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Getting to the Point | The Exkalibur Newsletter | July 21, 2017

In this week’s Getting to the Point newsletter, our Featured Article, Would you listen to the Most Beautiful Woman in the World?, offers a simple recipe for ignoring barbs from strangers that can get under your skin. Our Business Brief, includes some fascinating connections between our natural tendency to lie and how willing we are to admit our mistakes and correct them. The dilemma for leaders is apparent when the proven science about our disposition to lie collides with our reluctance to admit our mistakes. There’s more in our Business Brief:

  • Are CEOs Being Held to a Higher Standard?
  • The Cost of Cyber Attacks is Astronomical
  • Why Do We Care About Medical Mistakes? How About Our Own?
  • One More Time: Team Culture Eclipses Everything, and
  • Are We Humanoids Underrated?

In our Geeking Out, there’s some amazing science about storing a movie in living bacteria, creating realistic video that’s fake, and a discussion about extraterrestrial ice on earth? We’ll also consider one of the most unique trailers you’ve ever seen when you Do This.

Around the Web, you may find Another Sign of the Apocalypse and learn why the gap between black & white infant mortality is growing, why we all seem to be predisposed to lying and how some big money is being made from dead celebrities. You’ll also want to consider how the advantages of taking some time off can sustain and extend a career in our Wide World of Sports segment.

Take a break and you’ll share the laughs from the most hilarious parenting tweets of the year in our Humor segment, find a great movie to watch and another great book from the pen of Ben Coes in Fiction.

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Room Without a View

In this piece about a singer-songwriter you think you don’t know ,,, but you’ll discover you do … it’s a hoot to see what he did with the studio of his inspiration … otherwise known as his childhood room.

What do you think of this clever idea?

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Looking for Getting to the Point Newsletter? Mysteries?

I’m happy to announce we’ve made a few changes to the menus on the Exkalibur website to improve navigation.

In the category menu:

  • You’ll now find a Newsletters category that will point you to all of the Getting to the Point newsletters with the most recent edition at the top.
  • You’ll also find a Mystery category where you can find all of the novels I mention every week … and even more articles and other references in the Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre.

Let me know if they’re helpful to you.

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Would you listen to the Most Beautiful Woman in the World?

Most of you would at least look, but more importantly, would you really listen?

Sticks & Stones? Are You Sure Words Never Hurt You?

It’s been several years since I wrote this original article, but with the onslaught of the Internet … the 2 Billion Facebook users posting about every conceivable issue … and many which aren’t … your sensitivity to what people say about you could probably use a booster shot.

When a stranger says something negative about us … or about our friends or family … our usual reaction is that it’s none of THEIR business.

But, as you’ll learn from the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, it’s really none of YOUR business.

This simple concept will help you keep the invisible critics off the battlefield, so click on over to the doctor’s office and take just a few minutes to get your booster shot.

Hop on over to our Facebook page and let know: Is this good advice? What different advice would you give?

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I want to help you become a More Effective Leader … and I know first-hand that improvements in your Personal Productivity can make a big difference in your ability to Get Things Done.

Check out my FREE mini-course, 5 Tools I Can’t Live Without and get ready to up your game. I’ve used these tools every day for years, and they’ve made a huge difference in boosting my productivity and keeping me on top of my game.

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Are CEOs Being Held to a Higher Standard?

  • “Forced turnovers for ethical lapses rose to 5.3% of all global CEO successions from 3.9% over the last five years, according to consulting firm PwC’s recent Strategy & 2016 CEO Success Study, which notes that the jump represents a 36% increase.”
  • “In the U.S. and Western Europe—up by 68% when comparing such successions between 2007 and 2011 (4.6%) to those between 2012 and 2016 (7.8%).”

You’ll find all this and more in Are CEOs Being Held to a Higher Standard?

Question: Do you think CEOs ARE held to a higher standard? (Click the Facebook icon below to let me know what you think.)


The Cost of Cyber Attacks

  • “Putting a price on cyber attacks is a mug’s game, but someone has to do it. Lloyd’s of London, a reinsurer, has put out a new estimate that a hack of a cloud service provider could cause economic losses of up to $120 billion, making it more expensive than Superstorm Sandy. In another scenario, it said a hack of a popular operating system could cause losses of $29 billion.” (Financial Times, metered access)

You can read or listen to this article, Extreme cyber attack could cause $120 Billion in economic damage.


Why Do We Care About Medical Mistakes?

Of course, we both have an immediate personal answer to this … but in this context, I’m more interested in what we can learn by uncovering mistakes and taking corrective action to avoid them in the future.

(On a side note, it’s good that the medical profession is taking a close look at this issue given the revelations in Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States.)

