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Finishing the Work of Founding a Company

Founders often feel their work can never be completed.  Or they feel that the completion of this work could only be the completion of the company, an exit in which the company becomes someone else’s opportunity, someone else’s problem. Let’s play with the opposing idea: that there is a distinct founding era in a company,… Read more » Read more

How to Revise Thinking

How to Revise One’s Thinking

Decisions we make, in business and in life, are a function of the way the evidence we get, the inferences we make from that evidence, the background beliefs that shape our thinking and the way we connect all these inputs to our objectives.  Every once in a while, a bad decision bears the fingerprints of… Read more » Read more

Encoding Learning

Encoding My Learning and Teaching: A Personal Reflection

Over the past couple of years, I’ve twice shared my priorities for personal development publicly – partly thinking my reflections might be useful to others, but mostly acting out of a belief that it would be useful to me to publicly state my commitments.  In “Three Lines to a Bird,” I describe the importance of… Read more » Read more

Culture: a CEO's manifesto

Culture: A CEO’s Manifesto

This piece is adapted from a letter to a Fortune 500 CEO, building on a dialogue we had about evolving the culture of a company in its second century. The path described here isn’t meant to be a universal recommendation – we’d do very different things in different contexts. Rather, I share this as a… Read more » Read more

Post-Mortems

The Power of Stepping Back: Conducting Post-Mortems

Nothing is more valuable than maximizing the amount we learn from our experiences, individually and collectively. This learning matters too much to leave to chance. A post-mortem discipline is tremendously valuable to institutionalize in a company, with impact that goes beyond the direct learning from the sessions. This impact is felt particularly as part of… Read more » Read more

Charlie Munger

Worldly Wisdom in 80 Models

As a companion piece to Graham’s Duncan’s post What Do You See?, I’d like to share a wonderful passage from Charlie Munger’s 1994 speech at USC, which my colleague Darko Lovric shared with me. Most intellectual progress comes from those who can see one thing more clearly than anyone has seen it, and learned to show that vision to the… Read more » Read more

Self Managment is One Part Architecture, Two Parts Culture

Self Management is One Part Architecture, Two Parts Culture

In the first of four posts on self management, I tried to name the distinct building blocks that constitute the foundation of a self-managing organization. After a second post characterizing the strengths and weaknesses of Holacracy, the third and most recent post laid out an architecture for self management that I believe would in many cases be… Read more » Read more

Becoming the Perfect Instrument Part 9

Josh Waitzkin on “Slowing Down Time”

The differences between those who achieve greatly and their peers are evident at both the longest and the shortest time horizons. The length of one’s horizon shapes the magnitude of the aspirations toward which one can effectively reach. The quality of one’s ability to see, choose and act in the finest demarcations of the moment… Read more » Read more

Advice to an Intern

Advice to an Intern

I’ve heard from many readers how useful they found Advice to a Student, which lays out an extremely demanding regimen for someone thinking about pursuing a first job in management consulting. This piece tries to answer a parallel question: what are the disciplines that, applied well, will help an intern in any field get the… Read more » Read more

Mind's Eye

Working from the Mind’s Eye

On a flight back from South Africa, reading John Reader’s panoramic Africa: A Biography of the Continent, I came across a passage that evoked the irreducible essence of what it means for a person to do work. Homo habilis had been fully capable of making tools from cobbles, and that talent served its need for… Read more » Read more