In The Great Mental Models Vol. 1 (public library), Shane Parrish and Rhiannon Beaubien give us an introduction to mental models and their applicability to our work and our lives. Mental models are fundamental principles from different disciplines, such as engineering, biology, and physics, which can all work together, interlaced to help us think. The concept has become widely known in part through Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman at Berkshire Hathaway. He uses what he describes as a “latticework of mental models” to improve his thinking and decision-making.

The more mental models we have access to, the better our decision-making. If…

Being a parent during this pandemic has been quite challenging. In many cases, we have lost our main pillars of child support, such as school, afterschool activities, and childcare. We have had to adapt to find ways to keep working while managing all our other responsibilities. Because we were not prepared, we had to adjust seemingly overnight to a new and difficult reality.

Dropping everything during the first ten weeks to homeschool my three young girls was the biggest challenge I faced as a working mom during the pandemic. I have never been a teacher, and my daughters were not…

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[Photo: Corinne Kutz/Unsplash]

In his book, The Executive’s Compass: Business and the Good Society (public library), James O’Toole describes the use of a compass with the ideas of liberty (North) and equality (South) on the vertical axis and efficiency (East) and community (West) on the horizontal axis. These poles, notably the liberty-equality continuum, represent tradeoffs we must make as we search for the ideal society.

I read about the tension between the idea of full liberty and full equality, but I had never read that about the tradeoff that exists between efficiency and community. …

The importance of having programmed processes in our company became apparent when specific necessary steps weren’t executed. We realized a client statement didn’t go out on time, and we once left out an action when we were closing a sale. I knew then that we needed to manage our workflows with set procedures.

When I began setting up our processes, I tried to do it for every part of the company. This effort turned out to be very successful. We were able to avoid many preventable problems, and we have also been able to operate consistently and with the quality…

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[Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash]

Implementing new ideas is not always easy. Sometimes we arrive with the best intentions at a new company and want to introduce many innovations, but we may come face-to-face with entrenched patterns within an organization. Even in organizations that we have led for some time, we might find resistance when we try to institute new practices.

Whether you wish to implement a company intranet, a new business process management system, or the use of objectives and key results in your company, you may face friction. This occurrence is normal, especially if it is not a solution to an existing problem…

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[Photo: Ave Calver/Unsplash]

As managers, much of our daily work is problem-solving — going from one issue to the next and resolving each one. We need to approve transactions or discuss with others how to proceed with a question. This type of work requires being able to solve one task at a time and think on our feet. It may also require building consensus and teamwork. It is dynamic work and is full of activity.

Directed Attention

There are other times, though, when we need to do a more intense kind of work. Sometimes we must do a deep-dive and research a new topic. …

Life is full of uncertainty. Whether we are starting a new venture, launching a new business, or confronting a new or existing health problem, any unknown path can be scary. We might have no idea of what the entire endeavor will entail, and we may not even know where to start.

Sometimes we are stopped before we have even begun — fear can prevent us from taking any action at all. We might not even consciously know it because we justify our lack of action in different ways. …

In business, we all sell something. We may have a great product that has done well in the past but needs updating, or we may be looking for new product lines to grow. Whatever the case may be, the key to creating a great product is to find out what your customer wants and needs and make it for them.

I’ve thought about this often — producing the type of invention that will be just the right combination of features our customers need. My company is a real estate development firm, and we construct apartment and office buildings. Before we…

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[Photo: Da Kraplak/Unsplash]

I just finished editing the bulk of my book, and what is left now are only a few final edits and formatting work. I don’t know how I am going to publish it yet (if anybody has any tips, I will be glad to hear them!), but for now, I feel liberated. Writing that book took everything I had.

I always wanted to write a book and I finally decided to write one in 2019. Initially, when I started in January of that year, I set out to write 60,000 words. I borrowed some material from my blog because I…

In his book, The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor, Howard Marks (public library) writes extensively about risk. As the co-founder and co-chairman of a highly successful asset management firm called Oaktree Capital Management, he assesses investment risk daily and has unique insight into how it works. Risk is variously defined as volatility and uncertainty — he describes it as the “likelihood of loss.”

Most of us do not buy and sell securities for a living, but we all face risk whenever we make a decision. The quality of our outcomes depends on how well we deliberate…

Pamela Ayuso

CEO and Co-Founder at Celaque I Real Estate Development I Intelligent Business Design

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