Notes regarding "The Honest Truth about Dishonesty" by Dan Ariely

I've recently listened to (and subsequently bought the Kindle version of Dan Ariely's great book "The Honest truth about Dishonesty" 

I have high praise for the audio book as I really appreciated the interviews included as extra chapters. Dan shares some of his curiosity and the people that are defining and researching various portions of how we interpret and interact with the world around us. 

Observations while listening:

  1. We deceive yourselves. No surprise here, it's actually part of the title. There is also an interview at the end of the audio book with the researcher cited. Knowing this gives hope that we can change our behavior. 
  2. I would like to track down a hand full of what I consider to be frequently quoted studies and research. There were several occasions when I questioned the conclusions drawn by the actual studies. With as much as we are discovering about "seeding" and subliminal manipulation of behavior with methods such as priming, maintaining an unpolluted research environment seems difficult. 
  3. I'm constantly reminded of the observer effect when dealing with studies based on self perception and self reporting. 
  4. What does Dan think about some of the new commercially available brain monitoring Internet of Things (IOT) devices? (NPR had a session on a new app for aiding in the study of Happiness. It alerts throughout the day, and you answer a short survey. (Self reporting again.)

What does Yves Morieux say about Management and work Complexity?

His Youtube talk has an interesting title, and he does an effective job of describing the problem. However, I'm not sure I can agree with his six points without significantly more detail. He starts with there being "two pillars of management."

  1. Hard Management Style:
    1. Structure
    2. Processes
    3. Systems
    4. Metrics
  2. Soft Management Style:
    1. Feelings
    2. Interpersonal Relationships
    3. Traits

He describes the corporate culture that results from these two styles of management, and I really enjoy his description of how each attempts to deal with problems.

With a hard style of management they might deal with a problem between the back office and the front office by creating a middle office. One year later, instead of one problem they now have two problems. A problem exists between the back office and the middle office, and a problem exists between the middle office and the front office. They also have to pay the added expense of the middle office.

Since both styles of management fail to reliably correct problems, he claims that they are OBSOLETE.

His advocates for six "Simple rules for Smart Simplicity."

  1. Understand what your people do (beyond job description)
  2. Reinforce integrators (power and interest to make others cooperate. Remove layers to put people closer to this reality)
  3. Increase total quantity of power. (give more cards to people from game theory)
  4. Extend the shadow of the future (provide feedback loops)
  5. Increase reciprocity (remove the buffers)
  6. Reward those who cooperate (failure to help or to ask for help reduces efficiency)

Transforming from "Hard" and "Soft" to smart simplicity seems like it will take both effort and comittment.

Administrative effort vs. Engineering effort

When you ask someone for assistance you are often asking for one of two different types of help. Either administrative or engineering, but how many people really understand the difference between the two?

Engineering efforts are typically aimed at assisting or improving the functionality of administrative efforts. Engineering seems to focus more on process improvement rather than process execution.

Administrative effort consists of those things that deliver a specific instance of a specific outcome and will need to be repeated to get another instance of the same outcome. It typically consists more of using systems to manage the data as apposed to engineering effort that enhances systems used to manage data.

It can be difficult for administrative effort to allows for a true sense of ownership. The person providing the effort may feel a sense of disenfranchisement if they were not very involved in the creation of the process. Alternately a sense of ownership can also be imbued using a strong education program around the shared goals between the individual providing the effort and the team/person who created/maintains the definition around the effort. People may also feel a sense of ownership if they  share the stated goals and expected outcomes from the effort in question. Lastly, someone might feel an improved sense of ownership if the desired outcomes of an individual's goals align with the real results of a given effort.

Administration is not as concerned with the reason for executing the process. Administration also typically requires/desires very clearly defined inputs & outputs. It tends to be a more fragile exchange of information. Administrative overhead is the term often used to refer to the normalization of data or behavior to allow for a pre-defined exchange of data.  

Efficient administrative efforts are most often repeatable and very well defined. Successful administrative efforts often result in data that can be trended over time. Analytics over time can then aid decision makers in better guiding the organization going forward on how to invest future engineering efforts.

Both types of efforts are mandatory for a process improvement life-cycle.

Successful Engineering efforts by definition result in systems and processes that allow for successful Administrative effort.


Amazon Affiliate Program

Pretty cool Amazon program that allows you to collect a percentage of each purchase made through your affiliate links.

Here is my very fancy link to one of the tools that I recently obtained and have been thrilled to use. I linked the one without special offers as it removes the adds.

Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB
Amazon Digital Services, Inc