Le blog de Keyvan Nilforoushan

Archive for the month “March, 2023”

Identify your controls

One of Andy Grove’s strongest concepts (from High Output Management) is that of task-relevant maturity. Specifically, that for a manager being hands-on is neither better nor worse, in general, than being always hands-off.

Managers stumble when they are stuck in a mode and can’t adapt ; usually that manifests when they start being really hands-on and can’t grow beyond it when their scope of control grows beyond their technical expertise, or just beyond their available time. Managees stumble when they don’t understand why their manager suddenly becomes hands-on. They feel adversely micro-managed and don’t realize they are growing into a new realm of know-how.

I’ve found however that the advice for the manager to adapt to the task-relevant maturity of the person being managed is not enough. The better advice is to always communicate about exactly how close or how far they intend to remain.

Ways of doing that are excellently summarized here :

Identify your controls. | Irrational Exuberance

Working with the door open

“I noticed the following facts about people who work with the door open or the door closed. I notice that if you have the door to your office closed, you get more work done today and tomorrow, and you are more productive than most. But 10 years later somehow you don’t know quite know what problems are worth working on; all the hard work you do is sort of tangential in importance. He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important.”

You and Your Research

Why don’t airlines hedge fuel prices ?

A lot has been said about how Southwest got a significant edge in 2008 because it had hedged 70% of its fuel costs. It would seem the most natural thing for airlines to hedge against fuel price variations – which are, after all, the biggest contributor to their costs … and the one they have the least control over.

And yet. By and large, they don’t.

Turns out, in an ultra concentrated market with well-defined routes and a mutual interest in not encroaching on a competitor’s trade routes (to avoid mutually assured margin destruction) it’s quite ok to let customers absorb whatever the fuel markets will do.

Loved this counter-intuitive piece explaining it all How Airlines Explain the Economy – by Byrne Hobart

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