goodbye 2020

The defining quote of November: If you wake up in a puddle and smell pee, your water did not break. When I first heard this, I considered it highly unlikely but nevertheless searched for incontinence underwear. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime because I immediately gained twenty pounds of (probably water) weight and bodily functions became a bit of a struggle

The defining thought of December: What’s the point of being hyper efficient with regard to things that don’t really matter and creating unnecessary tension in relationships, what matters most? When we went to lactation clinic to discuss supplementing with formula (and Zo pooped on the scale and the nurse had to engage another nurse to help clean up the explosion), I overheard comments on latching and felt thankful that this was not an issue we encountered. Four weeks later, Zo has developed an elaborate pooping dance and seems to be occupied with this dance every (okay every other) time I try to feed. After yet another thirty minute wrestle, I made an executive decision: I will pump and he will bottle feed. And this is just fine because maximizing breast feeding is not what matters most

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Dear Therapist: because when she is fixated on perfection, you start to feel that her love and acceptance are contingent on performance // You might end the letter by explaining that the greatest gift she can give you as a parent is the freedom to be who you are

It is possible that Zo turns out to be more ENTJ than I am but if I had to guess, the defining challenge of our relationship will be my ability to suspend judgment. This is something I have contemplated over and over again. Do I sit with silence? Do I fake it till I make it (e.g. you are doing great)? Only time will tell but right now I am inspired by these six words

“College athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame. Their overwhelming response: I love to watch you play”

p.s. he took this lovely picture and not overly concerned that tummy time turned into nap time

will you gamble with me

If you have conviction on a particular direction even though there’s no consensus, it’s helpful to say, “Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it? Disagree and commit?” By the time you’re at this point, no one can know the answer for sure, and you’ll probably get a quick yes.

This isn’t one way. If you’re the boss, you should do this too. I disagree and commit all the time. We recently greenlit a particular Amazon Studios original. I told the team my view: debatable whether it would be interesting enough, complicated to produce, the business terms aren’t that good, and we have lots of other opportunities. They had a completely different opinion and wanted to go ahead. I wrote back right away with “I disagree and commit and hope it becomes the most watched thing we’ve ever made.” Consider how much slower this decision cycle would have been if the team had actually had to convince me rather than simply get my commitment.

Note what this example is not: it’s not me thinking to myself “well, these guys are wrong and missing the point, but this isn’t worth me chasing.” It’s a genuine disagreement of opinion, a candid expression of my view, a chance for the team to weigh my view, and a quick, sincere commitment to go their way. And given that this team has already brought home 11 Emmys, 6 Golden Globes, and 3 Oscars, I’m just glad they let me in the room at all!

one size fits all

One common pitfall for large organizations – one that hurts speed and inventiveness – is “one-size-fits-all” decision making.

Some decisions are consequential and irreversible or nearly irreversible – one-way doors – and these decisions must be made methodically, carefully, slowly, with great deliberation and consultation. If you walk through and don’t like what you see on the other side, you can’t get back to where you were before. We can call these Type 1 decisions. But most decisions aren’t like that – they are changeable, reversible – they’re two-way doors. If you’ve made a suboptimal Type 2 decision, you don’t have to live with the consequences for that long. You can reopen the door and go back through. Type 2 decisions can and should be made quickly by high judgment individuals or small groups.

As organizations get larger, there seems to be a tendency to use the heavy-weight Type 1 decision-making process on most decisions, including many Type 2 decisions. The end result of this is slowness, unthoughtful risk aversion, failure to experiment sufficiently, and consequently diminished invention.1 We’ll have to figure out how to fight that tendency.

And one-size-fits-all thinking will turn out to be only one of the pitfalls. We’ll work hard to avoid it… and any other large organization maladies we can identify

grateful (COUNT=2129)

i++ old recruiting toys enabling him to teach chemistry

i++ morning oatmeal & coffee: oatmeal for Zo and coffee for him

i++ family council gives every member of the family a chance to express himself freely in all matters of both difficulty and pleasure pertaining to the family. The emphasis should be on “What we can do about the situation.” Meet regularly at the same time each week. Rotate chairmen. Keep minutes. Have an equal vote for each member. Require a consensus, not a majority vote on each decision

sorry sorry

Another three months thinking about this: It is possible that Zo turns out to be more ENTJ than I am but if I had to guess, the defining challenge of our relationship will be my ability to suspend judgment

Accepting the fact that it’s pretty much impossible for me to suspend my judgment. The only question is what I judge and how I express my judgment. The good news is that I tend to judge process. The bad news is that my expression of judgment skews negative. I will try my best to apologize: Of course, parents aren’t perfect just as our children aren’t perfect, so if you speak hurtful criticism to your child and see the light dim in their eyes a bit, simply apologize and get on with soul-building encouragement