7651 Chapters
Medium 9781523094035

2 What Kind of Conversations Are You Having?

Stavros, Jacqueline M.; Torres, Cheri; Cooperrider, David L. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The moment of questioning is also the moment of choice, which holds the greatest leverage for effective action and positive change.

– Marilee Goldberg

Conversation is a constant in our lives, whether it consists of our internal dialogue or our interactions with people. We all know these conversations affect us, but we may not realize how much influence they have on our well-being and our capacity to thrive. Not sure about that? Have you ever been in a great mood and having a really good day when a short interaction with someone turned the whole thing sour? Or perhaps you were having a lousy day and a simple conversation suddenly brightened your outlook. In their research, Jeff and Laurie Ford, authors of The Four Conversations, actually documented that “the type of conversation you have with the people around you has a profound impact on your experiences, relationships, and accomplishments.”1

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Medium 9781626561625

Deadly Temptation #3

Edesess, Michael Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We told you in Rule #3 that if you hear that asset allocation is the most important investment decision you can make—and that you must do it using a scientific optimization model—you should tune it out. Now we will tell you why you should tune it out.

Financial advisors will often give you the idea that they can very precisely control the risk and return of your portfolio. Their spiel often starts with “The most important thing is asset allocation.”

Back in 1986, a paper titled “Determinants of Portfolio Performance,” by Gary Brinson, Randy Hood, and Gil Beebower, was published in the Financial Analysts Journal.1 It got a huge amount of attention. It was cited, and re-cited, and cited again and again. Almost all of the references made to the article got its message completely wrong. It became conventional wisdom that “94% of investment performance is due to asset allocation.”

Well, that’s not what the paper said. The coauthors thought it must have been their title that threw people off—“Determinants of Portfolio Performance.” But, really, the confusion about what the paper actually said was largely due to the fact that misinterpreting it gave financial advisors a new lease on life. It offered them a new marketing pitch, which often sounded right to them but was a misconceived mish-mash of half-truths and falsehoods that they frequently passed on to clients for very substantial fees.

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Medium 9781576752456

CHAPTER 18: Enough– the Time Cost of Stuff

Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

One argument often used as an objection to shorter working hours is that the average American needs to work long hours “just to make ends meet.” But what is missed in this argument is that the ends themselves are all too often the result of time pressure and overwork. “Convenience” products do save time—on cooking, for example—but they usually cost more and thus increase the amount of time we have to work to pay for them. This sort of thing can reach absurd heights. Take, for example, a new product I saw recently—microwavable pre-scrambled eggs. Since all you do is heat them in the microwave, you save about five minutes in time over what you would have spent if you’d broken some real eggs and scrambled them yourself. But the pre-scrambled eggs cost about 20 times as much as plain old eggs do, about 12 minutes in working time for someone making an average salary. So where is the time savings here? Vicki Robin’s popular book, Your Money or Your Life, has helped millions of people around the world reassess their spending habits and decrease their personal spending by an average of 25 percent, thus, at the same time, reducing their need for long working hours. Vicki is an acknowledged international leader of the simplicity movement, founder of the Simplicity Forum and one who walks her talk, living simply and joyfully and inspiring others to do the same. —JdG

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Medium 9781576754962

1 Human Resource Development as a Professional Field of Practice

Swanson, Richard A. Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF


Human resource development (HRD) is a relatively young academic discipline but an old and well-established field of practice. The idea of human beings purposefully developing themselves in order to improve the conditions in which they live seems almost part of human nature. HRD theory and practice are deeply rooted in this developing and advancing perspective.

This first chapter serves to highlight the purpose, definition, origins, context, and core beliefs of HRD. These highlights provide an initial understanding of HRD and functions as an advanced organizer for the book. The chapters that follow fully explore the depth and range of thinking within the theory and practice of HRD.


HRD is about adult human beings functioning in productive systems. The purpose of HRD is to focus on the resource that humans bring to the success equation—both personal success and organizational system success. The two core threads of HRD are (1) individual and organizational learning, and (2) individual and organizational performance (Ruona, 2000; Swanson, 1996a; Watkins and

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Medium 9781626569294

Chapter 5: Recalibrating Financial Capital— How Mutuality Drives Profits

Roche, Bruno Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.

Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor, 161–180 AD

If your conduct is determined solely by considerations of profit you will arouse great resentment.

Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551–479 BC

As yet, we have not analyzed in detail the area of capital about which most people are familiar: financial capital. The key point here is that we wanted to take a fresh look at the way in which capital is generated and, most importantly, how it is shared among the various stakeholders—not only the shareholders and investors, but the various participating parties along the value chain. In manufacturing, for example, every stakeholder adds something of value to what is initially a raw material until it is transformed into a finished product that is then sold to a consumer. In nonmanufacturing enterprises, such as in the services industry, the same questions would be just as relevant, but with value creation and value capture of financial capital occurring across different types of stakeholders.

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