In Physicians need to openly discuss medical mistakes and near misses, you’ll learn about an intern petrified to discuss her mistakes, asking …

“Am I going to be fired?”

  • “That fearful question echoed the hidden curriculum of punitive responses to error that pervades the culture of medicine. It’s especially strong in surgery, where we tend to work apart from peers. With that isolation, it is easy to assume that others are somehow infallible, and that our personal errors are egregiously unique.”

The conclusion of these studies can immediately be put to work in your business:

  • “We must all recognize that putting an end to our silent solidarity about errors will empower us to provide better care.”

You’ll find some helpful guidance in The 6 Powerful Benefits of Admitting Your Mistakes, as well as a proven process to complete After Action Reviews in Accountability | The 4 Key Principles of Powerful After Action Reviews.

Click on the Facebook icon and let me know: What does your firm do to identify mistakes and fix them?


One More Time: Team Culture Eclipses Everything

Chief Executive magazine … announced that Stanley M. Bergman, CEO of Henry Schein, Inc., has been named 2017 CEO of the Year, an honor bestowed upon an outstanding corporate leader, nominated and selected by peer CEOs.

  • “Bergman’s sustained high performance in both business goals and organizational values stood out among judges.”

If you want to learn more about building a great culture … and once again, why your people need to be #1, read 2017 CEO of the Year Henry Schein’s Stan Bergman Discusses How Team Culture Eclipses Everything.

Let me know what you think: What is the single greatest challenge to building a great culture? (Click the Facebook icon to respond.)


Are We Humanoids Underrated?

You may not have time to read the entire book, but take some time to
read this article, Humans are Underrated, which is adapted from the book, Humans Are Underrated by Geoff Colvin, to be published on Aug. 4, 2015.)

There’s some good news that suggests we humans may become even more valuable in a changing economy:

  • “The transition to an industrial economy in the Western nations, and the accompanying shift in skill values, took well over 100 years. The subsequent turn to a knowledge-based economy took most of the 20th century.
  • “Now, as technology gallops ahead with longer strides every year, the transition to the newly valuable skills of empathizing, collaborating, creating, leading, and building relationships is happening faster than corporations, governments, education systems, or most human psyches can keep up with. That’s disorienting, and it gets more so as the fundamental nature of value shifts from what you know to what you’re like.”

You’ll also find this related insight in Preparing for a New Era of Work.

  • “… highly paid jobs requiring direct, sophisticated interactions among people—for example, the work of doctors, engineers, copywriters, investment bankers, and lawyers—remain relatively hard to automate, so competition, skill shortages, and changing demographics are forcing companies to use this scarce talent more effectively. Those that successfully revamp the how, where, and who of interaction work will enjoy huge benefits. The classic 2012 article ”Preparing for a new era of work“ shows you how.”




This is Just Plain Crazy!

How is it possible that a movie can be stored in living bacteria? You need to read Researchers use CRISPR to store a movie in living bacteria to believe it … maybe.


If That Technology Isn’t Crazy Enough …

… take a look at Lip-syncing Obama: New tools turn audio clips into realistic video.


Or this about Stanford scientists discover how dense, extraterrestrial ice can form in just billionths of a second?

Did they say EXTRATERRESTRIAL?

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Another Sign of the Apocalypse

Maybe not … but it’s taking extremes to the extreme when you read This Infant Might Be The First Baby In The World With An Official Genderless ID Card

  • “In what could be the first such case in the world, Canadian officials have issued a baby named Searyl Alti a health card without a gender marker.”
  • “Kori Doty, a nonbinary transgender person who identifies as neither male nor female, gave birth to Searyl in November and has been battling to keep the eight-month-old’s gender off all British Columbia government records ever since.”


The Gap Between Black & White Infant Mortality is Growing

  • “… from 2005 to 2012, the infant mortality rate dropped for both black and white babies, with the decline much steeper for black babies. Then, in 2012, something changed.
  • “The mortality rate for white babies continued its steady drop, but for black babies (defined in the study as non-Hispanic), things plateaued. By 2015, the latest year for which data is available, it had even bumped up.”

You’ll find additional information in The gap between black and white infant mortality is creeping up again, leaving researchers puzzled.


Liar. Liar. Pants on Fire. Who Me?

  • “Lying, it turns out, is something at which most of us are very adept. We lie with ease, in ways big and small, to strangers, co-workers, friends, and loved ones. Our capacity for dishonesty is as fundamental to us as our need to trust others, which ironically makes us terrible at detecting lies. Being deceitful is woven into our very fabric, so much so that it would be truthful to say that to lie is human.”

“As lying has come to be recognized as a deeply ingrained human trait, social science researchers and neuroscientists have sought to illuminate the nature and roots of the behavior:

  • How and when do we learn to lie?
  • What are the psychological and neurobiological underpinnings of dishonesty?
  • Where do most of us draw the line?”

