A Tale of Two Animals

The Philosophical Swamp is a rare and scary place, frequented by few animals; but they are very experienced animals. A Fellow by the name of Abraham Maslow named this place Self-Actualization, and claimed that the animals therein had successfully survived prior environments.

Last updated on January 2nd, 2019 at 06:33 pm

How does one go about finding a mentor…

By first, foremost, and always, understanding what a mentor is, and what a mentor is not. That is, if you’re hunting for something, you first need to know what the animal looks like. And you need to understand its behaviors, motivation, and habitat.

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What the Heck are “Business Requirements?”

Business Requirements are requirements on the business, not requirements for a [technical] solution used by the business. Business Requirements are what must be delivered/achieved to provide value.

Last updated on January 2nd, 2019 at 06:30 pm

It seems like everywhere, everyone bandies-about the phrase “business requirements.”  Yet, if one pays attention, one might get the idea that the phrase is applied in any and every context wherein the speaker wants to apply some level of mandate to his or her “wishes” without actually appearing selfish.

Case in point: we often hear technical people referring to the need to implement functionality or solutions provided by their technology as “meeting business requirements.” As in “Using this server is a business requirement.”

But isn’t functionality a solution? How can solutions be the same as business requirements?

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The Eighty Percent

If it’s required to deliver hours as part and parcel to the employment bargain, then pass. That is, if they will not budge off this requirement, then decline their offer. Then, ensure your career plan (primary position, secondary position, supplemental positions, etc.) is up-to-date, based on the assumption that their paradigm of requiring you to deliver hours will interfere with your broader career plan.

Last updated on January 2nd, 2019 at 06:32 pm

An observer’s opinion about a firm’s executive officers, posted on GaryNorth.com:

“In my view, the company is being run by dolts who are flailing around, looking for answers, and not knowing anything that Hobbes has presented here.

They will want more than 40 hours a week from you. Don’t sell it to them. Start a side business.”

Ask around about hours per week that managers are expected to deliver. If it’s over 40, tell them you are content in your present position.

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What Hath The Cloud Wrought?

Today, the “cloud” label is being used as a code-word for the next evolutionary morphing of business process automation from the old “client-server” model (circa 1990), and the prior “mainframe” model (circa 1960’s). But it is much more than automation. It is the next evolutionary phase of that enabler of all business: “communication.”

Last updated on January 2nd, 2019 at 06:37 pm

A recent post on GaryNorth.com:

“Cloud computing seems to be the next big shift in personal computing. Investing in the companies who will prove to be the big winners may be very profitable. I don’t even know who all the players might be. Google, Microsoft, Apple, and perhaps IBM should be in the mix. I’m thinking Google wins biggest. What do you all think?”

For more than four decades, we have modeled computer systems communicating with other computer systems with a “cloud” in between. I have personally taught classes wherein a cloud was at the center of my course graphics, as far back as the early 70’s.

The “cloud” was merely the short-hand reference to the communications infrastructure. It serves that purpose today.

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Looking for the “Buck Switch”

Tips, tricks, and techniques are only consistently effective when used on a solid foundation; when fundamentals are in place.

Last updated on January 2nd, 2019 at 06:42 pm

Recently, a forum member on GaryNorth.com wrote:

“Okay, you have 2 types of people who will respond to posts. The first type are people who give you specific answer…The second type will give you high level responses and may not help you much. Please search this forum on…You will find very directed responses to your specific situation. The others are high level information. I am having trouble with these other responses and I suspect are bullshit. You need to decide whose advise is more pertinent to your situation.” [Sic]

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How To Build Management Capabilities

Last updated on January 2nd, 2019 at 06:47 pm

This question was posted on GaryNorth.com:

“Where do I get a comprehensive list of management capabilities to build?”

Here’s the…other news: there is no singular list that exists for everyone, as the management contexts have both enormous breadth and depth. Specific career fields and contexts affect (what I’ll call) the local list of management capabilities applicable to any individual. There are many commonalities; but there also are many application differences.

On the other hand…

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The View From nn,nnn Feet

…because he’s in an organization, it’s the management components – accomplishing predetermined objectives through others, that constitute the largest growth opportunity, and will carry him to 10,000 feet over time.

Last updated on January 2nd, 2019 at 06:49 pm

This was posted recently on GaryNorth.com:

“Have you defined more specifically what you mean by the 5,000, 10,000, and 40,000 foot metaphors in another thread?”

The purpose of the analogy is to engage a sense of perspective that is at once micro, macro, and more expansive; and to promote a symbolic viewing of contexts (or components) as part of a larger, whole, and interrelated system: the system of one’s career.

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…it matters little what perspective others have; yours is the perspective of paramount importance vis-a-vis your career plan. You may choose to adopt another/different perspective; then again, you may not. Same choice for everyone else.

Last updated on January 2nd, 2019 at 06:50 pm

This is part of a dialog recently posted on GaryNorth.com:

“How common is it for anyone to have a 40,000 ft perspective?”




  1. a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface.
  2. a picture employing this technique, especially one in which it is prominent: an architect’s perspective of a house.
  3. a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance; vista: a perspective on the main axis of an estate.
  4. the state of existing in space before the eye: The elevations look all right, but the building’s composition is a failure in perspective.
  5. the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship: You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.

From: <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/perspective?s=t>

Perspective is a human trait, in all humans, exercised to a greater or lesser extent in any individual as the individual chooses. Those that choose to step back and consider a broader (or another) perspective in any particular context will; those that don’t, won’t.

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Turnover Planning

The Turnover Plan serves many purposes beyond turning over a job to a successor. The basic value in publishing the plan is understanding the job in detail.

Last updated on January 2nd, 2019 at 06:53 pm

The following was posted to GaryNorth.com recently:

“If I decide to leave my job in the next several months, how should I plan to hand off my job to a successor in a professional manner?”

I suggest you publish a Turnover Plan. The ostensive purpose of such a plan is to “turnover” the job to a replacement, whether present or not. But, there are more strategic reasons for you to publish the plan, as indicated by the benefits. Publishing the plan:

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Exit Strategies

A carefully prepared exit strategy considers both leaving the current organization and entering the next.

Last updated on January 2nd, 2019 at 06:54 pm

The following question was posted on GaryNorth.com:

“What is the framework for formulating/evaluating exit strategies, as well as related tactics?”

Background: Military Context

In the military context, the purpose of a breakout is to save the remnants of a fight from total annihilation, so that they may be reapplied elsewhere at another time. Essentially, the force breaking out either evades or fights its way out using a series of deliberate tactical actions designed to preserve resources, deflect any opposition, and get to a place of safety; it doesn’t turn and run pell mell, as that is generally suicidal.

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