Defining Success

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AlexandriaWaterfrontThere are people who want to be successful, and there are people who want to succeed.

Being successful means success in social terms, in terms of status, respect, credential, and self-esteem.

To succeed means success in practical terms, in terms of measurable progress, achievement, evidence, and self-improvement.

People who want to be successful say, “Let’s make this work!” Let’s build a business process out of enthusiasm and a can-do attitude! Let’s build a profitable third quarter out of persistence and cookie-cutter talking points about diversity, team effort, and leadership! Let’s build a ship out of cotton candy and unicorn dreams!

People who want to succeed are not afraid to say, “That isn’t going to work!” Collecting metrics on important but infrequent events will not provide a statistically valid sample size. Training people to improve innate talents they lack will never result in excellent performance. Obsessing about physical diversity while mismanaging intellectual diversity will achieve neither justice nor effectiveness.

People who want to succeed are not afraid to point out bad plans, no matter how frustrated it makes people who want to be successful, because the real world has real consequences and real causality. You can’t cheer yourself to success.

Category: Uncategorized

Formatting Note – Let’s kill Mr. and Ms.

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A lot of progress has been made in shifting professional language toward gender neutrality. We refer to firefighters rather than firemen, press for the acceptance of the singular they1 instead of the clumsy he/she, and employ metonymy to use chair in place of chairman.

One dirty little corner of our communication, however, clings to the often irrelevant nomenclature of gender. When discussing persons without professional titles like Reverend, Doctor, and Senator, we often substitute Mr. and Ms. which signify nothing but the presence of adult genitalia of one of the two standard-issue types.

It’s time to put an end to this, and NewGovOffice suggests two alternative rules of increasing professional rigor:

SOFT RULE: When referencing a person with no professional title, never use Mr. or Ms. with their full name. On first reference simply use the full name and, afterward, either their first name (if informal) or their last name preceded by Mr. or Ms. (if formal). For example:

  • In an address block write “Roberta Xavier” and in salutation “Dear Ms. Xavier,” or “Dear Roberta,” but never “Ms. Roberta Xavier” under any circumstance.
  • In an intro paragraph write “Samir Nouri heads our acquisitions team” and later “Mr. Nouri graduated from Virginia Tech…” or “Samir graduated from Virginia Tech…” but never “Mr. Samir Nouri” under any circumstance.

HARD RULE: When referencing a person with no professional title, simply never use Mr. or Ms. under any circumstance. Use their full name upon first reference and either their first or last name (depending on formality of occasion) on subsequent references. For example:

  • “The new CEO is David Laurens … David comes to our company from the public sector…”
  • “Brenda Hume founded the Hume Trust in 2005 … Hume has since created several charitable organizations in other countries…”


1 Contrary to the gripes of many half-informed grammar traditionalists, using they as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun dates back at least to Elizabethan times. It’s good English.

Category: Communication

“I make my own opportunities” is a denial of opportunities

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We often hear that people should “make their own opportunities” or that some famously successful person brags that she makes her own opportunities. This is entitled nonsense.

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Category: informational

We are drowning in wrong ideas of creativity, intelligence, and leadership

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In his blockbuster research work Good to Great, researcher Jim Collins revealed that facing the “brutal facts” is a key part of reversing decline and transforming a good organization into a great one.

Unfortunately, America no longer has a culture that easily absorbs brutal facts.

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Category: Uncategorized

Let’s Take the Randum out of Memorandum

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New Gov Office understands that the way we communicate affects the way we think, and the way we think defines how human organizations work. For example, “idea persons” are better suited for leadership positions than “people persons,” despite the pop culture mythology surrounding people skills and the natural inclination for the socially gifted to rise in the pecking order.

Key to communication are communication standards, agreed-upon rules that foster precision and efficiency. This is why we discuss not only management theory, but organizational communications.

One of the key items of our communications standards is the avoidance of non-English plurals, like fora for forums. These archaism sound clumsy, needlessly complicate the language, and achieve very little outside a vague pretense of education.

The common term memorandum provides a unique opportunity to avoid clumsy, non-English plurals and save space. The short-form memo is already commonplace, and should be substituted for memorandum throughout official communication, with the plural being memos.

– David Case, standards editor

Category: Communication

Principles of Dysmanagement #1

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“Tactical obsession is a confession of strategic incompetence.” – Waverly C. Young, conceptual editor

Read more on this principle of dysmanagement.

Good morning, civilization!

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This website is dedicated to saving civilization from itself.

To undoing the wishful thinking of optimistic fallacies enabled by the insulation from consequence that pragmatic thinking and realism provide.

To offer a vision that is not intended to restore civilization to some rosily painted antiquarian utopia, some Good Old Days that never were, but rather to move civilization forward to the next step.

To review, revise, and renew. To look at what we have, recognize its flaws, and ask: “What next?”

The primary arena for any renewal of civilization will be the organization. In modern parlance, this means the office/shop, whether that is in business, government, or other forms of organization like non-profits, homeowners associations, and community support groups.

This is true because civilization itself is a form of organization. Renewal does not call for a New Man, self-created as if by magic as the Renaissance envisioned, but a new organization, a New Government-Office that starts with finding the right people among those who are already here and proceeds by logical steps to face the uncomfortable facts presented by experience, update visions and policies based on those facts, and build new structures to bring us into the future.

We must involve an evidence-based approach to organizational success largely at odds with pop psychology and pop business theory, evolutionary psychology approach to human interaction in place of politics, and full acceptance both of the novelty of strategic organization in human evolutionary experience and its necessity in the present and future of civilization.

We must recognize the reality of human intellectual diversity, and the untapped power that suppressed diversity represents in an age of simplistic egalitarianism. We must recognize the dangers of cognitive biases and the promise of neurotypical variety. If we do all of this, we can not only clean our planet and set off for the stars, but also uncover a basis for human happiness that is not premised on addictive ambitions that doom us to a miserable purgatory on the hedonic treadmill.

Let’s get started!

Category: informational