Old Tools, New Tools

When is settling for pretty good more productive than aiming for something a whole lot better? I think about this quite a bit as I go about my work life. It's not just that aiming for perfection is often counter productive, but that a restless insistence on finding new ways of doing old things tempts us away from the... Continue Reading →

Touch of Gray

When I began to go gray in my twenties – just a few strands at my college graduation – I was amused. No one else had a skunk streak before thirty. Even before the white streak people thought I was older than I was, much to my delight when it came to buying bottles of... Continue Reading →

Habit

My mornings are all the same. Go down stairs, let the dog out, get breakfast for my son, prod my son to get breakfast for the dog, make coffee, read the paper. Week day or weekend, this is my routine, my habit, my ritual. When I travel or get busy or sick and can't engage... Continue Reading →

Inequality

I flew business class to Lagos for a meeting on providing family planning to poor women in Nigeria. When I landed I was met by a SUV that drove me past the market ladies, the peanut hawkers, the foot-ball-playing boys, and the five-year-old girl begging in the road, traffic roaring inches from her bare toes.... Continue Reading →

Failure Fetish

It’s hip to fail. Fail fast, fail smart, learn to fail…failure is all over the business and self-help literature these days. It’s as if we have developed a fetish for failure. I’ve been puzzling over why this is, and I think I have one answer: we are reacting to the fetish we have made of... Continue Reading →

The Moral Hazard of Budgets

Budgets are boring, right? Excel spreadsheets, numbers, formulas. Overheads, supplies, travel. But thinking of budgets as nothing but numbers and line items skates over the real-world implications they have. If we assume that the work we do matters (which I believe it does) then how we allocate our money matters to health outcomes, and that... Continue Reading →

Dear Everyone

My kid came home from the first day of 5th grade convinced his new teacher hates him. Apparently she is a fire breathing dragon, and will soon fry and consume him in her wrath. Or something like that. Last night I asked for more details in this epic tale of fiery woe, beyond “she’s really... Continue Reading →

Strategy

When writing plans and proposals I am forever asking (and forever being asked), “what is the strategy?” “Can you send me the strategy document?” “Do you have a strong strategy?” What exactly does this mean, though? What the heck, really, is a “strategy?” A strategy can be a plan to achieve world peace – or... Continue Reading →

The Specs

My dad taught me how to build bookshelves when I was a little girl. He was forever building them because the flow of books into my parents' house was always in, and never out. I grew up thinking “library” was a home décor style, like baroque or shabby chic. So Dad built bookshelves. The fanciest... Continue Reading →

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