Running the Race and Running It Right

A week ago Monday, I was in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood with my family and thousands of others, there to watch and celebrate as my son John completed his sixth Boston Marathon. It was a beautiful New England spring day, and we’d just sat down for lunch at a local restaurant when everything changed. We heard the first explosion and felt the second (later learning that it was just 700 feet away). Almost immediately we saw the crowds, walking and then running from the area. Their expressions reminded me of 9/11. Through the window someone mouthed the word “bomb”. It […]

Predicting and Planning for the Unexpected

In our business (and our life), we often mistake those events unplanned but not improbable, with those truly unexpected. For example, it’s certainly not unexpected that we’ll have snow each winter in New England, especially here in the hills of central Massachusetts. And yet, I’ve heard many times over the years some version of “we weren’t able to make our plan in the first quarter because of all the snow we had in the northeast.”  It rarely sounds convincing. That said, most of us don’t plan for snow days in our business, like they do at the local school.  We […]

Performance Perfection and the Magic of Baseball

Many professionals are perfectionists, always striving for an elusive measure of quality and beauty in their work.  For them, there’s a right way and wrong way for achieving all results.  A little more time, a little more effort, and the final product will be better – closer to perfect. At times, this desire for perfection makes sense. In designing and building structures for instance, there is often a right and wrong way to proceed.  There are visible examples of projects gone wrong. Engineers know well that done poorly, foundations will crack, roads buckle, and bridges fall down. Scientists who subvert […]