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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Project Management Needed In Health Care

Health Information - Author Unknown

This is scary stuff, and I'm sure it has gotten worse since this was written.

The worlds most influential Medical Journal, 'The New England Journal of Medicine' has admitted that 50% of drug therapy reviews were written by researchers for undisclosed financial support from the drug pharmaceutical companies. This only represents those who admitted this breach of ethics. This is for the period 1997 to 1999. In 2002 some admitted to falsifying research results so as to be more favorable to drug company claims. This raises the question of medical integrity of lesser publications and the Medical Industry as a whole. Most lesser Medical Journals do not consider allowing the fox in the chicken coop as being an ethical problem. Some believe this is only the tip of the iceberg on how far pharmaceutical companies have gone in the control of academic research and publishing. (Feb 2000)

Eighty-seven percent of doctors who set guidelines on disease treatment have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The 2002 study suggest the percentage is likely in the 90% range. It is the pharmaceutical companies who finance most of the nation's drug research.

MAJOR MEDICAL MYTH: Physicians have an ethical obligation to tell patients about significant medical errors when such disclosure would benefit the health of the patient, would show respect for the patient’s autonomy, or would be called for by principles of justice.

INFORMATION: Major faulty medical advice that has been widely communicated when proven in error only receives very minor public coverage. Statistics on systemic medical delivery problems are not recorded and communicated to the general public for correction. Hospital errors in the United States for example are estimated to be as high as 3,000,000 per year at a cost of 200 billion dollars.

Medical errors are the leading causes of death and injury in America according to the medical authorities in both Canada and the U.S.A. Health-care professionals cause 225,000 deaths per year in the United States. 12,000 from unnecessary surgery, 7,000 from medication errors, 20,000 from hospital error, 80,000 from infections acquired in hospital, 106,000 from non-error, adverse effects of drugs. Another 199,000 deaths are attributed to adverse effects in outpatient care. 2000 Journal of American Medical Association.

Only 50% of medical mistakes are even disclosed to the attending physician.

Only 25% of medical mistakes are ever disclosed to the customer, we the patient.

In 1998 in the United States 160,000 patients died because of adverse medical events.

Canada is estimated at 20,000 deaths per year because of medical errors. The Canadian Medical community admit that there are likely 4,000 to 10,000 die due to medical errors, more than are killed in automobile accidents.

Studies conducted record 100,000,000 people believe they were adversely affected by medical mistakes.

  • 42% were directly affected themselves, a family member or a friend

  • 40% site misdiagnosis and wrong treatment

  • 28% for medication errors

  • 22% for mistakes during a medical procedure

The largest 50% sited carelessness, improper training and poor communication.

My dad was the victim of several medical mistakes when he was in the hospital last year. He died at the hospice within hours of leaving the hospital.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Free Audio Book - The World is Flat

The World is Flat Audiobook Giveaway

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From now until August 4th, you can download the audiobook version of The World Is Flat and receive an exclusive audio preview excerpt of Hot, Flat, and Crowded.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Technobabble Defined

Since I used the word "technobabble" in today's post I thought I would include the definition of the word as taken from Wikipedia. I see this behavior exhibited occasionally and it always strikes me as funny.

Technobabble (a portmanteau of technology and babble) is a form of prose using jargon, buzzwords and highly esoteric language to give an impression of plausibility through mystification, misdirection, and obfuscation. This is not to be confused with jargon itself, but rather technobabble is a conscious attempt to deliver jargon to outsiders, without insight or comprehensive explanation, to make unsound or unprovable arguments appear to have merit.

Various fields of practice and industry have their own specialised vocabularies (jargon) that are intended to convey specific features in a concise manner to those educated within that industry, which would otherwise appear confusing or nonsensical to an outside listener. Additionally, the sound use of jargon will concisely convey information (even if that information is not fully understood by the listener). Conversely, the primary function of technobabble is to obscure the truth of a situation by overdressing the words and concepts.

Read the rest at Wikipedia

VUGs and Projects - REPOST

I created and posted this here almost two years ago. Can anybody relate?

I like the quote by Malcolm Forbes that goes, "You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them". I have been fortunate over the years to have worked for people that had good character and lived by high ethical standards. At the same time, I have worked with and for people that only care about their own vague agendas, that speak mostly gibberish (technobabble), and refuse to acknowledge the accomplishments of others. I call these people, "VUGs". VUG is an acronym for Vague, Unclear, and Gibberish- speaking.

I'm sure you know a few VUGs. They come to meetings, (they love e-mail) and try to prove how smart they are by using "industry" jargon, corporate gibberish-speak, and what has been referred to as "technobabble". They are generally laid back, often personable, will complement you to your face, and put you down behind your back. They are insecure, generally soft-spoken, power hungry, yet calm in the face of crisis. They blame others, never apologize, and love recognition. When they do try to recognize others, it is usually out of guilt or a sense of corporate duty.

