Just in Case it Matters to You
Weekly Report 19-05
- COMPANIES WHICH FAIL TO CONDUCT EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION consistently fail to optimize productivity, profitability and employee retention. Studies have shown up to 76% of men and 85% of women managers lacked “confidence in the process, while most viewed it as subjective and highly ambiguous.” The typical evaluation form is ‘Open Box’ where questions are designed to apply to all employees, regardless of level or function, which “opens the door to bias… since, without structure, people are more likely to rely on stereotypes instead of thoughtfully constructing assessments using agreed-upon process and criteria that are consistently applied.” More effective processes & forms are designed for: (1) Applicability to different career trajectories, like technical experts vs managerial; (2) Definition of the criteria and expectations against which individuals should be assessed; (3) specificity in how performance did or not meet expectations, with respect to measurable outcomes. DCG have decades of expertise in this critical business factor. Call us for further courtesy guidance. [HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW – 1/11/19]
- “PHYSICAL ACTIVITY EXERCISE IS “A POOR TOOL FOR WEIGHT LOSS since it does not make our bodies work more so much as it makes them work better… Exercise is essential to regulate the way a human body spends energy and coordinates its vital tasks, but volume of activity matters more than intensity.” Studies of peoples in different locales with different cultures shows that 15,000 steps daily or spending seven hours daily on one’s feet results in the best cardiovascular health and absence of metabolic disease. Conversely, American habits like driving vs walking, taking elevators vs stairs, and sitting vs standing all contribute to serious health problems. “Worldwide, physical inactivity is arguably on par with smoking as a health risk, killing more than five million people annually… U.S. adults typically only clock one-third of the 15,000 recommended steps, which contributes to type 2 diabetes and 25% of all deaths; and fewer than 10,000 steps is associated with increased cardiovascular & metabolic disease… Exercise is not optional, it is essential,” but for survival, not weight-control. [SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN – Jan 19]
- OVER FOUR MILLION STUDENTS NOW ENDURE SCHOOL ‘LOCKDOWNS’ EACH YEAR, in response to ‘threats’ from deranged people & pranksters. Actual school shootings are relatively rare; over the past two decades some 25,300 students were exposed to campus gunfire in 25 incidents, with 94 shot and 33 killed. But every day of last year sixteen campuses were affected – six-in-ten related to threats of firearms, the others to bomb scares or other threats. “Compounding the problem for educators is the common contagious effect of anxiety which accompanies lockdown and exacerbated by actual gun violence, since the highest number of incidents occur in weeks after a shooting, with “children suffering ongoing psychic consequences.” [THE WEEK – 1/18/19]
- “ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, WHICH ALREADY OUTPERFORMS HUMAN INTELLIGENCE IN MANY DOMAINS, is progressing without any practical “standards of critical technology assessment, safety concern, or ethical qualm related to the creation of artificial minds and computer overlords.” A.I. technologies underlie software which is now responsible for not only information retrieval, but for monitoring internet activity in a manner where execution of transactions is based strictly on algorithmic formulas (like the ones which have caused ‘flash crash’ wipeouts of trillions of dollars from equity markets in a matter of minutes, if not seconds). The Agricultural economy took some 900 years to double in growth, and the Industrial economy around 6 years, “if another such transition to a different growth model were of similar magnitude, the world economy would double every two weeks.” And at the pace at which our current ‘Intelligence Explosion’ is moving – i.e. machines “surpassing all the intellectual activities of any humans – the first ‘ultra-intelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, even provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.” A heavy but fascinating read: SUPERINTELLIGENCE: PATHS, DANGERS, STRATEGIES.
- THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “Starving Artists” is a badge of honor to many. With annual median income from writing for full-time authors slightly above $20K and for part-time writers $6K, according to the Authors Guild, that description remains realistic.
Two secrets to keep a long-term relationship brimming: (1) Whenever you’re wrong, admit it; (2) Whenever you’re right, shut up.
George Carlin’s brilliant perspective on ‘Political Correctness’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0gr00uYOYk