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Showing posts from March, 2020

Leadership and Mental Biases in a Pandemic

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The global magazine, Foreign Policy, has compiled a list of things that kill more people than sharks - trampolines, roller coasters, vending machines and furniture/TVs:  In fact more than 26 people die every year after being crushed by  furniture/TVs, and only an average of six people die each year from shark attacks.  With these numbers there should be an entire week dedicated to furniture/TV attacks on Discovery Channel. Humans are not very good at analyzing risk.  We are all afraid of sharks, but never give our furniture a second look.  We all come with biases, prejudices, paradigms, different education levels and viewpoints that influence and filter the way we think.  This is all before we consider normalcy bias.  Here is what Wikipedia says about normalcy bias, "It  is a tendency for people to believe that things will function in the future the way they normally have functioned in the past, and therefore we underestimate both the likelihood of a disaster and its possib

Paying the Piper In the Midst of a Pandemic

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In the German folk tale, The Pied Piper of Hamelin , the leadership of a small village made a verbal contract with a mysterious flute-playing exterminator to rid the village of rats.  Once the rats were successfully removed, the village leaders refused to pay.  They came to regret that. From this old tale came the saying, "pay the piper" which acts as a warning.  It means you better pay the true cost, or something sinister will happen. In the Pied Piper of Hamelin tale the village lost their youngest generation, in the current COVID-19 scenario, it is our oldest generation most at risk.  The question to ask ourselves today is have we stopped paying the piper?  Have we lost our fear of existential risks.  Have we as a society come to believe we no longer must pay the cost of risk prevention?  Have we come to value short-term profits over safety and the lives of our most vulnerable? Our lack of fear is a new thing.  Throughout history humans have been very fearful for goo

A Mid-Pandemic Interview with Supply Chain Risk Expert Joe Carson

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global supply chain has been in the headlines for weeks.  To further explore how the pandemic is impacting global supply chains and risk management strategies today and in the future I reached out to expert Joe Carson , CEO of Spend Strategies LLC, (former Chief Procurement Officer of both Micron Technologies and Lucent) for his insights. What is the scope of the challenge procurement organizations are facing in high tech as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? The challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic is the unprecedented scope and scale of the impact zone. Past disruptions, such as factory fires, tsunami’s, earthquakes or even past pandemics, were relatively localized. A city, country or region of the world served as the epicenter. In those cases, supply chains could stand a chance of reacting by adjusting their supply chains to other suppliers or transportation lanes. In this case however, the problem is much more severe.

Speed, Accidents and Pandemics

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The value of distance has been lost to speed.  Throughout history distance meant a level of security and safety.  Invading armies of marching foot soldiers could cover about 20 miles per day on Roman roads.  A thousand miles distance between a town and an invading army equated to at least 50 days of security and time for the townspeople to either prepare a defense or flee. Historically distance was not only a protection against invading armies, but pandemics, epidemics and plagues as well.  Some diseases started on one continent and took years to reach another.  Speed, however, has removed this protection.  It has made us all continuously contagious neighbors. Today the world is divided into GPS coordinates surveyed by invisible drones and satellites.  These and other technologies support the ability to deliver people, cargo, munition and disease anywhere in the world within minutes or even seconds.  The value of distance has nearly disappeared. Professor Paul Virilio, a sage fut