August 13; What Is Important and What Is Not?
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Eight: Communication; 13 August

His winnowing fork is in his hand,

and he will clear his threshing floor,

gathering his wheat into the barn and

burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Matthew 3:12

What Is Important and What Is Not?

Discernment

The binoculars were getting heavy in my hands. I was studying military vehicles trying to figure out the good-guys and the bad-guys; the enemy would get “destroyed.” If I could identify friend from foe. Your Business Professor was no General Patton—I wasted valuable time confused over a particular tank.

Was it one of ours? Or one of theirs?

I had to give an answer. Guessing wrong meant that there would be a bad guy set loose to hurt us. Or there would be a “friendly fire” incident; a euphemism for targeting the home team.

I could not figure it out. I was distracted.

I wasted too much time on the irrelevant tank. I kept talking about that strange looking tank. I didn’t know exactly what to tell my boss. Instead, I consumed my superior’s most valuable resource: time. I was an amateur.

I made the classic Signal vs Noise mistake. I did not quickly choose between what was valuable and what was not. I confused worthless input (Noise) with actionable data (Signal).

The difference is like scanning a radio dial. Static, the chaff, is a noisy distraction. But when a radio station is found a signal is received and data, as musical wheat, is heard over the air.

The best teams act as a filter for the boss. Like all raw, dumped data, a small fraction disproportionally delivers the greater value. GQ Magazine lists The 80/20 Principle, by author Richard Koch as one of the all-time best 25 business books. Koch says, “The value of automated information is increasing exponentially, much faster than we can use it. The key to using this power effectively, now and in the future, lies in selectivity: in applying the 80/20 Principle.” (Koch 1998, 2008) p 50.

The most valuable staffer is an individual contributor who can analyze signal and noise and separate the wheat from the chaff. The most valuable person on a team is the one who can glean the necessary information using wisdom and judgment and make a sharp recommendation.

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:12

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