From QCDSM to HETAE

QCDSM is a decent start for performance tracking, but the categories leave many struggling to define the best metrics. After several iterations, I believe I have an alternative worth sharing, . The key benefits of changing from QCDSM to HETAE include:

  • Safety first, and a better sorting of importance, though all are critical for the long term
  • The categories drive more towards the ideals than merely the type of metric
  • The categories are more intuitively relevant to all contexts
  • Acronymable (not yet a real word)

Now that you’re primed for some of the differences, here are the new factors (in a basic diagram for now):

HETAE - Harmless, Effective, Timely, Abundant, Empowering

Harmless

First, do no harm. Any effort will be severely crippled if there is collatoral damage. Until your solutions are 100% harmless, we should continuously attempt to harm less.

While this includes obvious physical harm, it would also be important to know when and how we may cause distress.

Harmless Metric Examples:

  • Injuries
  • Near misses
  • Distress

Effective

Our ability to effectively solve a problem includes, but is not limited to, the quality of our solution. In other words, we must strive to eliminate defects, but to also create new solutions with greater impact.

Effective Metric Examples:

  • Prevent > Solve/Cure > Improve > Stall > No Effect > Worsen
  • Defects
  • Mistakes
  • Customer Ratings/Reviews/Scores

Timely

Even a harmless cure is no good when it arrives too late, and prevention is better yet.

Timely Metric Examples:

  • Lead Time
  • Wait Time
  • Internal Setup Time
  • Availability

Abundant

Abundance covers the ability to ensure enough capacity to meet demand.

How easily can we meet demand? Does the cost per unit increase/decrease steadily or suddenly at any point?

Abundant Metric Examples:

  • Work per Unit
  • Total Workload
  • Cost per Unit
  • Cost of Equipment and Supplies
  • External Setup Time

Empowering

Empowerment makes it easier to achieve the other categories, both functionally and emotionally. If every stakeholder is willing and able to contribute to improvement efforts, then we can be far more effective with more abundant opportunities.

Empowering Metric Examples:

  • Unsolicited ideas
  • Satisfaction scores
  • Turnover rates
  • Applicants per position
  • Fan mail

Minimize Self-distraction and Interruptions

It is often easy to fall into patterns of distraction, due to initial preference or the defaults of a system. With smartphones, virtually every app tries to push notifications at all times, as if they all needed immediate attention. Even without external cues, we lose hours to overuse. With a few ideas, and continuous experimentation, we can minimize self-distraction and interruptions.

Starting Broadly

First, what are the broad categories? Given the content and reactions required, how often should they have our attention? By visualizing and sorting, we can compare and contrast our preferences:

Anything we want/need as often as to the minute is essentially pushed on us. This is not to say that we receive an update every minute or second, but we treat every second we don’t receive a notification as a signal we have nothing to check. Every moment a fire alarm is silent tells us that we don’t have a fire to fight.

Notice When Activity Outstrips Benefit

It helps to notice how much activity is spent per benefit. On YouTube, for example, many creators post little more than weekly. Even if they post more often, the relevance can be short-lived, content can be repetive as situtations evolve, or we only care to watch a portion of the videos. If we check daily or more, it can be easy to lower our content standards as we get into the mode of watching. One is often not enough.

Much of these facts remain true for Podcasts, but for two major differences:

  1. Videos draw far more attention (Hard to do much else)
  2. YouTube is designed to encourage browsing, while many podcast providers focus on subscribed content

Nudge Into Better Habits

Rather than setting strict expectations, beating ourselves up for not changing by will alone, we can adjust our environment until we reach a desired state.

Separate from Pushy Impulses

  • Turn off notifications, or set them to appear at the preffered timing
  • Delete the application and rely on the web version
  • Unsubscribe, set emails to spam, or have them automatically marked as read

Book a Time/Day to Indulge

Once we have figured out the preferred frequency, it helps to set a specific time and/or day to indulge. By planning ahead, we can figure out which periods fit best in relation to other activities. We can also use fixed schedules to lower the risk of conditioning ourselves into excessive use.

We can also take advantage of features, like Android’s Focus Mode, to temporarily block notifications and access to certain applications.