Some fascinating stories and background is available in Why We Lie: The Science Behind Our Deceptive Ways.

What can YOU do to prevent lying in your organization? (Click the Facebook icon.)


Better Dead Than Alive? Certainly Richer ….

In Moneyball for Dead Celebs: This $5 Billion Business Sells Elvis and Michael Jackson, some real money opportunities.

  • “Since setting up shop in 2010 with the financial backing of private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners LP, Salter has built Authentic into a $5 billion business by snapping up the brands of dead celebrities ”

You’re kidding me, right?

“Take Monroe, who Salter says is ”more ­relevant than she ever was.”

  • He says her biggest fans today are 15 to 25, in part because of the actress’s continuing presence on social media.
  • She was the first deceased celebrity to be verified on Twitter, where she boasts 258,000 followers on an account run by Authentic; 14.6 million users like her on Facebook.
  • A Marilyn Snapchat “selfie lens” introduced last year has been used more than 300 million times. Her iconic subway grate scene from The Seven Year Itch appeared in a 2016 Super Bowl ad for Snickers candy, and her image has adorned goods from popular brands including Converse.”

“Dead celebrities have their advantages:

  • There’s no risk of them showing up late to events or lighting up social media with an out-of-character faux pas.
  • They don’t cycle in and out of fashion like current idols,
  • And those who passed away in their prime will never age.”

But do they return phone calls?

Do you think returning phone calls within 24 hours is important? (Click the Facebook icon to respond.)

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There’s more of these hilarious tweets here, The 10+ Most Hilarious Parenting Tweets Of The Year So Far.

If you have a funny parenting tweet or story, click on the Facebook icon below to share it.

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Trump’s Tax Returns? Where Are Everyone Else’s?

Gee, what a surprise to learn this in Lawmakers Want Trump’s Tax Returns, but Won’t Release Their Own.

This is the same Congress that not only can’t figure out health care … the current bill(s) appears to be dead … but the latest version still exempts members of Congress and their staffs from losing the healthcare bill’s popular provisions.

Oh, the hypocrisy!

What do you think of this tax return issue? Is it a big deal or not? (Click the Facebook icon, below, to respond.)

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“It’s Embarrassing To Be White”

That was the comment from one of the folks watching this movie with us last weekend.

Selma is a movie, nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 2015 and winner of countless other awards, focused on Martin Luther King and the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.

Selma is a testimony to commitment in the face of a certain violent physical response and a blight on American history that reaches from the Deep South to the White House.

The stubborn resistance to enforcing the voting rights under the 15th Amendment (enacted in 1870), led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to overcome those barriers. That it took military intervention and the senseless death of innocent children to ensure that constitutional right is a sad commentary on the race relations that has plagued this country for centuries.

It’s a moving story and one that will leave you with a full understanding of the sentiments expressed in the headline of this article.

If you’ve seen this movie, click the Facebook icon below and tell me: What was your reaction to the movie, Selma?

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The ESPYS

Wimbledon: The Ageless, Peerless, Flawless Roger Federer

The case for time off: Roger Federer’s downtime could pay off big at Wimbledon raises intriguing questions of how the judicious taking of time off can sustain and extend a career.

  • “It must be working … as Roger Federer won his 8th Wimbledon singles title – his 19th Grand Slam title in all – at the ripe old age of 35 last Sunday. He’s now 2-for–3 this year in Grand Slams after an unlikely comeback from a career-threatening knee injury. The sweet illusion of sport momentarily turning back time should be enough to put a spring in a step of all those who feel that their best years are behind them this week.”

If you want to be scientifically overwhelmed with how detailed tennis analysis can be, take a look at The role of proximal body information on anticipatory judgment in tennis using graphical information richness.

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Trap the Devil by Ben Coes

I love it when Dewey Andreas returns, now in his 7th appearance in Trap the Devil.

  • “Only one man stands between a powerful cabal planning an invisible coup of the U.S. government and their brutal goals—Dewey Andreas.”
  • “With the Secretary of State dead, shot by Dewey’s weapon, Dewey is on the run and out in the cold, desperately trying to unravel the plot before the conspirators succeed in killing millions of innocents.”

Yes, like many others, he’s a retired Delta Force operative, but several things distinguish this series.

  • First, Dewey is incorrigible, and while other protagonists often have a stubborn streak, Dewey’s is indelible.
  • Secondly, Coes comes up with unique storylines, something difficult to do in this genre when combatting terrorism is the soup du jour.

You’ll see what I mean if you follow my standard advice, which is to start with Book #1 in the series, Power Down.

Have you read any books by Ben Coes? (Click the Facebook icon, below, to visit my Mystery page.)

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