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.

Insiders, Outsiders and Trump Mania – Can a Successful Leader in One Career Always be Successful in Others?


I guess like everyone else I have been following the GOP candidates show closely. Because of my interest in leadership, I am less focused on the ideological issues than of which of the candidates are most likely to be successful in the top leadership position of the US Presidency. The age-old issue is this; if you have been successful in one leader...

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What have Octopuses got to do with Leadership?


Well, you gotta think outside the box occasionally right? I got the idea from the Economist that recently published an article on how octopuses think. Apparently they don’t really have a central brain like we humans. Instead their neurons are dispersed around their body, especially in their tentacles. So actually they think with their tentacles not...

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From the Internet of Things to the Internet of Brains


The Internet of Things (IOT) is all the rage right now. Certainly it’s exciting. But is there something even bigger just as close, if not closer? I think so. You probably know that the Internet had been running out of IP addresses. So natch that’s been fixed, with the new IPv6 schema. With this new approach we get a lot of IP addresses. I know you ...

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Does Work-Life Balance Reduce Innovation?


Did you notice that Goldman Sachs (of all companies!) has just forbidden its interns from working after midnight? Seems like their HR people, if not the pooh-bahs, have just suffered an attack of political correctness aka social responsibility. So even if one of their starting interns wants to work his version of overtime (like into the wee hours),...

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Do employee engagement surveys filter out potential great leaders?


Did you see the recent article “Working at Amazon Is a Soul-Crushing Experience"? It was written by an ex-employee so he should know, or should he? It’s raised much controversy ranging from the defenders of Bezos to those who say I told you so. We have other poster-boys for alleged employee abuse including Elon Musk (seeAshlee Vance’s “Tesla, Space...

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Alien Emails Blocked by Government Cybersecurity!


Did you notice that Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner just joined up with pop icon Stephen Hawking to make a $100 million donation to SETI – search for extraterrestrial intelligence? As you probably know that search has, so far, used big telescopes. They are hugely expensive so the SETI guys don’t get to use them much. The gift will allow them to ha...

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Do girls outperform boys mentally – and what does it mean for neuroscience?


Did you know that most university graduates in Saudi Arabia are women? That’s something; even where they can’t drive a car and can’t go outside without a male guardian of some kind, they still beat the pants (or whatever they call them) off the Saudi guys at university. And not just in Saudi Arabia. In most countries, including almost all developed...

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An Air Freshener that Helps Mental Illness?


A couple of blog posts ago I discussed the huge problem of mental illness (“The Invisible Pandemic”). I pointed out that we still don’t know how mental illness is caused which put a severe limit on what we can currently do to help people suffering from it. But we do know something that can help, although as usual there are constraints here too. Tha...

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Is our brain really a quantum computer? Idiots savants may know the answer

Is our brain really a quantum computer? Idiots savants may know the answer

You’ve probably heard about Obama’s big brain project, the BRAIN Initiative? Also the European Union Human Brain project? You might be tempted to think that these are just one last big push to figure out exactly how the brain really works. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reigning theory is that our brain works something like a computer...

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The Invisible Pandemic


I guess you’ve all been reading about MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. It’s hit South Korea and we don’t know where it will go next. It’s not an epidemic though. For the media that’s kind of a pity, they all love to talk about an impending epidemic, preferably a pandemic. Of course, there’s not too many of those. Or are there? The Econom...

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Are 3 meals a day unhealthy?


Have you ever seen the TV show “Naked and Afraid”? A man and a woman go (naked) into the wild with no food or tools and have to survive for 3 weeks. If they make the full 3 weeks it they usually come back emaciated. Guess what? That’s the norm for mammals, humans included. When you live in natural state, you don’t get 3 meals a day. Maybe 3 meals a...

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Psychobiotics – The New Behavioral Weapons of Mass Digestion?


I’m sure you have heard of the microbiome? That’s the trillions of bacteria in the human gut whose functions we still only dimly understand. But one thing has recently become very clear. That is that the microbiome has a huge impact on our feelings, moods and mental functioning generally. Here’s the interesting part. It’s also become clear that the...

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Cheating is a form of innovation


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 Ch...

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Are gyms bad for your health?


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?


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


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?


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


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


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?


Personality tests have been around since the beginning of the 20th 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 kn...

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