Author: Jay Cone

You’ll Never Know How Much I Love You… and Other Things that Defy Metrics

I have labile hypertension. Having labile hypertension means my blood pressure readings bounce around. Sometimes my blood pressure reads in the normal range and sometime in the high-normal range. Unlike my internal body temperature and my pulse, there’s no obvious reason why taking two measurements under the same conditions and minutes apart should produce significantly… Read more »

When a Group Makes Up Its Mind: Inflection Points in Team Deliberation

Work groups and teams make collective decisions. Jury’s reach verdicts. Executive teams choose strategies. Creative teams at ad agencies settle on a campaign they’ll recommend. Task forces and panels publish their findings. On their way to collective decisions and agreements, groups generate ideas, exchange information and opinions, synthesize data and eventually reach conclusions. Anyone who… Read more »

I’m Shocked… Shocked to Find Out That Football Players are Rewarded for Injuring One Another

I’m about as shocked by the recent National Football League bounty scandal as Captain Louis Renault was in the movie Casablanca when he closed down Rick’s Café Américain for gambling. In case you missed it, the New Orleans Saints’ defensive players had been pooling money to provide a bounty for any teammate who injured an… Read more »

Moneyball… in the Corporate Office?

My colleague Tom has a new assignment. The director of executive development for a Fortune-500 engineering and construction company, Tom summed up his new assignment this way the last time I saw him: “I moneyball potential executives.” He was referring to the 2003 Michael Lewis bestseller, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. The… Read more »

Ironic Outcomes: How to Get the Opposite of What You Want

About three years ago, I had a coaching conversation with a human resources manager for a retail company. The manager confided in me that conflict she was experiencing made her uncomfortable. She described the lengths to which she would go to avoid raising challenging issues or delivering candid feedback. By way of example, she described… Read more »

Seeking Shelter from the Brainstorm

A January 15th New York Times’ opinion piece, “The Rise of the New Groupthink,” Susan Cain argued that solitude rather than collaboration is more conducive to creativity. “…People,” Cain wrote, “are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption.” She went on to describe a trend in our schools, workplaces, and churches that… Read more »

…But What’s Really Being Said?

I have three teenage daughters. Needless to say, we pay for the unlimited text-messaging feature on our family mobile phone contract. I used to worry about the impact of sending abbreviated bursts of words and symbols on the future of communication, but I’ve been won over by how responsive my daughters are when I send… Read more »

Do Zero-Tolerance Policies in our Schools Work? Wrong Question!

An Oklahoma first grader was suspended recently for making a gun gesture with his hand because the gesture violated the school district’s zero-tolerance policy against weapons and violence, according to news reports. That’s just one in a handful of stories making headlines today. Stories of kids being expelled for having nail clippers or giving a… Read more »

In Times of Change, Go Slow to Go Fast

Three organizations I work with are undergoing restructuring. In one case, the company is being acquired. The other two organizations are spinning off divisions to create new publicly traded companies. I have firsthand experience of working for a company that’s being spun off. I was a human resources director when PepsiCo divested itself of Pizza… Read more »