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Showing posts from November, 2015

8 Lessons in Critical & Adaptive Thinking from Playing Cards at Grandma's House

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As a boy, Sundays were at grandma's house. As soon as the dinner table was wiped clean, we played card games. Later, as a young policeman with a hectic court schedule, I often opted to stay by her house - quieter and closer to the station than where I was living. Inevitably, she and I played cards. I learned more than the rules of the game.
Critical thinkingis the ability to pick apart a problem or opportunity from many perspectives (think:critic!). It requires one: gather information from a variety of sources, crunch the data into useful intelligence, apply concepts and principles, analyze variables and relationships, predict potential outcomes, and develop theories or hypotheses. 

In many ways, adaptability is the capacity to think critically in the pursuit of solving complex problems or seizing new opportunities.  

Adaptabilityis an organism's ability to timely and appropriately respond to change. It requires maintaining an awareness, processing new intelligence, synthesizing …

What is Complexity?

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In my workshops, participants spend considerable time describing complexity. First off, what is it? The answer is...well...complex. Allow me to simplify it. 

One of the first points raised in our discussions is that complexity exists where there are many parts  or cogs within a system. This absolutelycanbe...but not necessarily so. There's more to complexity than sheer volume or number of variables.

Imagine this scenario:
A little league baseball game. Two teams playing each other for the championship. The score is close. The game is almost over. One boy standing on the mound; another in the batter's box.  What happens between these two opposing players (pitcher and hitter) will determine who wins and who loses.According to traditional "complexity theory," this not a complex situation. Until you factor in another part of the story:
There is a mother in the stands. The pitcher and the batter are both her sons.This story highlights another oft-neglected aspect of complexit…

When Demands Exceed Capabilities: Reducing Stress in Your Life

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My favorite definition of STRESS is: when demands exceed capabilitiesIt applies to each and every application of the word stress. So in order to contend with stress, we need to address both sides of the equation: demands and capabilities.

Demandsare the responsibilities half of the stress equation. They are found in: I-beam loads, financial obligations, family parties, household chores, work projects, volunteer commitments, heavy payloads, mega-data, emotional crises.

Capabilitiesare the resources half of the stress equation. Think: material strength, money, time, skills, knowledge, physical fitness, machine horsepower, computer processors, coping practices.

When demands grow or capabilities shrink, we get closer to a tipping point...or a breaking point.

When I feel the pressure building, I rely upon some personal strategies:

ANTICIPATE THE OVERLOAD.If your "system" is experienced enough to forecast increasing demands or decreasing capabilities, you can get ahead of the crisis.…