Bundle Activities

Instead of timing, we can also restrict activities to be combined with others:

  • Podcasts with chores
  • Videos with exercise machines
  • Deskwork with a treadmill
  • Audiobooks with drawing or stretching
  • Nearly anything with friends/family

How Many Reasons do we Need to Boycott a Country?

While it is tempting to chase the best “value” for a product, our purchases can end up funding despicable acts on the other side of the world. Tax revenues alone can provide significant support to a regime, but authoritarian governments often have far stronger ties to the exporters from their countries. Knowing this, how many of the behaviours below would be enough for you to choose to boycott a country? Any one of them individually? A grouping of the worst? What if one country committed all of them within the past few years?

Genocide

Concentration Camps

Forced Organ Harvesting

World’s Leading Executioner

Politicized Judiciary

Threating to Invade Neighboring Countries

Naval Attacks

Political Kidnappings

Colonialism

Systemic Discrimination

Supplying Illegal Narcotics

Suppressing Responses to Outbreaks

Censorship of Public and Private Conversations

Using All Businesses for Intelligence Gathering

Illegal Fishing

Environmental Destruction

Fraud

Bribing Foreign Leaders (Elite Capture)

Violating International Treaties

Supporting Authoritarian Regimes


The provided sources vary, but any of the major sites could have provided most or all of the same stories included here. No matter your political stances, you should find a handful of sources you trust to corroborate.

Jitsi Meet, the Zoom Alternative

With all of the flaws of Zoom coming to light, now is a good time to experiment with other services. Jitsi Meet may not be well known, but it offers unique security and privacy protections, while remaining at least as user-friendly as Zoom. Better yet, it is completely open source and free to use without any registration or login. If you are comfortable setting up your own server, you can even host your own instance of the software.

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How Clear is your Vision?

Plenty of people and organizations have vision statements, but where is the vision in:

  • Being the best among our competition? (Relative Mastery)
  • Being great at what we do? (Absolute Mastery)

While mastery is a key aspect of any pursuit, it tells us virtually nothing about the future we want to strive for.

  • Who do we want to become?
  • What do we want to do?

A vision statement should be able to clearly direct the efforts of all involved, acting as a counter to our individual preferences. SpaceX, for example, is clearly the best in its industry; no competitor has been able to keep up with their innovations. Their vision clearly wasn’t to be the best, it is to go to mars. While the statement is a good start, but it is only the seed for a true vision. It should grow and evolve to clarify all of the important aspects:

Continue reading “How Clear is your Vision?”

Communicate for Connection

It is all too easy to use communication to focus attention on ourselves, as if we are always the most important person in the situation. Worse yet, we often use our problems to make demands. If we don’t honor the dignity of others, we risk apathy or resentment. There are many ways to improve, but we can start by refining our words:

To tie in the AMP framework, it is important to respect the autonomy of others. We should also give people the opportunity to use their expertise to offer unexpected ideas. If we push forward with only our own knowledge and creativity, the best solutions will be missed.

Expanding Perspectives

Expanding perspectives exposes new opportunities to improve value. This can be through time, people, space, or any factor relevant to a problem.

Helping More People

In most cases, any solution requires much less societal effort if we try to help more people. This often adds some complexity to the design, but the cost per person is far less. Discoveries are the best examples, as we can share them globally with little additional effort.

The video is actually an example of 2 types of discovery:

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How AMPed are You?

In this classic TED talk, Dan Pink refers to autonomy, mastery, and purpose (AMP) as key factors to motivation. While some will jump to motivation in the sense of getting something, I find it as useful in the sense of motivation to keep going, goal or not. We should find energy from both our current situation and unrealized potential.

Tracking and visualizing AMP

As with anything we care about, it helps to understand our current state and possible futures. As an example, I created a table with some factors that contribute to my AMP. I have given each a score, 4 at best and 1 at worst.

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Better Sooner than Later

Inflation aside, money earned in early years is worth more than in later years, due to growth potential as an investment. Put another way, a $10 hourly wage is worth more when you’re 18, than it is when you’re 40. Buying power, at the time, may be low, but it can become significant after years of compounding as an investment. Assuming you can return a modest 5%, annually, $10 becomes $70 dollars in 40 years:

Compounded Earnings
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