The Only Two Skills That Matter: Clarity of Communications and Empathy

I meant to write a post describing how I build presentations, but I realized that I can’t do that without writing this one first.

I had the honor of working with Drue Reeves when I was at Burton and Gartner. Drue was my chief of research and as an agenda manager we worked closely in shaping what and how our teams would research. More importantly we got to define the kind of analysts we hired. We talked about all the kinds of skills an analyst should have. We’d list out all sorts of technical certifications, evidence of experience, and the like. But in the end, that list always reduced down to two things. If you have them, you can be successful in all your endeavors. The two most important skills someone needs to be successful in what they do are:

  • Clarity in communications
  • Empathy

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Thoughts from the last 10 years

Our modern era split into two parts on September 11th. In the last ten years, like the World Trade Center,  some of our shared concepts about our world have fallen. Collapsed is the notion that the world “over there” has no impact on our own soil. In sad heap is the idea that we can apply kinetic force again ideological force. Fallen is the naiveté that we know how to manage the institutions that have fueled America’s growth, whose complexity and interconnectedness have increased geometrically.

There is an idea that has not fallen and has grown in strength and in implication – the idea that we can be completely safe. This farcical idea is literally destroying our country. This myth bankrupting our nation. This myth is breeding ideologues. The fantasy of complete safety has robbed us our dignity. It has decreased our operational efficiency.

This country is behaving like a child, afraid of the dark, insisting to turn on every light in the house. There isn’t a boogeyman under every bed, in every closet. The dark isn’t inherently dangerous. The dark contains the unknown and the undiscovered; it is in the dark that our future rests. It is only through bravery of admitting that we cannot be completely safe, through the decision to not be scared of the dark, that we can progress economically and emotionally.

Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither
Ben Franklin actually wrote, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." I give the National Park Service a lot of credit for leaving this graffiti up on a bridge in Rock Creek Park. Besides, if Ben Franklin said it, is it really graffiti?

Times change – Toledo Lounge sold (but that’s okay)

As someone of you have already heard, the spiritual home of Tuesdaynight, Toledo Lounge, has been sold. After nearly 20 years Abbajay sisters have sold Toledo to the owners of the Black Squirrel. From reading this article, it sounds like things are going to pretty much stay the same at Toledo which is great news.

BTW – some of us will be at Toledo tonight to reminisce. Come join us!