The eye cannot see what the mind does not know…

I heard the above words from a physician whom diagnosed inside thirty

image from pixabay
image from pixabay

seconds what we had been struggling to identify for nearly fifteen months with one of our children.

In this short timeframe, she observed several indicators that led her to an immediate diagnosis of a condition we did not know existed.

She was able to do this because she – her mind – had a working knowledge of the same.

This is one reason I never want to stop learning. There is always something more to learn, a new perspective to consider.

Toward that end, I am currently working my way through several of the books on this list.

Inc: 10 Powerful Books That Will Change How You See the World

Of frameworks and OODA loops

For some time, I’ve been thinking about the concept of a framework.

What do I mean by that?

We all view the world through different lenses; how we process what we see is the result of the framework that is the sum of our parts.

One part of my internal framework is the OODA loop. I’ve been studying this concept for some time and am working on incorporating it into my analysis of businesses. Here’s a sneak peek of sorts (what follows is a draft in continual update/edit mode):

The OODA Loop
First things first, what is OODA? It stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. It is a conceptual action loop develop by Col. John Boyd, orginally applied to military fighter pilot tactics. The short of it is that Col Boyd believed that whomever could apply the OODA loop fastest won the fight. His ideas revolutionized fighter pilot tactics.

How does this apply to us here, in a business environment? To answer that, let’s talk about complexity economics theory.

This theory states that the business enviroment is an incredibly complex, continually evolving system, itself filled with incredibly complex and continually adapting organizations. As the economic landscape changes, so, too, do the organizations within. This precipitates changes within the system, which triggers adaptive change by the same organizations. This loop is now our operating environment.

How can a business thrive – much less survive – in this environment? By having a framework to view and act through.

Ok, why do we need a framework? The decision making part of our brain does not prioritize (Organized Mind). Rather, when we are faced with information and have to make one of the approximately 5,000 decisions we are presented with daily, we struggle to sort them.

To really operate, to operate effectively, we need a framework, a medium through which to prioritize our decision making. The OODA loop is such a framework.

The OODA Loop as generally conceived

Most view Col Boyd’s OODA loop as a series of concentric circles through which one steps in sequence.

20160731 OODA

That is, someone employing the loop would first Observe, then Orient, then Decide, then Act. While this works as a tactic, I believe it is not a comprehensive strategy.

The OODA Loop expanded into strategy 

Drawing ability aside, this represents my view of Col Boyd’s OODA loop. I think it is meant to be a series of concentric, interlocking loops, in which the same person employing the concept does so in a 360 degree environment, constantly observing, orienting, deciding and acting. These also need not be sequential. It may be that new data is observed during the decision phase which requires additional observation or orientation.

20160731 OODA 2
That’s a great graphic, Rob, but what does this mean to my business?

Good question! Here’s a real word example. I am also a licensed Realtor® who spends a lot of time producing educational content, via my blogs at thehousingnetwork and robthompsonrealtor. As I generate content, I came to realize I was talking about inspection objections and resolutions, a phase a couple of weeks into a transaction, but I wasn’t discussing earnest money on a regular basis.

You could say as it applied to a communications strategy, my OODA loop looked like this:

20160803 OODA 3

That is, I was stepping through a series of conversations about these topics.

What was I missing here? 

On any given day, I was communicating with only one set of potential clients.

What should I have been doing? 

As a communications strategy, my OODA loop should have looked more like this:

20160803 OODA 4

Under this model, instead of a series of communications, the intent is to have related, parallel content/conversations, wherein we are addressing the needs and concerns of both novice and experienced clients.

Interested? Please let me know and stay tuned as I develop this article and concept further.

This post is open for comments.

Culture vs. strategy – what’s the difference?

image from pixabay
image from pixabay

It’s been said that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” (Peter Drucker). What does this mean? Mr. Drucker is, in my humble opinion, stating that a positive corporate culture will take an organization places beyond what strategy can do.

What is culture? Texas A&M defines this concept as “a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept…”

What is strategy? Business Dictionary defines strategy as “a method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.”

I propose that as a leader, it be your strategy to develop a positive culture. If you build that culture, it will empower your people to take the organization places you alone cannot. How to create exactly the culture you want

What’s your superpower?

I have been doing a lot of reading, to include Seth Godin’s Linchpin.
There is much food for thought in Mr. Godin’s books, from examining the system of production we work under today, to making ‘art’ (as he defines human interaction), to this concept of a superpower.