VUGs like unclear (immeasurable) strategies and objectives. They ensure that they can't personally be held accountable because they speak in vague terms and future perfect scenarios. Timeframes usually aren't important to VUGs. In fact, they will never state a definitive deadline for anything that can come back to bite them. They love to delegate, are unwilling to debate, and are usually unable to deal effectively with others because of a lack of self-confidence or guilt from the way they have treated others.

VUGs speak in VUGlish, a language all their own. When VUGs speak what they say rarely has a connection to organizational strategy, is peppered with gibberish, or is a long-winded rambling of disconnected thoughts and ideas linked to immeasurable goals.

So what does all this mean? For the project manager, having a VUG for a project sponsor, as your manager, or as one of your stakeholders is inevitable. How we handle them will help determine how successful we are when managing our project.

As project managers we have to de-VUG our projects. We de-VUG our projects by ensuring that language in our scope documents, project plans, and other project documentation is:

Specific and Clear

Linked to Organizational or Departmental Strategy

Is Written in Plain Language

Is Measurable

Has Definitive Dates (deadlines) for all Milestones and Deliverables

If you are ignorant of the VUGs that can influence your project, your projects could get VUGly!

What do you think? Do you agree, or disagree? Do you know a VUG?

Leave me a comment or e-mail me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Untouchables? Maybe a new project manager is required?

The Untouchables - HUMAN EVENTS — Pat Buchanan wrote the essay below asking if the Obamas are getting kid-glove treatment by the press. Interesting read.

Why did progressives recoil [over the New Yorker cartoon]? Because the more savvy among them sense that, like much humor, this cartoon was an exaggeration that contained no small kernel of recognizable truth.

After all, Barack did dump the flag pin. Michelle did say she had never been proud of her country before now. Barack did don that Ali Baba outfit in Somalia. His father and stepfather were Muslims. He does have a benefactor, Bill Ayers, who said after 9-11 he regrets not planting more bombs in the 1960s. He did have a pastor who lionizes Black Muslim Minister Louis Farrakhan. Put glasses on him, and Barack could play Malcolm X in the movies.
And assume the point of the cartoon had been to satirize the Obamas. Why would that have been so outrageous? Journalists, after all, still celebrate Herblock, the cartoonist who portrayed Richard Nixon with the body of a rat climbing out of a sewer.  Hillary Clinton has been compared to the sex-starved Glenn Close character in “Fatal Attraction.” George Bush’s verbal gaffes are endlessly panned by late-night comics and Comedy Central. But Barack gets the special-ed treatment. Our first affirmative action candidate.

The New Yorker made a “damn-fool decision,” said George Lockwood, a lecturer on journalistic ethics.  David West of Brookings wailed to USA Today of the cartoon: “It’s the mass media at its worst. It perpetuates false information, and it’s highly inflammatory. … It gives credibility to what’s been circulating for months, and that’s what makes it dangerous.”
But dangerous to whom? Again, it is only a cartoon.

For it suggests that Obama is an untouchable to be protected. As an African-American, he is not to be treated the same as other politicians. Remnick and Hertzberg obviously felt intense moral pressure to remove any suspicion that they had satirized the Obamas. No problem, however, if they were mocking the American right.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Good List of Personal Productivity Websites

Credit for this list goes to: Dustin Wax author of

43 Folders: Merlin Mann started a lot of us on this journey, so now he has to pay. In the meantime, though, he and his crew of happy Folderers keep on providing great tips on productivity and getting things done, especially for Mac users.

All Things Workplace: Tips from Steve Roesler on becoming a more effective leader.

Awake At The Wheel: Great stuff from serial entrepreneur, yoga expert, and writer Jonathan Fields on being happy and successful in all your endeavors.

Black Belt Productivity: Co-written by Jason Echols and Michael Ramm, BBP covers workplace productivity and GTD. Home of the “GTD Primer”, an excellent series of posts introducing GTD methods.

Change Your Thoughts: Steven Aitchison’s blog on health, finances, relationships, writing, and generally keeping a positive perspective on life.

Conflict Zen: Formerly “I Can’t Say That”, Conflict Zen is all about dealing with and resolving interpersonal conflict. If you know people, you probably need to get a little conflict Zen.

Cranking Widgets: Brett Kelly offers practical GTD-minded advice on life and productivity.

Creating a Better Life: Personal development in its purest form, CaBL deals with productivity and related issues from the perspective of creating internal attitudes that make us more productive. Check out the rather thorough listing of free personal development e-books, too!

The Daily Saint : I have it on good authority that Mike St. Pierre isn’t a saint at all. But who cares? He offers great tips on being more productive and managing time better, with an emphasis on creating meaning in your life.

