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Plan - Perform - Score


Plan Perform Score March 2012


March 2012

Dear Greg:

Welcome to Plan-Perform-Score! These Insight Bites focus on ideas, thoughts, and tools to alter perspective and improve performance.

  The Power of Stories to Communicate

Stories are a wonderful way of expressing ideas, facts or points of view. In the hands of a skillful master, a well crafted story can both simplify and communicate complex concepts.

One of my favorite gifted story-tellers was the late Carl Sagan who could convey difficult scientific theories in terms that were fascinating, interesting and yet understandable by the average Greg. And trust me, that is no small accomplishment.

Rather than a boring recital of the scientific explanation of "artificial selection" which Wikipedia defines as "the process of intentional or unintentional modification of a species through human actions which encourages the breeding of certain traits over others", Carl had another approach.

Imagine we have a magic window in which we can peer into the past.The year is 1185 and you are watching a great naval battle in an inland-sea in Japan. There are two warring factions of samurai warriors. The smaller fleet is defending the right of the seven-year old Emperor to rule Japan. The larger fleet consists of warriors who feel they have the right to rule the land. As the battle ensues, it becomes clear that the smaller fleet of the emperor is losing badly. We watch in astonishment as rather than surrender, the remaining samurai warriors of the emperor and the emperor himself cast themselves into the sea where they all drown. An honorable death is cherished more than potential survival through the humility of surrender.

Our story does not end here however. We continue to observe what happens at this inland sea over the next 800 years. We observe the fishermen who catch crabs from its waters. They look at the back of each crab they catch. If the back bears any resemblance to the face of a samurai warrior, they put it back out, of respect for the fallen warriors of that long ago battle. Over the centuries, a strange thing begins to happen. In the early years after the battle, the returned crabs bear a vague resemblance to the face of a samurai warrior, but, as time passes we see that more and more of the crabs begin to bear an uncanny resemblance to the honored samurai. The scientific explanation for this remarkable process is called artificial selection. Those respectful fisherman, over the course of eight centuries intervened in the natural selection process. They determined which biological characteristics were most desirable. They literally changed the course of nature and the evolution pattern of the crabs. From our view into the past we see that human intervention can have profound implications for other species.

Isn't Carl's approach more robust, illustrative and memorable? He was able to emulate the "Philosophy of Teaching" of another hero of mine Richard Feynman: "First figure out WHY you want the students to learn the subject and WHAT you want them to know, and the method will result more or less by common sense." Carl had a masterful way to harness the power of stories to embody this approach.

Together, our challenge is to use the innate power of story-telling to better convey ideas, improve understanding, and simplify communications. Whatever our profession or field of endeavor, a good story will help us to express our message.

Once upon a time, there was a ...........

Quote & Note

"You can't give a man a rope & expect him to be a cowboy."

The right tool in the right set of hands can be very compelling? However the tool does not make the man or woman. If you employ new tools in your business make sure there is both an aptitude for and adequate training to support them. It will make your giddyups more dramatic. 

Management Law

Cooper's Metalaw:

A proliferation of new laws creates a proliferation of new loopholes.

The limits of legislation are quickly evident. My big lament is that all this creative talent isn't directed at solving a greater public good. Whoever said humans can't adapt has never used a creative law firm.

Check It Out: 12-21-2012

A fun and interesting website with lots of information on the meaning of that day. Is it the end, an exciting new beginning or just the day before December 22nd? Have fun and wow them at the coffee shop with all your knowledge.


We welcome your feedback on this and all issues of Plan-Perform-Score! Please e-mail your comments to:


If you'd like to tour The One Page Planning & Performance System (TOPPPS) with built in scorecards and performance reports, please call Greg Pashke at (772) 528-3871 or e-mail:

March 2012

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