degree of decisiveness engenders life-saving reaction speeds.


How many management teams would deploy decision-making strategies of this type across their businesses? Even in those that have, step (3) above, the preparedness to revise a chosen course of action, or lack thereof, is the biggest source of eventual performance failure.


It used to be conventional wisdom that the big organisation would eventually triumph over the small. High rates of disruption, challenge and change mean that it is now the fast that will usually succeed over the slow. Which are you? What happens in your organisation when things go wrong? Does the performance of your business benefit from failure? Does your organisation make decisions in a naturalistic way? What speed penalty do you pay for your need for security? Do you get the balance right?


My conclusion from all this ...


I think Dave Brailsford was pointing us at the human art of performance: respectively, human awareness, human desire, and human ability to learn. The tragedy for many organisations is that they have become too scientific. They are places where managers apply pressure to performance levers rather than lead people to perform.


Still, not to worry. Given time, natural selection will take care of things!


Chris Nel


Consultant, Facilitator,

Keynote Speaker


Next question goes here


i4CQuest-Kewords: ESRI.com Podcast "Bob Kerrey" 2006


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