Issue #28

In this edition: New Skills for Work, strategic questioning, to-do lists as menus, theme park design, the joy of missing out, guidance counselors, icebreakers, heavy metal, toasters, clickers, and more.

Welcome to another edition of Idea Surplus Disorder. I’m Matt Homann, the founder of Filament, and I’m glad you’re here!

In this edition: New Skills for Work, strategic questioning, to-do lists as menus, theme park design, the joy of missing out, guidance counselors, icebreakers, heavy metal, toasters, clickers, and more.

Wednesday: New Skills For Work | Rethinking Strategy

On Wednesday, we'll be introducing our Question-Centered Strategy Model at N.S.F.W., and you can RSVP Here. Here's a bit more on the QCS from an article I've been working on:

In a world where speed, efficiency, and certainty are often prioritized, it's become common practice for organizations to seek instant answers. Yet, this pursuit of the definitive is not always the optimal route to sustained growth and transformation. Paradoxically, the most profound advances often spring from a place of inquiry, curiosity, and the willingness to embrace uncertainty. This recognition forms the bedrock of Filament's Question-Centered Strategy (QCS) framework.
The QCS framework shifts the way organizations think about strategic planning. Traditional strategic models often treat strategies as static blueprints captured in a "Binder of To-Dos" that must be followed rigidly. These models can fail to recognize that our world is complex and continually evolving. In contrast, the QCS approach promotes adaptability and resilience by fostering a culture of continuous inquiry.

Ideas + Insights

Are you suddenly feeling less productive working from home vs. the office? New studies are beginning to show WFH is significantly less productive (18%?!) than working in the office.

[T]he productivity of workers randomly assigned to working from home is 18% lower than those in the office. Two-thirds of the effect manifests itself from the first day of work with the remainder due to quicker learning by office workers over time.
We also find a negative selection on treatment: workers who prefer home work are substantially less productive at home than at the office (27% less compared to 13% less for workers who prefer the office).

This may sound like an old man screaming, "Get off my lawn," but this manifesto for discarding the algorithms and making the web people-based again really resonated with me:

What does the web look like if we decide to erase everything we’ve done since the dot-com crash? What kinds of communities can we build with the people who’ve come online since then? It’s certainly possible — even delightful — to teach them the old ways. But more and more, I think I don’t want an intermediated experience; I’m not interested in your algorithm. I’ve loved online because there are people there.
Companies took over the web, but that doesn’t mean they get to keep it. Sure, there will always be some casuals who will never look deeper, but for the truly sick freaks of online, well, you can make the thing you want. Maybe now’s the time to do it. Plenty of you have done it already — I know because you oldheads keep emailing me. Now’s the time to teach the children of the algorithm the old magic because you were there when it was written.

What if you treated your to-do list like a menu?

Increasingly, I find myself treating my list of work projects as a menu, too. The contents of the menu is constrained by various goals and long-term deadlines, to be sure. But the daily practice is to pick something appetizing from the menu, instead of grinding through a list. (It’s true that some menu items are dependent on my completing other items first, which is where the restaurant metaphor breaks down, but there’s usually a good number I can pick from.)
Maybe it’ll be no surprise to learn I’ve been getting more done this way, too – not least because I’m harnessing the energy of what I feel like doing, rather than suppressing it in order to push through a list.

This was a fun article on how theme-park design often collides with the realities of theme-park-visitor behavior:

If it looks neat, people will want to take a photo with it. If it looks comfortable, people will want to sit on it. If it looks fun, people will play around on it.

Do we need more JOMO (The Joy of Missing Out)?

Shifting from FOMO to JOMO is not a quick-fix solution. It requires a conscious effort to reconnect with our fundamentals and to appreciate the value they bring. It’s about understanding that our contentment lies not in the constant pursuit of what’s happening elsewhere, but in our ability to cherish what is present in our lives right here, right now. By centering ourselves on these basics – sleep, connection, gratitude, writing, and familiarity – we can begin to experience the profound joy of missing out.

My dad was a high school guidance counselor, so this one's for him:

Good counselors tend to improve all measures of educational attainment but some specialize in improving high school behavior while others specialize in increasing selective college attendance. Improving access to effective counseling may be a promising way to increase educational attainment and close socioeconomic gaps in education.

One-third of chief executives cite culture as the most important factor in a company’s financial performance, compared to just 7% who said the same in 2021

Here's a great question to ask when you disagree with someone at work:

How can we tackle this, even though we see it differently?

Two good reminders for the week ahead:

If you listen to successful people talk about their methods, remember that all the people who used the same methods and failed did not make videos about it.
If other people having it worse than you means you can’t be sad, then other people having it better than you would mean you can’t be happy. Feel what you feel.

Yoodli is an AI-powered speech coach that helps you deliver more persuasive speeches and presentations. Worth a look!

What kind of personal instruction manual would you write for yourself?

What might you include in your personal instruction manual? Perhaps it outlines your values, goals, and habits, and serves as a roadmap for your life. Or maybe it’s just a simple one-pager, i.e. here’s what you really need to know. A typical instruction manual also includes warnings (“wash in cold water” or “don’t eat the plastic!”). Naturally, your personal instruction manual might do the same.

Need icebreakers for your next meeting? Here are hundreds. The one that appeared when I opened the link is quite good:

What's a small act of kindness you were once shown, that you'll never forget?

Fun Finds

Why is there more heavy metal music made in the world's happiest places?

This was a bit disturbing, yet made me think:

At the breakfast bar and wondering if having everybody touch the same pair of tongs in the same place is proven to be better than having everybody simply pick up their own piece of bread.

Speaking of bread ... the online Toaster Museum!

The original remote control – and why we still call remotes "clickers."

Words of Wisdom

Anything certain has already been done. – Jonathan Fields
“Death never takes a wise person by surprise.” – Jean de La Fontaine
"Time passes whether I stand still or move." – Anne Barngrover
"Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over." – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”​
— Frank Lloyd Wright

Subscribe to Idea Surplus Disorder

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.