Design Your Writing Life: Lisa Gates poses thoughtful questions and exercises to help you tap into and express your inner creativity, in writing or any other form.

Diary of a Four-Hour-a-Weeker: Like the title says, this is the journal of an entrepreneur trying to implement the suggestions of Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek.

Did I Get Things Done?: Andrew Mason’s blog focuses around his efforts to implement and live by the principles in David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

D*I*Y Planner: The blog is wacky and often deeply obscure, celebrating a sometimes unholy love between the writers and their pens and paper. But the main attraction is the DIY Planner templates — an incredible assortment of print-them-yourself forms for all your productivity and creativity needs.

Dumb Little Man: DLM’s Jay White ain’t so dumb after all. Jay shares tips on productivity, personal development, and business life.

Escape From Corporate America: Advice on working the corporate world to your advantage — even if that means leaving it — from career change expert Pamela Skillings.

Even Happier: Counselor and former Italian pop sensation Marco shares his insights on living a happier life.

Flipping Heck!: Productivity notes with an emphasis on the workplace. Offers lots of tutorials on using various pieces of software as well as on dealing with common workplace tasks.

Genuine Curiosity: Dwayne Melancon reviews books, software, and other tools that help keep us productive.

Get Rich Slowly: GRS is devoted to personal finance, offering tips and advice on saving money, investing wisely, and getting a grip on your investing.

Getting Things Done: Getting Things Done (the blog) is all about applying the principles of Getting Things Done (the book). Home of the Ultimate GTD Index, which pulls together feeds from GTD sites across the ‘Net.

The Growing Life: Clay Collins takes on everything you thought you knew about productivity with his anti-hacks and the concept of lifestyle design.

GTD Times: Officially sanctioned by David Allen, GTD Times focuses especially on business productivity.

LifeClever: Tips on life and productivity with an emphasis on design, both how design aids productivity and the special challenges designers face.

Lifehacker: Lifehacker offers a mix of daily news on the productivity beat as well as an assortment of handy little apps that help you get things done. It’s not Lifehack

The Life Hackery: Lots of clever tips on health and fitness, household organization, Internet apps, and plenty more.

Life Learning Today: Learn about life and live to learn with Life Learning Today. Tips on personal development and productivity, but also health, money, work , blogging, and more.

Life Lessons of a Military Wife: The title says it all: this site offers life lessons from a military wife, with a focus on personal and home finances and family organization.

Life Optimizer Life Optimizer: Donald Latumahina’s blog about making the most out of the resources you’re given to live with. Great stuff to keep your outlook strong.

LifeReboot: Shaun Boyd’s blog on finding and pursuing your passion in work, learning, relationships, and life as a whole.

Life Sutra: The 4-Hour Workweek Journal: Andrew Brick, a 30-something software professional, offers tips and tricks centered around the ideas in 4HWW.

LifeTweak: Blogger Manu writes on general productivity topics. Distinguished by his amusing hand-drawn illustrations and earnestly helpful content.

LivSimpl: Happiness through simplicity (and the elimination of silent e’s).

A Long Long Road: Lawrence Cheok’s blog on personal growth, careers, and relationships.

Matt’s Idea Blog: Matthew Cornell is a personal productivity consultant who shares his ideas on productivity, motivation, and personal growth.

MonkAtWork: Adam Kayce is not a monk. Instead, he writes about bringing a sense of spirituality and passion to your work. If you must have a monk, though, there’s a very cool drawing of one.

Newly Corporate: Group blog covering workplace and life “best practices” for young professionals.

One Bag Nation: Ann at One Bag Nation documents the journey of a naturally disorganized person in her quest to gain a little order in her life.

Open Loops: Good, solid GTD-oriented advice from a man with a beard (there’s no About page, is what I’m saying).

Organize IT: Practical-minded advice on productivity, health, finance, personal growth, and GTD.

Nick Pagan: Nick Pagan wants you to understand you better. To that end, he presents productivity and personal development information based on how the mind works. Meaty, deeply researched stuff.

Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development Blog: Are you smart? Then you owe it to yourself to check out Steve Pavlina’s personal development tips for smart people. Steve writes eloquently about entrepreneurship, especially working online, and the tools and attitudes that make it work.

Personal Development Blog: Gleb Reys shares what he learns on his own quest for personal development.

Personal Development Ideas: You want personal development ideas, Personal Development Ideas has personal development ideas. Goal-setting, time-management, and personal growth top the bill here.

Persistence Unlimited: From the man who gave MobilePC users “Achieve-IT!” comes a blog about coming up with and acting on your ideas. By turns inspirational and funny, PU knows how to get stuff done.

John Place Online:John Place helps you maximize your potential for happiness with tips and advice, with a lot of strong material on relationships.

