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Perthblog

This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.

Cheating is a form of innovation

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Have you heard about the scandal with cheating on the SAT? It’s particularly prevalent in Asia with Chinese and Korean students being repeat offenders. The organizations behind the cheaters go to some considerable lengths to get the SAT questions . They send questions to phones by text and other means. The stakes are rising though. Some cities in C...
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Are gyms bad for your health?

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Uh oh, I guess this is really a sacred cow. I’m a runner (road, not gym) too. But it looks to me like there’s a big problem in this area of gyms. Not only that, by using a gym, exercisers are actually denying themselves some much greater health benefits. First of all the bad news about gyms. Past research shows that they often have a serious proble...
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Are our brains wormholes?

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Did you see the research that shows that the descendants of Holocaust survivors have elevated stress levels compared with others ? It seems that trauma can be inherited. It's starting to look like that goes for a lot of other things. For example recent research shows that breast cancer risks acquired in pregnancy may pass to the next 3 generations ...
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Most innovators are spotters not creators – but that’s fine

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Over the last couple of weeks I have been conducting coaching for innovators identified using our psychometric assessments. This has reminded me of an important issue that usually gets overlooked in discussions on innovation. In the conventional wisdom, an innovator is someone who thinks up an idea and then (maybe) does something with it. I have bl...
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Invisible Leaders Are the Best?

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Much of the talk about leadership is about how the leader looks and how he should act to be seen as being most effective by her followers. But I think there’s another perspective; that the best leaders, to paraphrase the old saying about children in Victorian times, are best not seen, and not heard. That might seem a bit heretical. Isn’t the job of...
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The Leader-Choreographer – Aim for Emotional Impact

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Was doing some coaching last week and met a young lady who had impressive skills in arranging events. She’s a leader but doesn’t know it yet. And her lesson is a good one for all of us. She arranges conferences for her company. But although young she has already migrated to making these conferences into experiences. People at her conferences don’t ...
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There’s no innovation without innovators

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You know the usual approach to innovation in a corporation. Hold an offsite for brainstorming and to stimulate creativity. Get a big-name consultant. Team comes up with an idea, makes a plan. Does a public relations blast announcing their breakthrough idea. Fails. Do again. Fail again. If that wasn’t the case the vast majority of organizations woul...
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Do personality tests work?

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Personality tests have been around since the beginning of the 20 th century. They are part of the routine for HR organizations everywhere, especially for pre-employment testing. But do they work? Raising this question might appear to be heresy. But remember, the whole theory behind them dates from psychoanalytic and early psychological theory. We k...
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Could brain phishing hijack a leader’s strategies?

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Did you see that Microsoft has developed software and a website that can guess your age just by looking at a photo ? No more lying about our age I guess. And I suppose you have seen the numerous reports about how researchers can now identify your emotions based on brainwaves seen from MRI scans ? So now we’re cutting off yet another avenue for crea...
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Low EQ = High Business Acumen?

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Well I’m sure that this post will get me flamed but here’s going anyhow. Emotional intelligence is hot. It’s supposed to make you a better leader. How so? By making you more sensitive to your fellow man, it’s supposed to make your followers more engaged, more loyal to you and so on. The same with customers. In this model high engagement and high lo...
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Should behavioral economics include animals?

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Behavioral economics is gradually winning over more converts. It’s now – justifiably - being applied to the most unlikely facets of human existence. So the natural (to me) question arises: should it be applied to animals too. I interpret animals broadly. Not just the warm-blooded ones we know and love like dogs, kittens, dolphins, elephants and oth...
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Insects have economies too: Is there a connection between climate change and global deflation?

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So we’ve got two megatrends going on in spaceship Earth. One is climate change. The other is global deflation. Are the two connected? The conventional view of deflation is that it is due to short term factors that lead to lower demand, absolutely or relatively. But there’s a growing suspicion that this may be a long term phenomenon spurred by what ...
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Climate Science Useless: the Real Problem is Behavioral

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It has now become painfully obvious that all the climate science in the world isn’t going to do anything useful to change the climate. That’s because the problem is behavioral rather than primarily physical. In fact it’s probably the case that the more gloomy reports the climate scientists produce, the more people become inured to them and screen a...
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Is Astrology a Branch of Neuroscience?

I just read an article on astrology ( Does Astrology Work? I’m Gonna Go With “No.” in Bad Astronomy ). I’ve never believed in horoscopes and all the other astrological claptrap. How could the positions of planets possibly influence your personality and behavior? But hold on here. I pride myself on being open-minded to different ideas and thoughts, ...
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Are cognitive biases contagious?

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  So cognitive biases are the beating heart of behavioral economics and finance. But where do they come from? Are they innate or learned? Or are they epigenetic, some complex combination of the two where environmental factors trigger a gene for one or more of them? But there’s another possibility, namely that you catch them. Yep just like a co...
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Behavioral Accounting Transforms Green Eye-Shades into Empathic Intuitors?

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So you haven’t heard of behavioral accounting? Wow you haven’t lived! It does exist and it has generally been defined as accounting for the differential impact of behaviors on the value of an organization . But I have a different perspective on behavioral accounting. As in, how does the behavior of the preparer of an accounting document impact its ...
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Make Behavioral Finance Useful – Alternative Investment Application is the Next Big Thing

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So behavioral finance is hot these days. Authors such as Nouriel Roubini and Malcolm Gladwell have popularized it with the Great Unwashed. And academics are starting to catch on too, so that's progress. The problem is that for all its intellectual fecundity, behavioral finance suffers from a major problem. That is, that it hasn’t been useful from a...
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How Close is the Three-Person Marriage?

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Was just reading an article about plummeting fertility rates in Europe . Seems like no-one wants kids any more. Just too expensive or too much trouble. But there’s another totally different possibility that almost no-one seems to have considered. What if women in developed countries actually really want more babies but they can’t? Because their sig...
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Is Deflation A Result of Exploding Global IQ?

Have just been reading more stuff about deflation in Europe, Russia and just about everywhere else, developed that is. The intelligentsia believes that it’s due to a number of factors especially the aging of the population and lack of policies to stimulate demand. Who knows, they might be right. But I have another wild idea. That deflation is due t...
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How many Dead People on the Internet? Reflections on Alan Turing and the Imitation Game.

I notice that Facebook has just announced a new policy concerning who owns a person’s account once they die. The issue of what happens to and who owns a dead user’s accounts is a huge and growing global issue as everything goes into the cloud. I had an employee who died about 3 years ago. I forwarded his emails to me since I didn’t want to lose bus...
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