Godin suggests we have a ready answer when asked, “What do you do?” That answer is our ‘superpower.’

I’d ask you, What is your superpower?

I believe mine lies in connecting people to people and businesses to people.

Originally posted:

Can you turn social capital into startup funding?

I was asked this question recently by Twitter user @funding_tech and it has

image from pixabay
image from pixabay

had me thinking quite a bit today. About the nature of social media, social markets, social capital…what is this exactly and can you turn it into startup funding?

I propose that social capital, defined as:

“the collective value of all “social networks” [who people know] and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other [“norms of reciprocity”].
Source: Harvard Kennedy School

can be turned into startup funding.

Case in point: Facebook. Facebook is the powerhouse social media network across the globe, recently surpassing 1 billion users in a single day.

The recent earnings report highlights that there is value in a social network.

I’d expand this value a bit and posit that Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, etc., are social media banks unto themselves.

They are depositories of social capital and do pose significant value.

Stay tuned as I develop this out a bit further!

P.S. Please follow me on Twitter @rob_t_realtorco!

What is your ‘battle rhythm’?

I think a lot about “adding value” and sustainability in my business.

image from pixabay
image from pixabay

I try very hard to not take on new tasks that I can’t maintain (a hard, hard lesson to learn).

There are a couple questions I have learned over time to ask myself as I start down the path of any new process/task/venture.

  1. Does the task add value?
  2. Does it cost more than the value it adds?
  3. Is the task sustainable?
  4. Am I reacting to a problem or am I proactively preventing a problem?

What would you add to this list?

I call my list of minimum, mandatory daily processes my ‘battle rhythm’ (I can’t shake 20 years of being in the military). These are processes/actions I feel maintain, sustain and grow my business.

Is such a practice necessary? I think so. Effective, value added habits are necessary to build your platform.

You may be asking, “Where do I even start with this?” Let’s start by having you keep a log of your actions for the next work week. Change nothing, just do what you do, only keep a diary of it. At the end of the week, take a couple of hours and look at this diary.

Some questions you could ask at the end of this period of time:

What did you do that added value?

What could you delegate?

What should you eliminate?

If it adds value, how can you maintain it? If it doesn’t, can you eliminate or delegate the task?

Are you on social media?

photo from pixabay

If you aren’t, you’re leaving business on the table.

Do you have a Twitter account? A Facebook page? A Facebook group?

If not, let’s chat. I want to help you grow your business.

Why does social media matter? There are two very good reasons I think it matters:

  1. Over half of all web sharing is now occurring via Facebook.
  2. 50 million + small business use social media to connect with consumers.

Why “10th Human?”

image from pixabay

One of my favorite questions is, “Why?”

Why are we doing it this way? is an incredibly powerful question.

I started 10th Human Consulting, LLC, with the concept of the tenth man rule.

The tenth man rule is the concept of having someone on your team who challenges the traditional way of doing things. Someone who, as a standard practice, asks why and proposes alternatives.

This is often viewed as contrarian but it need not be viewed as negative. Instead, it can be a sound part of effective strategy building.

Let’s look at one example of how I saved one organization three weeks a year by asking why and following through on the answer.

Some time ago, I observed a routine in a department tasked with tracking the status of more than 1,200 pieces equipment and directing maintenance for any outages.

The vast majority of that equipment functioned properly day in and day out and the key thing the team needed to know was if was if a piece of equipment was faltering and needed attention. Yet each morning an employee spent approximately 30 minutes entering status updates on every piece of equipment into a computer system.

The status of most equipment didn’t change and only any status that did change needed to be flagged for action. Yet the organization was paying someone 2.5 hours a week – that’s 130 hours a year — to click a mouse more than 1,200 times to confirm statuses that had not changed.

Looking only for status reports that had changed however took approximately two minutes each morning, which saved labor hours and shortened the response time for assignment of maintenance work.

When I saw this, I asked, “Why? Why are you updating statuses that haven’t changed?”

The answer was, “It’s always been this way.”

So I asked, “Where does that data go?” then spent about 30 minutes posing the same question to leaders in higher levels in the organization, until the fellow at Level #3 asked me, “Why the heck are they doing that?”

By having a 10th Man take a fresh look at old practices, the organization freed up approximately $1,950 per year in labor costs*  and was able to channel those new-found hours into value-added activities.

If this resonates with you, please give me a call at 719-440-6626 and let’s chat.

(*Based on $15 per hour, the approximate labor rate for the organization.)