April 13-April 17, 2020

a look back at this week’s essays…

Coronavirus Update: Bad Math, Dumb Reporting, Unthinking Citizens 

The two questions no one as yet has been able to answer: How many Americans will get infected? And how many will die?

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Corona Crisis: Business Survival Tactics 

We are in a crisis. A pandemic-triggered, macro-economic, business-demolishing crisis. My guess is that the virus won’t end up being as deadly as many fear. But my fear is that the economic repercussions will be great.

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The Questions Nobody Is Asking 

Here’s a question: If knowing that the lethality rate is important in plotting a strategy to deal with coronavirus, why haven’t we done the right kind of testing? Why are we testing only frontline workers and people that are exhibiting symptoms?

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quick quiz 

  1. How much do you remember about this week’s “Words to the Wise”? Use each of these words in a sentence:

* morbidity (4/13/20)

* furlough (4/15/20)

* verbing (4/17/20)

  1. Fill in the blanks in this week’s quotations:

* “Facts are stubborn, but _____ are more pliable.” – Mark Twain (4/13/20)

* “The pessimist sees _____ in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every _____.” – Winston Churchill(4/15/20)

* “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop _____.” – Albert Einstein(4/17/20)

  1. Are these statements True or False?

* In 1631, the population of the northern Italian town of Ferrara was wiped out by an epidemic of the plague. (4/13/20)

* According to a Harvard Business Review study of companies before, during, and after several recent recessions, many of them responded to the challenge by relying too heavily on reducing the number of employees. (4/15/20)

* Health officials in China reported the coronavirus outbreak in the country to WHO at the end of December 2019. (4/17/20)

recommended links from this week’s blog

* Click here for a detailed explanation of the difference between “morbidity” and “mortality.”

* Click here to read an article on History.com about a remarkable success story in 17th century plague-ravaged Italy.

* Click here to read the April issue of AWAI’s Barefoot Writer.

* The Marsh Family goes viral with a lockdown version of “One Day More” from Les MizHere

* From Rich Schefren: “Online Business Profits Are Up During the Pandemic. Are Yours?” Here

* From Simon Sinek:“5 Minutes on Why COVID-19 Is an Opportunity” Here

* From McKinsey.com: “Coronavirus’ business impact: Evolving perspective”  Here

* A sports star talks about his experience with COVID-19…Here

* “Hozier Sings ‘The Parting Glass’”  – a beautiful rendition of a beautiful Irish song that might bring some thoughts and feelings back into a larger perspective. Here

Q&A

Your Question:

One of our newest employees – a budding superstar, in my opinion – is always coming up with great ideas for new products and promotions. I’m remembering what you’ve said about the difference between “growers” and “tenders,” and he is definitely a grower. I’m also remembering that you’ve said that growers are rare birds, with superpowers that need to be nurtured. We want to reward him in some way, and that’s the problem. My partner thinks a promotion might be in order – maybe put him in charge of one of our creative teams. But I’m not sure. I don’t want to push him into something he’s not ready for. On the other hand, we want to do everything possible to encourage him to keep using his natural abilities to create opportunities for the business to grow. What should we do?

My Answer:

In general, I agree with you.  I have many times said the same thing about a potential superstar: “He’s good, but he’s not ready. He needs more training before we put him into a management role.”

But when it comes to growers… I have a very different attitude.

Because growers are so rare… and so valuable.

They typically…

* Don’t like to be told what to do

* Love to be in charge

* Thrive on challenges

* Like to prove others wrong

* Like to be acknowledged for their accomplishments

When I discover a grower, I don’t want to spend more than, say, a week, getting them ready to advance to the next level. That’s because I believe that growers lose their edge if they have to go through months or (as sometimes happens) years of training.

When I discover a grower, I want to put them in charge of something right away. And by that I mean within a month. I want them to learn whatever they can in four weeks about the job they’re going to be doing… but that’s all.

I believe that every month a grower is not trying to grow something is a week they are falling behind. I want to get them away from their peers (because they really have no peers) and get them working on growth projects… give them access to whatever they need… and let them go at it. Let them learn from experience. (Of course, you have to be careful what you give them. You have to give them responsibilities they can screw up without causing a major problem.)

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A look back at the stock market Here

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