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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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Do you choose Action over Strategy?

by Rick Baker
On Jun 28, 2016

In recent conversations, it became clear to me that many people believe other people favour taking action over thinking about strategy. This viewpoint has been expressed as a criticism: the underlying argument being - people should spend more time thinking about strategy. 


Here’s one reason: People who strategize tend to take decisive and that ‘forethought’ combination promotes accurately-aimed action. So, strategy is the seedbed where both effectiveness and efficiency have the opportunity to grow.

Abe Lincoln knew this. He said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."

Regardless of the merits of strategic thinking, many people choose to take action over thinking about strategy. 


Before getting into the possibilities, “Why” is important because - if progressive changes are to be made, leaders must understand the ‘motivations’ behind people’s behavior. 

Obstinate-to-change behaviour is rooted in emotions. 

In the business environment, often, obstinate-to-change behaviour is rooted in negative emotions…fear-based emotions.

So, to understand what needs to be done to change behaviour it is essential to understand the underlying fears. 

I have found Napoleon Hill’s summary of fears to be the most helpful starting point for understanding fears. In his classic ‘Think and Grow Rich’ (first published in 1937), Hill defined the following 6 basic fears:

  1. Fear of Poverty
  2. Fear of Criticism
  3. Fear of Ill Health
  4. Fear of Loss of Love
  5. Fear of Old Age
  6. Fear of Death

What do you think? 

In business, which of these fears would cause a person to resist strategic thinking?

Strikes me that the first two – Fear of Poverty and Fear of Criticism – are the likely root causes. Both these fears are most-common: that’s why they are at the top of Hill’s list. Obviously, it will take some forethought and sensitivity in order to explore these limiting-fears. The effort will be well rewarded.

Do not assume the purpose behind your instructions is obvious.

by Rick Baker
On Jun 28, 2016

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

We cannot assume the purpose of our thinking is obvious. We cannot assume the purpose of their thinking is obvious. And, we are far better off over-communicating about the purpose behind out thoughts, ideas, and requests than under-communicating about them.



Communication: Improving Communication | Delegation & Decisions | Thought Tweets

An ideal way to help people: show them how to 'disentangle' the energy and power they, naturally, possess.

by Rick Baker
On Jun 28, 2016

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Energy & Natural Talent: 2 things we all possess.

But,  we rarely experience people helping us put those 2 things to best use.

Be the exception...help people disentangle the energy wrapped around their Talents.


Good News: you have an emotionally charged group of leaders. Now: how do you convert that energy to the positive?

by Rick Baker
On Jun 27, 2016

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

When our ancestors first saw fire, the first things they saw and understood were destruction and danger. As time passed, as they became more thoughtful and more adventuresome, our ancestors learned the energy of fire could be harnessed and put to productive use. 

Harnessing energy and putting it to good use...that's the territory of leadership.

[So, when you see people blowing off steam at work recognize there is energy generating the steam. Energy is good. Energy does good when it is harnessed and properly directed. That's a thing of leadership.]

If you want to influence then Learn to Listen.

by Rick Baker
On Jun 27, 2016

The Thinking Behind the Tweet

LinkedIn is a valuable tool. We can use it to discover what other people think about topics.

I asked some of my LinkedIn friends the Question: What does it take to succeed at sales?

And, the most-repeated piece of advice was - Listen Better.


Communication: Improving Communication | Influencing | Thought Tweets

Anything's possible when it's Digital – Part 1

by Rick Baker
On Jun 27, 2016

I am inspired by the possibilities tied to customized software. 

As my son, Jack, says – “Anything’s possible when it’s digital.”

About the possibilities…

I’m thinking about one of Todd Henry’s key questions1 - "If you could snap your fingers right now and make anything happen in your job what would it be?"

I have found the majority of people answer this question in one of two ways:

  • Expressing a desire to improve interactions with people they work with [clients, employees, bosses, etc.]
  • Expressing a desire to have better access to information [better accuracy, quicker access, easier access, etc.]

Customized software can help bring about both these desired goals. 

It is relatively easy to see the direct connection between customized software and ‘better access to information’. Simply put, customized software brings the power of big data to small businesses [at an affordable price]. Small businesses can mine the value embedded in their various databases, extracting value from databases of information ranging from sales to inventory right through to accounting and financial [and everything in between]. The full value can be extracted quickly, in real time, and it can be presented in ways that energize the user experience, just one example being - wonderful dashboards.

And customized software can help ‘improve people interactions’. For example, simple tools can be developed to organize strategic & tactical efforts such as goal setting processes and performance reporting…adding inspiring visual presentations. These enhancements expand motivation and promote teamwork. Another example – software development can play a leading role in people development. Customized tools can assist talent recognition processes and talent meshing: the power of Gallup research can be combined with StrengthsFinder2 talent assessments to guide training, education, and selection of people for specialized teams and teamwork.

These are just a couple of examples of how customized software can help you accomplish your dream-goals. 

“Anything’s possible when it’s digital.”



1.Todd Henry, 'Die Empty', (2014)

2.Tom Rath, ‘StrengthsFinder 2.0’, (2007)



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