Sword Tips, the Exkalibur Newsletter: Jan 27, 2022


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Perhaps your most important mission as a leader is to find time to think. These 4 steps will help you find the time for “thinking” and not just “acting”.

Why do you have eyelids? Tears? Why do you blink … and what are those soldiers always shouting?

I’ve never had a meeting with a CEO or senior leader when I didn’t hear a comment about “holding people accountable.” What does that mean anyway?

Ever see a Literature Clock? Try it out. It’s pretty cool!

Kids really DO say the darndest things. Write them down, too.

Each week, we’ll ask a question to get your best idea on a particular topic. The following week we’ll share your best tips.

More TV? I did promise a few suggestions about the limited series that appeared in 2021, although some became so popular a new season is underway. Here are 4 good ones to get you started.

Too many quotes. Never enough time … but here are a few provocative quotations that should get you thinking ….

I’m not an Amazon hater, and there are plenty of others who aren’t either … and how did some of the states get so rich when it seems like so many things are falling apart?

Computing Power is everywhere … and working its way into the sports world more every day.

More than ever during this pandemic era, it’s difficult to tell the difference between health facts and myths. You can start here.

We don’t even realize how far nanotechnology has come … and with mind-blowing implications for the future. 1 billionth of anything is pretty hard to grasp.

Not a specific book this week, well, maybe a book best known as a movie … but one intriguing question about 007 finally answered.

Sword Tips is continuing to evolve to bring you the most valuable content relating to Leadership and Life across a wide spectrum of the workplace, culture, the arts and more.

This week, we’ve refined our new Table of Contents which I hope will enrich your reading experience and make Sword Tips easy to navigate. Click the new “Return to the Table of Contents” icons along the right side to get back there.

Let me know what you think by adding your thoughts in the comment section at the end of the newsletter.

Building a Moat around your Castle is a good start.

As you know, there are constant distractions that prevent us from achieving our objectives in a given day. Too frequently, they join forces to prevent us from finding time to think.

One of those forces is the “drop-by“. (You may recall the hilarious Seinfeld episode where George was thrilled to be dating a woman in prison because there were no ”drop-bys” or “drop-ins” with your girlfriend behind bars.) Since there are no such restrictions in the workplace … how do you get some quiet time to think?

In a series of 4 concentric circles, I’ve set out the different ways you can gather enough time think … without distractions. Don’t miss this valuable framework in 4 Ways to Create More Time for Actual Thinking.

Why do we have eyelids or tears? Why do we blink?

The solution to keeping our eyes moist is having eyelids and using them to blink. This makes sense — fish and most aquatic animals don’t have eyelids and don’t blink — their eyes are always moist.

Our eyes produce about 10 ounces of fluid per day (nearly the amount in a canned beverage) or about 30 gallons per year. All those tears drain into our tear ducts at the bottom of our eyes and are carried to our nasal passage where they evaporate or get absorbed or drain down to our throats where they’re swallowed. For more, read Why We Have Eyelids, Produce Tears, and Blink.

You've probably heard someone shout this somwhere ....

Hooah is the phonetic spelling of the military acronym HUA, which stands for “Heard. Understood. Acknowledged.” It’s a word particularly favored by U.S. Army Rangers but heard widely throughout the military.

When a Ranger is told to march, to fight, to take action—the response is: Hooah!

Accountability. What Does It Really Mean?

This quote, among the many in best-selling The Oz Principle by Craig Hickman, Tom Smith, and Roger Connors, hits the nail on the head:

“The majority of people in organizations today, when confronted with poor performance or unsatisfactory results, immediately begin to formulate excuses, rationalizations, and arguments for why they cannot be held accountable, or, at least, not fully accountable for the problems.”

In this week’s article, Accountability | What Does It Really Mean?, I’ve described what it really means. Without it, you can be sure your organization will sputter along like an old jalopy.

This Literature Clock is pretty cool.

Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash

What a clever idea!

