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The word that changed my view of everything

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by Dr. Anthony Paustian
Author of A Quarter Million Steps

National Space Society
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
©2018  Anthony D. Paustian

For over 25 years, I had the opportunity to teach a large number of university students in a variety of business-related topics. Like any decent business professor, I taught the concepts related to effective planning, including the concept of SMART goals. SMART was an acronym meaning that a “good” goal was Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based.
I never questioned the textbooks, and since the concept seemed to make perfect sense­––at least on its surface––I kept teaching it year after year...until “it” happened.
For whatever reason, I was listening to the speech John F. Kennedy delivered to a large crowd at the stadium of Rice University on September 12, 1962. I’ve heard this speech a number of times because, as a big fan of the Apollo Program, I was always inspired by its overreaching passion. But on this day, a single word from the middl…

ciWeek 9: Exploring the Unknown

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by Dr. Anthony Paustian
Author of A Quarter Million Steps

Despite frequent claims to the contrary, I’ve come to believe that people love the unknown. Why else in every horror movie do people go into the big scary house or the rooms from where creepy noises emanate? They can’t help it.

Meet George Jetson: Successful people envision the future–not just adapt to it

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by Dr. Anthony Paustian
Author of A Quarter Million Steps

I grew up watching the The Jetsons, a futuristic television cartoon created by Hanna and Barbara in the early 1960s. As George Jetson and his family traveled around in flying vehicles while living and working in buildings that seemed to float in the sky, it was easy to think that anything representing a total paradigm shift from current life had to be light years into the future.

However, I recently attended the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The largest air show in the country, AirVenture was loaded with state-of-the-art military and civilian aircraft and even modern, private sector rockets such as Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin. But it was the smaller, more experimental aircraft that fascinated me. Despite my Air Force years on fighters (F-111s to be specific - now appearing in museums), I found myself repeatedly drawn to these very personal flying machines the entire week I was there.
The o…

Pressure really blows

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by Dr. Anthony Paustian, the author of A Quarter Million Steps: Creativity, Imagination, & Leading Transformative Change

I recently saw the movie "Deepwater Horizon." Since the movie is based on actual events, I’m not spoiling anything by describing how it chronicles the 2010 oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that caused the largest oil spill ever in U.S. waters. What struck me the most was how I could actually feel the gradual, yet massive buildup of pressure ultimately released from the ocean floor more than two and a half miles below the surface—pressure that literally blew apart the entire structure.

It got me thinking about how pressure can also affect our everyday lives. Except in a few scientific and engineering contexts, intense pressure is seldom a good thing. However, people often think they actually perform better under pressure, despite the research showing just the opposite: No one performs better under pressure.

“The idea that people perform …

The not-so-secret secret

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by Dr. Anthony Paustian, the author of A Quarter Million Steps: Creativity, Imagination, & Leading Transformative Change

Over the years, I’ve been asked a number of times how to creatively develop and maintain a competitive advantage in an environment marked by rapid changes in technology, fluid delivery systems, intense competition, real-time communication and instant (and often brutal) customer “experience” reports through social media.

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t hear about someone bemoaning a poor customer service experience. In fact, I believe customer service has gotten so bad that some people generally seem to expect a bad experience. As a result, I believe we have lowered our bar to the point where we now just tolerate being treated poorly.

Although I do think it’s becoming more difficult to maintain an advantage, I believe there is a solution … perhaps even the solution. Here’s the “secret” competitive advantage solution, especially if you’re trying to build a…