Productivity501: Great blog from Mark Shead on productivity tools and techniques. As the name suggests, Mark is focused not just on getting started but on advanced thinking about productivity.

Put Things Off: Nick Cernis enlists the aid of a fuzzy kitten and his lunchtime banana to transform productivity from a hobby into a way of life. Refreshingly contrarian — and a little silly. Focuses on freelancing, software, entrepreneurship, and general productivity.

Right Attitudes » Ideas for Impact: Nagesh Belludi offers practical advice for developing the right attitudes in life — and transforming attitudes into behaviors that help you be more productive.

Ririan Project: Ririan is a guy on a quest to remake his life, and he shares the process with us.

David Seah: David Seah offers advice and a set of great templates (including “The Printable CEO” series) to empower you to reach new heights.

Alex Shalman : contributor and medical student Alex Shalman’s site offers thought-provoking essays on relationships, the examined life, and health, along with general productivity and personal development tips.

SimpleProductivityBlog: Lots of great ideas here, including several multi-part series on various aspects of GTD and productivity.

Slow Leadership: Focused largely on business leadership and the evils of “hamburger management”, Carmine Coyote’s ideas about leadership can be adapted to any life.

Slower Living: Slow down! What’s the big rush, anyway? Find peace, happiness, and even greater productivity (in the things that matter to you most) with these tips on living life in the slow lane — or off the road entirely.

SuccessMinders: Jacob Cazell’s tips on developing a success-oriented mindset.

Success Soul: Shilpan Patel offers inspiration and advice drawn from the greatest minds, all with an eye towards what you and I can learn so we can make our own success. Technology and productivity talk from a DC-based efficiency trainer.

Think Simple Now: Creativity, clarity, and happiness — what could be better? Think Simple Now covers the tools and techniques to get there.

Today is that Day: Aaron Potts’ goal is your empowerment, with posts on success, wealth, and happiness.

Uncle Joe’s Leadership Blog: “Uncle” Joe Hungler shares his advice on cultivating and teaching leadership.

What’s the Next Action?: Read What’s the Next Action for advice on project planning and getting things done.

Wise Bread: A personal finance site committed to helping readers live within their means with budgeting tips and advice on finding the best deals saving money on life’s necessities.

Work N Play: Good advice from Ritu, especially on making the most out of the web for networking, freelancing, and doing business.

Scott H Young:: University student Scott Young takes on general productivity topics as well as offering studying tips and advice on lifelong learning.

Zen Habits: Leo Babauta writes incredibly well about productivity, health and wellness, and most of all about living the simple life.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Arrogant Leaders

Arrogant leaders are by nature self centered. They believe their success is because of their own abilities and qualities. They are quick to point out the mistakes of others and rarely take the blame for anything that goes wrong. They are project killers because of their poor listening skills and their inability to see beyond themselves and their narrow views. They know best, and find it burdensome to give others the stage. Challenge them or try to draw them into a debate and watch out! You will be quickly labeled as inflexible and unwilling to accept “what is best”.

In Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” he found through surveys that humble leadership (opposite of arrogance) was one of the many leadership traits that contributed to the long-term success of organizations. Humble leaders get involved, are willing to listen to opposing viewpoints, and have high self-esteem. They have high moral values, which causes them to be centered on doing things right for the right reasons. They energize others, and believe their talents are a gift to be kept in perspective both in the work place and in their personal lives.

Note: This doesn’t always apply, but you would be surprised. Look at what the arrogant leader and the humble leader drive to work. That can tell you a lot about who they are and the image they are trying to portray.

One of the things we know is that leaders can’t effectively lead if they don’t know what is going on. A telltale sign of the arrogant leader is they don’t care about the details. That is because details are beneath them. They also believe that execution is beneath them. They are the grand strategist and don’t have time to get involved in the details. They are interested in headlines, not deadlines. Serving the greater good takes a back seat to serving their own self interests.

Another trait you might see is that arrogant leaders are threatened by the “good” leaders. They fear the good leader’s success and often view them as weak and ineffective (envy is a four letter word). In fact, many arrogant leaders see humility and attentiveness in others as a character flaw. We know by observation that the arrogant leaders are the ones with the weak character, the ones with the poor communication skills, and are the ones with the low self esteem. The arrogant leader’s weaknesses are easy to spot. They don’t fool anybody but themselves. Remember the CEOs of Enron, MCI/WorldCom? At one time they were arrogant, now they are in prison.

Emotional Outburst #1 - Arrogant leaders are organizational pariahs, and are terrible project managers.

A leader that motivates and inspires has to be visible, informed, and respected. Like any good engineer knows, you sometimes have to get your hands dirty to solve problems and gain the respect of the people doing the work.

An arrogant leader is the opposite of a servant leader. Whether they wear a skirt or a suit they are inhibitors to organizational excellence and their thirst for power destroys team synergy and employee morale.