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Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 8/20/18

Monday Morning Memo

Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 8/20/18

The rabbits have returned to Nantucket (many were killed by poison intended to kill ticks). Some mornings they’re outside the house, some mornings they’re not. I never understood their schedule, since what they munched on was always present. Then my daughter pointed out a huge hawk sitting on the roof of the shed. The rabbits made themselves scarce when the hawk was present, interrupting their breakfast so as not to become his breakfast.

We often think there are random actions at work. But they are actually controlled by other, specific causes. Behaviors are often superincumbent. What we think is random is caused by something just below the surface or slightly out of view. There was a famous counting horse in the early 20th Century, Clever Hans, who was supposedly taught math by his owner. Someone would give Hans a problem, such as 16 minus 7, and the horse would hit its hoof on the ground 9 times. The horse was nearly infallible. Finally, after years, it was discovered that the horse was using extraordinarily small changes in its owner’s physiognomy to know when to stop hitting its hoof. (When the owner didn’t know the answer, Hans was only 6% accurate, but when he did, the horse was over 90% accurate). Just the owner’s involuntary relaxing of facial muscles when the right number was reached was sufficient for Hans to stop counting.

Many of us react to others and are even influenced, intimidated, or motivated in their presence because we discern certain changes subconsciously. Perhaps that’s the core of charisma when many people are thusly affected. In any case, it’s a good reason to be in the moment, to be consciously competent. You need to know if the hawk is causing the rabbits to hide or if your client is causing you to behave poorly.

Read the signs. If Hans could do it, so can you.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.


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Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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