“The Illusion of Certainty” & Other Articles from Kevin Jordan

I hope you and your families continue to be well, safe and healthy. We are trying to enjoy the beautiful, warm northern CA weather spending time in the backyard and enjoying walks… at the physically appropriate distance, a not insignificant hurdle for some of my neighbors. 🙂 

For this week’s Articles section, you will find an eclectic mix of topics related to our current global pandemic. I am also including some pieces that I have had in my ever-growing backlog that are pre-Armageddon; I believe they are still quite applicable and relevant, especially as we move forward. The podcasts are all themed in the vein of mindset shifts and cognitive adaptability and how best to make that happen in these trying times. They offer a range of different and compelling perspectives.  

As always, happy reading and listening! And please stay safe and look out for your families and your community.


There will be no ‘back to normal.’ “For this reason, adaptation and innovation are more important than ever…At Nesta, we’re using this analysis as a basis to explore the role of innovation in possible future scenarios in the aftermath of COVID-19. We hope it also helps others to facilitate important discussions within their organisations as we all look to adjust to the new world that emerges.” [An incredibly rich, thought-provoking, well-researched and documented predictive thought piece.]

Ten Guidelines for Creating Opportunities in a Time of Crisis. “At such times, it is easy to overlook that in both Chinese and Japanese, the word “crisis” is written with two symbols signifying “danger” and “opportunity.” The truth is that every crisis, while deeply unsettling, also contains the seeds of opportunity.” 

We Don’t Just Need to Connect — We Need to Reconnect. “Rekindling dormant ties can bring unexpected benefits to our lives.” 

A Pastor (and Management Professor) on Taking Care of Your Team during the COVID-19 Crisis. “Share in their sacrifice. Don’t preach. And ask these three questions.” 

How to Talk to Your Team When the Future Is Uncertain. “‘Task one is transparency’…Your second task is to ‘articulate a sense of possibility and hope.’ Accomplishing both of these tasks, however, is no easy feat. Here are recommendations for communicating with your employees during this uncertain time.” 

The illusion of certainty. “Institutionalised humans obtain a false sense of certainty by assuming that life is one big waggle-dance: that what is optimal in a one-off transaction in a certain present is also optimal at scale, in an uncertain, long-term future. Even insects have figured out this is dumb. Like Socrates, bees know how much they don’t know.” 

Lessons in Agility from a Dancer Turned Professor. “But now, far from the ballet studio, I see many of the characteristics that are required in ballet transferring to the executive suite: core strength, ability to change focus quickly, extreme flexibility and range of motion, and knowing where you want to go.” 

7 Leadership Lessons Men Can Learn from Women. “The best gender equality intervention is to focus on equality of talent and potential — and that only happens when we have gender-equal leadership to enable men to learn different leadership approaches from women as much as women have always been told to learn leadership approaches from men.” 

A Short Guide to Building Your Team’s Critical Thinking Skills. “It’s time to reject the notion that critical thinking is either an innate gift that can’t be developed or a skill learned only through experience. Begin using this systematic approach to lead team members through the four phases of critical thinking. By doing so, you can help your team members develop one of today’s most in-demand skills.”  

TED Talks/Podcasts

TED Talks Daily: How to shift your mindset and choose your future. “When it comes to big life problems, we often stand at a crossroads: either believe we’re powerless against great change, or we rise to meet the challenge. In an urgent call to action, political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac makes the case for adopting a mindset of ‘stubborn optimism’ to confront climate change — or whatever crisis may come our way — and sustain the action needed to build a regenerative future.” 

Freakonomics Radio 379: How to Change Your Mind. “There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves?” 

The Bregman Leadership Podcast: Disrupt Yourself. “How do we create meaningful disruptions in our work and personal lives?…Discover the S-curve—the shape of learning and growth—and how it can be applied to your life, how you can start to change your mindset, and how to mourn a failure and healthily address shame.”  

Blog Posts (excerpt below with links to the full post)

All You Need Are a Few Small Wins Every Day. “Creating anything of consequence or magnitude requires deliberate, incremental and consistent work. At the beginning, these efforts might not look like they are amounting to much. But with time, they accumulate and then compound on each other. Whether it’s a book or a business or an anthill or a stalagmite, from humble beginnings come impressive outcomes.” 

The Art of Strategy. “Graphics expedite and increase our level of communication — increasing comprehension, recollection, and retention. Visual clues help us decode text and attract attention to information or direct attention increasing the likelihood that the audience will remember.” 

This Is The #1 Ritual You Need To Do Every Day (Pandemic Edition). “In the end, you want to be the kind of person that seeks challenges. No, I’m not saying you want to go out of your way to make life difficult for yourself. I’m saying you want to be the kind of person who strives.”  

Arts, Music & Culture Corner

U2, Nirvana, Elvis, and Bruce Springsteen make list of most iconic songs of all time. “The top 50 list of the greatest songs of all time have been compiled by a University of London computer scientist who used a formula to examine the songs often listed by big names like, VH1, Q, NME, and the Rolling Stone.” [Let the debates begin…]

Concerts will never be the same after COVID-19. Here’s what you could wear to bring them back. “This future suit wants to make it safe to go to live events again. Could this be the answer to the return of the crowd?” [As an avid concert goer, I find this distressing on multiple levels…]

The Weekly Mix, Vol. 716: Get To Know You. “Wherever you may be, Cheryl Waters offers you solace in music. Her latest mix soothes and uplifts, featuring a variety of local and global sounds from Tomo Nakayama to Lido Pimienta, Caribou to Songhoy Blues and many more.” [This is one of many awesome mixes and generally great music from Seattle’s most excellent KEXP.]

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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