September 25, 2010

Eccentric Therapy

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:47 am by lindaslongview

I injured my RIGHT elbow in December 2009 – lateral epicondylitis (aka tennis elbow).  It has taken until now to recover…

This is after I had the same injury in my LEFT elbow in April 2009.  Although I injured my LEFT elbow rock climbing, I blamed it on a coincidental risk factor (see Heeding Warnings).  I injured my RIGHT elbow weight-lifting (clean and jerk), but I had no one to blame but myself.

To recover, I tried all the easy things, rest, the exercises that worked on my LEFT elbow, and even acupuncture, but I never achieved lasting relief, so I sought professional therapy (again!).

I was fortunate to have engaged the physical therapy services of Caron, who worked me back to full-strength, mobility, and no pain both times.  Caron taught me unequivocally the importance of eccentric therapy – one must SLOWLY increase the relative strength of the tendon relative to the muscle in order to heal the injury.

Eccentric training requires restraining one’s desire to increase intensity (for faster results).  It also means suppressing the urge to curl upward and only resist the DOWN – that is the essence of eccentric therapy. Doing more mitigates the leverage of the eccentric healing.

Substantiating Caron’s Eccentric Strategy, see the article titled Dodgy Elbows by climbing enthusiast Julian Saunders, it’s a worthy read! Dr. Saunders reinforces that:

We are interested in an eccentric load (a.k.a. negative contraction) only. This will stimulate the tendon to strengthen without putting too much duress on the muscle. How? The muscle is about 40-percent stronger when contracting eccentrically. Hence, it is not stimulated to strengthen to the same degree as the tendon. Because the tendon has a vastly smaller blood supply, gains in strength take longer.

Although it has been a pain (really!), my suffering has imbedded the utility of eccentric therapy.

My long view advice:

  • Focus on the cause (tendon)
  • Leverage effort (eccentric therapy)
  • Accept that it takes perseverance (daily repetitions)

The good news is that I think my elbow has regained significant strength; check out what happened to my grip strengthener yesterday!

Do you know when eccentric methods might assist you?

March 25, 2010

Slow Down

Posted in Business, Technology, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:07 pm by lindaslongview

After acquiring a handful of consulting clients over the past many months, I have finally embarked on building a real business.  I am in the process of creating a manifesto of services and infrastructure to support it.

I recently hired Greg (Cloud Marketing Labs) to build me a website and “market Linda.”  He pushed me to define what I represent, how I work, what clients should expect, and more.  One of the things Greg recommended was to solicit feedback from my current clients, find out what they liked and what they might value in a future offering.  Thinking that I had really over-delivered with clients thus far, I compiled a list of questions and asked for feedback.

It all seemed easy until I received the following feedback relative to Rapport (Beside Manner):

Question: Do you find our interaction to be positive?  Did you feel like you better off because you called me?

Answer: I feel that I was better off because of you, but not sure if all shared that sentiment.  You have a very strong personality, which is not completely embraced by all.

That was unexpected and I needed to understand how to improve.  I immediately committed to understand “strong personality” – it could mean so many things…

I had a follow-up meeting with my client yesterday.  (I am grateful that he agreed to discuss this further.)  I learned that the negative reaction was associated with a strong recommendation that I had made about how to run a specific experiment and what data should be gathered.  In retrospect, I had not taken adequate time to parse, describe the why, and encourage understanding about the data needs.  As such, my strong recommendation felt disrespectful and intransigent to some team members.  Although there is always tension between Go Fast and Move Slow, ultimately, my desire to execute the experiment quickly got in my way.  I must remind myself constantly that a hike is not over until everyone reaches the campsite.  It is not possible to go faster (without casualty) than the slowest team member.

My long view advice:

  • Slow down – take time to teach and encourage understanding with the entire team.  It is not good enough to understand alone, achievement occurs only when everyone has arrived at understanding.
  • Stay committed to improvement, know that everyone needs to be reminded to do better – no one is perfect.
  • Ask for the last 10%, which is the feedback that is difficult to give, harder to hear, but most important for improvement (described in the book Integrity, pg.120).
  • Listen, internalize, and adjust accordingly.

