I’ve written and talked about goals and goal setting a few
times before. However, the success of reaching a goal doesn’t
only rest in setting the goal, but also in deciding which path
to take towards it. This video describes two different
approaches, and why one is superior to the other.
Imagine a group of government officials who take and process
passport applications. The application consists of filling in
a form and handing over one photo of the applicant’s face. All
officials try to do good work except one. That official is
racist and rejects every application from a person who looks
different. The people in the government notice the
discrimination. They decide to introduce a machine that will
learn from all applications processed by good officials. The
machine is consistent; it equalizes criteria for all
applications, so current and future discrimination is gone.
But is it?
The best performers are not consistently great, but they’re
great at being consistent.
It’s from Peak Performance and something I’ve noticed too.
People around me who deliver great work have good days and bad
days, but they strive to make it a good day every day.
Steve Hilton, a former director of strategy for ex-Prime
Minister David Cameron, is a guest in one Freakonomics podcast
episode. At one point, he talks about his “transformational
experience” after learning about design thinking.
I don’t remember when I, a shy kid in love with computers,
became interested in human stories. The more I think about it,
the more this transition blurs. But there it is—I love hearing
stories. It turns out that most people do.
I tune into The Moth Radio Hour for a weekly dose of
storytelling. Even though many stories are witty and fun,
there are those that explore the darker side of life: poverty,
crime, broken marriages, battling with diseases, a death of a
child. Those stories are from ordinary people in extraordinary
circumstances, and they help me look beyond my bubble and
learn something new about the world. Sometimes I laugh,
sometimes I cry.
Last year I wrote about stereotyping and jumping to
conclusions, and about an exercise anyone can do to reduce
bias. Hearing a lot of different stories makes the exercise easier.
I highly recommend subscribing to The Moth podcast. Other
similar formats I’ve heard about, but haven’t tried out yet:
StoryCorps (TED talk) and Humans of New York.
If you want to read more, check out the