» i took three showers today.

yep.  i love the feeling of being clean. one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one 15 minutes ago.  I like smelling good.  spraying on perfume and body spray is no where near as good.  its like faking it.  i also hate being sticky.  going to sleep and feeling all icky is especially gross. 

it rained today. i was reading in the park, and so i sat in the rain for like 10 minutes.  just sat there. put away my book, closed my eyes, and LET THE RAIN FALL.  i know, what a loser right?  its friday afternoon and kerri’s reading in the park by herself. but you know what?  i don’t care.  i love reading.  and, i actually enjoy my alone time.  i know some kids would rather kill themselves than spend their weekend alone.  i can easily do it.  just, i can’t be alone for TOO long  otherwise i go insaneee. 

while it was raining saw this crazy hobo lady running at me and i was like OH SHIT, thats the one the one that chased me up the stairs in ala moana.  so i started running too, away from her.  but of course she caught up to me.  so we started talking and just running together in the rain.  i told her my name is marie and she said she was born in japan and lived in utah.  crazy hobos.  i think she was just lonely and wanted someone to talk to.  i definetly know that feeling. so, i ended up running around ala moana park  with her for a while. 

lifes been complicated.  im still confused as hell and i have no idea to what to do.  men cannot be trusted.  i need somebody genuine.  i just fixed my rockband drums with the power of duct tape, but i think i got water in my phone so its broken :(

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» Living Simply Saturday . . . Birthday Party

Does having my daughter’s birthday party at home with just family and close friends and also making a homemade cake and cookies count as living simply?  I say it does.  But, then there was the Little Caesar’s pizza.  But, for me that was simple.  Anyway, my baby girl turned one.  I could not believe it.  My sister and I got together the night before and we made her cake and I made her cookies.  I decided on an Apple theme (Apple of my eye kind of thing).  We made a cake to look like an apple (don’t say it looks like a tomato).

The Cake table

The Cake table

I also bought an apple cookie cutter for $0.99 and made apple shaped sugar cookies.

The cookies

The cookies

We had fun.  I believe she enjoyed herself as well.  I think trying to do too much for a child’s birthday might just stress you out so that you don’t enjoy yourself at the party.   I didn’t feel too stressed and I did enjoy myself.  And last, but not least, a picture of the birthday girl:

Not sure about this

Not sure about this

We also made her a little apple cake for her to “dive” into.  And she did!

Yummy!

Yummy!

Happy Birthday baby girl!

To see how others are living simply, please visit Keeper of the Home.

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» Integrated methods or a bucket of tools?

In my consulting travels, I’ve come across quite a few organizations who use a bucket of tools approach to their strategy, product development and process improvement (e.g. six sigma) efforts.  They offer their teams a dizzying array of techniques, templates, forms and software widgets to use, some training and tips on where and when to use them and black belts to guide them.  The tools are generally independent of each other, easy to pick up and use and offer the possibility for a quick win.  It seems very empowering; everyone can get into the act and use these tools (well, sort of).  This suits our democratic culture of instant gratification and more is better.

As I’ve worked with or along side such teams, I’ve been underwhelmed with their grasp of the thinking content of what they are really doing and with the results they produce (relative to the real investment and hype).  I’m sure there are exceptions, but loosely-coupled tools applied on a spotty basis most often produce lots of small, incremental wins that don’t add up to much.  I’ve never seen them trigger a strategic leap, disruptive innovation or process transformation.  However, progress is progress and team-building is great for lots of other reasons, so I applaud the effort.  But please take the next step!

Each of these point tools is just an out-cropping or manifestation of one of a handful of thinking methods that fit together into a few integrated knowledge flows and situational patterns.  All of them create knowledge that has a precise, unambiguous context within the pattern and a stable (comprehensive and universal) information architecture.  If you master the basic patterns and information model, every time you use the point tools they build on a holistic picture that can create additional insights and learning cycles.  If you use them in isolation, you never see the whole.  This makes life and work unnecessarily complex; a jumble of loosely connected parts and lots of unique skills to master and keep track of.

I’m all for skilled flexibility in the way these methods-building blocks are applied; scalable rigor is essential so that you don’t spend $1M making a $1M decision or identify a network of 100 failure modes when a list of 3-5 risks would have been enough.  However, you should know once and for all where the basic information objects fit in the scheme of things and the limited set and flow of value-creating thinking operations that can be performed on these objects to improve your world.

If you’d like some help mapping your bucket of tools to a comprehensive and integrated methods architecture, give me a holler.  It will greatly simplify your life.

John Fitch

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