I am extremely grateful for the candid honesty of my client.  To that end, I am re-committed to slowing down to ensure that understanding is achieved before asking for execution.

Are you ensuring understanding before asking for execution?

February 21, 2010

Zealot Advice

Posted in Life, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:56 pm by lindaslongview

I connected more than usual to Seth’s post from yesterday, Moving the line (the power of a zealot).  He taps into the conundrum of the community that I exist within, where there is angry division over standards of behavior.  Seth correctly observes, “It’s not the principle, in fact, it’s just the degree of compromise we’re comfortable with and content to argue over.” He’s absolutely right!

One of the real challenges is that communities have changed over time and do not respond to the same stimulus and admonitions they used to.  We now live in the world of the long tail (many niches), having shifted more and more toward autonomy.  As such, individuals expect more fidelity and tolerance for their personal needs/desires than ever before.  This requires that communities be more articulate and transparent about what they represent.

I addressed the shift from community to autonomy in my post One Book, Two Months, discussing Putnam’s seminal book, Bowling Alone, and noted that our ability to choose our affiliations is very positive and welcome — we are no longer forced/trapped by ‘tradition’ and/or whatever you were raised.  This has meant that community organizations must create compelling reasons for affiliation. And with greater choices, people change affiliations based on whether their needs (autonomy) are being met.

It is no longer sufficient to be an organization that met the needs of past customers to be successful in the future. Every organization must become customer-centric to the currently affiliated (and those they desire to attract). Customer-centric means that when people talk about their experiences they RAVE about how well they were treated, how much they liked the staff and community, and how easy it was to accomplish the ‘why’ of their affiliation.

Organizations must therefore solicit feedback, measure performance, and adapt accordingly (compromise, coexist, and tolerate diversity for mutual benefit). Per Putnam, this must be part of building mechanisms with the tools of our technological age. To survive, organizations need to rise above where they have been, creating accessible guidance and embracing scalable personalization.

Lastly, the shift toward autonomy has intensified long view imperatives for zealots (and the leadership managing the zealots) within diverse communities:

  • Zealots need to understand that they are successful when they “move the goalposts” (and not expect to hold out for their ideal if they are a minority).
  • Zealots must legitimate the needs of the non-zealots enabling a customer-centric environment (tolerate diversity) to create (more and more) reciprocity, trust, and mutual aid (if they desire to participate within a given community).

Without acknowledging and adjusting to the realities of the shift toward autonomy, some communities are likely to sustain more and more disaffiliation leading to extinction.

Is your community harnessing the tools of the technological age to create coexistence, accessible guidance, and scalable personalization?

March 14, 2009

Unexpected?!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:49 am by lindaslongview

As a veteran of understanding complex systems, it is not terribly surprising that sometimes the unexpected occurs. It is not so much that humans have poor intuition, it is more that we 1) oversimplify (we focus on a specific element and not the whole), 2) we underestimate the affect of randomness, 3) we do not account for a changes in underlying assumptions of our mental models, and 4) we overvalue the expected outcomes because we become emotionally attached to the outcome.

As a trivial example of the unexpected, I am whining about my sore hands after having returned to running and climbing after a month of ankle injury hiatus (the climbing calluses on my hands receded and my hands became soft). So even though I expected to be most challenged by my ankle, it is actually my hands that are unexpectedly sore — I did not anticipate the whole picture.

As a really BIG example of the unexpected, the core of the financial mess that the world is currently experiencing can be traced to an oversimplified quantitative model that failed to account for changes in market assumptions – see Wired (March 2009): “A Formula for Disaster.” (Very interesting yet short article).

My experience in managing complex systems coincides with all of the wisdom and experience of others before me — take the long view: pay attention to the capacity constraint of the system, be wary of process steps with similar capacity to the constraint either upstream or downstream (they could easily become the constraint), and stay aware of external factors that can impact the system. The most important advice is to assume that Murphy exists and plan for managing it. To that end, if you do not have good intuition under different scenarios and want to build it to plan for it (for example, recovery from disruption), I recommend discrete event simulation with Simul8.

I am sure that there are other reasons than the four (4) I listed for the unexpected to occur. I invite you to add reasons 5, 6, 7….