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Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Business Blog
This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Politics and the English Language, a 1946 essay by George Orwell, calls to mind two messages to me. The first is about the need for clarity of communication. (Don't be put off by the title, "politics" is just another word for "getting things done through others" and the process of getting buy-in to one's aims.) While that topic alone is enough to recommend the essay, there's another message embedded within it...
"I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:
"I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."
"Here it is in modern English:
"Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account."
The message in there is the need to have a healthy respect for chance, uncertainty, and variation as a significant portion of performance, both predicted and achieved...something that must be taken to heart for effective project management.

[Later] Two additional thoughts...

Another version of the message from Ecclesiastes might be "s#!t happens."

A couple books in my "sounds interesting" list...
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, by Peter Bernstein.

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