When you visit the literature clock, it takes note of your local time, then delivers a passage from literature that matches the time. When I added this to Sword Tips a few days ago, it was 5:45pm and I received the following excerpt from Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike”

Janice is not waiting for him in the lounge or beside the pool when at last around 5.45 they come home from playing the par-5 eighteenth. Instead one of the girls in their green and white uniforms comes over and tells him that his wife wants him to call home.

Those kids ...

Is 90% of Everything CRAP?

Marc Andreessen, general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, speaks at a technology conference in San Francisco, June 14, 2016.

Each week, we’ll ask a question to get your best idea on a particular topic. The following week we’ll share your best tips.

This Week’s Question: Is 90% of everything crap? Sturgeon’s Law as applied by Marc Andreessen, one of the leaders of the technology revolution, suggests you can apply it to almost everything you encounter.

Let me know in the comments what you’d keep and we’ll summarize some of those thoughts next week, no names used of course.

First Four TV Options: Limited Series

Last week, I shared with you the “final” six of my favorite “regular series” that I watched in 2021.

This week I have the First Four of the “Limited Series” programs that appeared in 2021. While all of them were introduced as a limited series, two of them have already been renewed based on their popularity.

I enjoyed all of them and they may give you some fresh ideas to consider for a quick binge opportunity. Let me know in the comments if you have other favorites.

This is a terrific thriller series which weaves a spider web of implications that lead to a surprising ending. The Undoing was the first HBO show to gain viewership every week over the course of the season, and was the biggest U.S. show to launch on Sky in the U.K, beating the record previously held by Game of Thrones. It was the most-watched show on HBO in 2020.[Wiki]

Wonderful acting and worth your time.

From writer David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies) and director Susanne Bier (The Night Manager), the new limited series focuses on Nicole Kidman’s Grace Fraser, a successful therapist, and her devoted husband, Jonathan (Hugh Grant), and their young son who attends an elite private school in New York City. A chasm opens in Grace’s seemingly perfect life: a violent death, a missing spouse, and a chain of terrible revelations.

Although Your Honor was brought to the screen by Showtime as a limited series, its success and reception led to a rewnewal for a 2nd season. Great news since Bryan Cranston is terrific as a judge in this series, facing off with a ruthless crime boss with a powerful ending.

Michael Desiato is a prominent and respected New Orleans judge. When his teenage son Adam kills another teenager in an accidental hit-and-run collision, Michael encourages his son to turn himself in, but quickly changes his mind when he discovers that the boy who Adam killed was the son of a mafia kingpin and decides to cover up the hit-and-run instead. Michael’s attempts to dispose of the evidence and conceal the truth have tragic consequences. [Wiki]

The first season, consisting of six episodes, concerns the lives of the staff and guests at a tropical resort in Hawaii.

Following its critical acclaim, the show was renewed as an anthology series, which will tell the story of a different group of travelers during their stay at another White Lotus property.

Defending Jacob tells the story of a family dealing with the accusation that their 14-year-old son may be a murderer

It is an American crime drama web television miniseries, based on the novel of the same name by William Landay, produced by Apple TV+. The series was created and written by Mark Bomback and directed by Morten Tyldum. It stars Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell, Cherry Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Betty Gabriel, Sakina Jaffrey and J.K. Simmons.

These provocative quotes are worth considering.

Sometimes, there are just too many quotes to pick one. This week, I’m sharing several of them with you. Each of them is provocative, so take a moment to consider their meaning for your life, particularly in the workplace.

Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash

I’m an active user of Amazon, so I’m not in the hater’s club. These folks in a small town in England aren’t either … with a reminder that job creation is a powerful influence.

It’s a little hard to get your head around how, with so much turmoil, pain and the unpredictable job market, that so many states are thriving with boatloads of money in their coffers.

Along with the tax rebates and bonuses, states are paying down debts and pension obligations and investing in short-term infrastructure projects. In addition, states’ reserve funds have reached a record level of nearly $113 billion for the 2021 fiscal year.

It’s no surprise that computing power is moving into the sports world with increasing speed… from Microsoft tablets in the NFL to supercomputers that have defeated the greatest chess players. But, that’s not all.

