Tag Archives: Meryl Streep

Robert James Waller Death is Indeed Sad

I was saddened when I woke up this morning to read that author Robert  James WallerRobertWallerPicture had passed away at the age of 77.

Waller was renowned as a romantic author.  His books were praised in the press, but criticized because they exploited extramarital affairs.  The subject matter of his two biggest best-sellers were men who pursued married women.

RobertWallerBridgesCover3The top seller, Bridges of Madison County, appeared in 1992.  It was on the New York Times best-seller list for over three years, which was the longest tenure for a title since the early 1950’s.  Later, it became a movie with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep.   Last year, I saw the Broadway production of the play at the Dallas Summer Musicals.  His second major work, Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend, was also a RobertWallerSlowWaltzCoverhuge success.

 

According to Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press, Waller was an instructor in Management, Economics, and Applied Mathematics at the University of Northern Iowa from 1968 to 1991.

Waller died of cancer on Friday at his home in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Do You Know Anyone Who Is Fully Developed? – Are You Really Working On Your Own Development?

Do you know or know of anyone who is “fully developed”? I don’t.
Bob Morris, in a comment he left on this blog post: A Training Session is Just the Beginning

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Bob Morris is witty.  And knows how to get to the point quickly.  In my blog post, I had written this line:

The problem is simple.  Too many employees are not fully developed.

And Bob left his comment:

The problem is simple.  Too many employees are not fully developed.

I thought about a snarky response:  Yes, I know of one fully developed person.  Jerry Jones is certainly fully developed as a General Manager in the NFL.

Then I thought about a serious response.  Is there anyone that I know of that we could say ever fully developed?  I thought of Michael Jordan’s dominance, and that last shot he perfected as his physical skills began to fade (if only a little.  I wrote about this in this blog post:  But We Can’t All Be Michael Jordan – The Challenge: Building Success with Average Folks.

I thought of Meryl Streep, surely as close to “fully developed” as any person in any field in history.  (Or, Daniel Day Lewis).  To read about their preparation, to read about their immersion in their roles….  Well, that sounds pretty fully developed to me.

But, of course, Bob’s point is clear, and one I agree with, and have tried to write about often.

We are, none of us, fully developed, and we know it.  In fact, I would propose that the very existence of this blog is testimony to the fact that people in all aspects of their work lives, (and their personal lives), know that there is always another new thing to learn, another new skill to work on, or another long-neglected improvement that maybe it really is time to tackle.

We live in a world where the best keep trying to make the best better, and that means constant development of every resource that an organization has – including the most importannt resource, the person at work.  And it is each person’s responsibility to work on constant improvement – constant “development” of his or her skills, capabilities, abilities.  Aiming at getting better, perpetually.  Tweaking, improving, discovering…

Peter Senge wrote:  “People with a high level of personal mastery are acutely aware of their ignorance, their incompetence, and their growth areas.”  And within that short sentence we find a lifelong agenda.  Be aware of your own ignorance; be aware of your own incompetence; be aware of your own growth areas.  And, after progress is made, even great progress, there will always be more to tackle in these three challenging areas.

So I have a little challenge for you (and for me).  Think hard about this one.  You have discovered in yourself, or someone has pointed out to you, one of your deficiencies – one of your “growth areas.”  If your reaction is, “I don’t want to change that,” or, “I probably never will change that about myself,” then you have just identified the right starting point.

So, get to work.

Steve Jobs, The Market Of One – His Opinion Is The Only One That Matters

Steve Jobs, the Only Opinion that Matters

I was listening to an interview with Peter Sims on Think, hosted by Krys Boyd.  (You can listen to the interview here).  Sims is the author of Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries.  The discussion moved into a conversation about the brilliance of Steve Jobs.  Specifically, just how does Apple decide to go forward with a specific design?  Is it a group decision, based on extensive market research, focus groups, testing in the marketplace?  Not quite:  Here’s what he said:

It’s “The Steve Jobs factor…The person who makes those decisions …is Jobs.  He’s the market – not users.  He’s the market of one, in the case of Apple…”


Andy with Nigel

It reminded me of that brilliant scene about another market of one.  This time the brilliant decision maker is the fictional Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.  I could not find a clip of the scene, but here are the words from the script:

Miranda's Opinion Rules the Day

Nigel:
There’s a scale.  One nod is good.  Two nods is very good.
There’s only been one actual smile on record, and that was Tom Ford in 2001.
She doesn’t like it, she shakes her head.
Then, of course, there’s the pursing of the lips.

Andy:
Which Means?

Nigel:
Catastrophe.

Andy:
So because she pursed her lips, he’s gonna change his entire collection?

Nigel: 
You still don’t get it, do you?
Her opinion is the only one that matters.

And here is the business takeaway.

Well, there may not actually be a business take-away.

For most of us mere mortals, we are not smart enough to know just what the market wants.  But, there are a handful of absolute geniuses; geniuses who seem to know exactly what people want.  So, maybe the takeaway is this…  Identify those geniuses, listen to them, watch them, pay very close attention — and then, go and do likewise.

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You can read a review of Little Bets by Sims, written by Bob Morris, here.