  • In the Digital Demi-Gods of Dice, a lot of the world’s top backgammon players aren’t happy with computers encroaching on the turf.
  • Poker players are of two minds … they can’t succeed without a lot of the math … yet it’s killed the soul of the game. Read How A.I. Conquered Poker.

The Science of Health

It’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between health facts and myths, particularly around complementary and integrative health. Becoming familiar with scientific topics related to health research can help you better understand what you hear and read and make well-informed health decisions.

The 10 facts, below, can give you a start in learning about the science of health. If you want to know more, check out the Know the Science online toolkit from the National Institutes of Health.

  1. Some online sources of information on complementary health approaches are useful, but others are inaccurate or misleading. If you’re visiting an online health site for the first time or downloading a new app, ask these questions: Who runs or created the site or app? Do its claims seem too good to be true? Is it up-to-date? Where does the information come from? Why does the site or app exist? Is it selling something?
  2. Unless you read and understand the original sources for a health news story, it can be difficult to know whether the story is misleading or has left out important information. But the likelihood that the story is correct increases if it comes from a media outlet that isn’t promoting a point of view or cause, was written by a trained science or health reporter, and includes quotes from experts not connected to the study.
  3. Sometimes taking a prescription drug and dietary supplement together may increase the drug’s effects. The drug’s effects may become too strong, and unwanted side effects may increase.
  4. Sometimes taking a prescription drug and a supplement together may decrease the drug’s effects. This means that you aren’t getting the full benefit from the drug that your health care provider wants you to have.
  5. When it comes to medicine, there is no official definition for use of the term natural. And it’s important to know that “natural” does not always mean “safe.”
  6. Although many herbal or dietary supplements (and some prescription drugs) come from natural sources, “natural” does not always mean that it’s a better option for your health. Scientists are studying many of these products to identify what ingredients may be active and to better understand their effects in the body.
  7. Clinical trials to test whether a treatment is useful and safe in humans may vary in size and type. Well-planned clinical trials give the clearest information about whether a treatment is effective and safe. However, because they’re complicated, lengthy, and very, very expensive, they’re usually done only after smaller preliminary studies have shown some promise that the treatment may be helpful.
  8. Studies with large numbers of people generally get results that are more reliable than those of studies with small pools of participants. Larger studies can increase the accuracy of the study findings and reduce the probability that any effect observed in the study was due to chance.
  9. The strongest evidence about whether a treatment is useful and safe consists of results from several studies by different investigators. Rarely does a single study provide a final, definitive answer.
  10. When looking for information from a study published in a medical journal, try to find out if the study has been peer reviewed. The peer review process subjects a scientist’s research to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field and is considered necessary to ensure academic scientific quality.

Nanotechnology? More mind-boggling that ever.

I knew that nanotechnology involved very small atomic-level activities, but I forgot that nano means “one-billionth”, an incomprehensibly small piece of anything.

There’s a lot of nanotechnology providing conveniences and capabilities already, but what’s coming is truly mind-boggling.

Why James Bond Likes His Cocktails Shaken, Not Stirred

Photo by Marcel Eberle on Unsplash

You may have forgotten that the James Bond movie franchise first appeared in novel format. That’s why I included it here but it could easily be under Movies as well.

In short, Ian Fleming, the author of the novels and short stories featuring Bond … James Bond … otherwise known as 007 … preferred his martinis “shaken not stirred” because “he believed it preserved the flavor of the drink”.

Along the way, Fleming invented the ” Vesper Martini”, which he revealed in Casino Royale.

Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel…This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I think of a good name.” Later, in chapter 8, Bond names the drink Vesper after the beautiful Vesper Lynde, a character who was apparently based on a real Polish agent named Krystyna Skarbek, who was working for Special Operations Executive. [Novel Suspects]

I’ve never heard of “KinaLillet”, a French apertif discontinued in the 1960s, but you can find a suggested alternative here.

Make it a Great Week. Don't Stop Leading!

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