Dr. Tad Waddington is an Executive People Planning Partner with deep expertise in human capital measurement and quantitative analytics. Dr. Waddington is an internationally recognized expert in the causes and consequences of investing in human capital. He has over 20 years of experience applying his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Measureme...nt, Evaluation, and Statistical Analysis to solving problems in human capital development and impact. For 15 years, he was Accenture’s Director of Performance Measurement and, prior to Accenture, a Gallup Research Director. Tad’s first book, Return on Learning, looked at the consequences of investments in human capital. The book grew out of his analysis of hard-endpoint data of over a 250,000 records that showed that Accenture’s return on investment (ROI) in training was 353%. His second book, Lasting Contribution, investigated the causes of human capital. A wide-ranging book that drew on everything from Tad’s mastery of ancient Chinese to a fine-grained analysis of Oprah’s shoes, the book has been translated into seven languages and won seven awards. Tad graduated Phi Beta Kappa and valedictorian from the Honors College at Arizona State University with a B.A. in Psychology. He then studied at Stanford’s Inter-University Program for Chinese Studies and received an M.A. from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. Dr. Waddington holds a Ph.D. in Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistical Analysis from the University of Chicago. More

A Logical Proof that Santa Exists!

santablog

Is the statement, “There is a Santa Claus” true?

This should be easy enough: Define truth and see if the statement fits the definition.

It is widely held that a statement is true if and only if there is a one-to-one correspondence between the statement and reality. “The cat is on the mat” is a true statement if you can show that there exists a felis catus that is currently supported by a piece of coarse fabric.

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Do You Use the Logic of Failure to Succeed?

Logic of Failure

In The Logic of Failure, German psychologist Dietrich Dörner summarized experiments on how people deal with complex systems. Dörner created a computer model of an imaginary country in West Africa that he called Tanaland. The people of this imaginary land depend on growing crops, gathering fruit, and herding sheep and cattle. Participants in Dörner’s experiment were given the opportunity to control certain variables of the Tanaland computer model, such as whether to use irrigation and fertilizer. Most participants quickly wiped out Tanaland’s population, but a few were able to preserve a healthy rate of growth. The differences between the experiment’s two groups, Dörner wrote, were striking: “The good participants acted more complexly. Their decisions took different aspects of the entire system into account, not just one aspect. This is clearly the more appropriate behavior in dealing with complicated systems,” he added, because complexity means there are “many interdependent variables in a given system,” which makes “it impossible to undertake only one action.”

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Scientific descriptions of human behavior

Scientific descriptions of human behavior

It is roughly accurate to characterize the enterprise of science as explaining how one billiard ball strikes another and how that one ricochets into another, and so on. But when this approach is applied to people, it can fall short, because people are goal-oriented. For example, the philosopher John Searle noted that “If you describe a car and leave out driving, you’ve left out something important.” He went on to say, “Cars are for driving; dollars for earning, spending, and saving; bathtubs for taking a bath.”

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How to become an expert

How to become an expert

When scientists began to study expertise, they first assumed that experts must be smarter or more talented than novices, but they quickly learned that the key difference between experts and novices is not mental power, but knowledge. Cognitive psychologists Michelene Chi, Marshall Farr, and Robert Glaser have defined an expert as somebody who has a great deal of highly organized domain-specific knowledge, where a domain is a network of knowledge, such as chess, mathematics, or music. For experts, knowledge has morphed from many pieces into a unified whole. An expert can start with any piece of knowledge and explain how it fits with every other piece. I always picture the way Sherlock Holmes could start with a soil stain and, through a chain of reasoning, solve the case.

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Complex Problems Require Systems Thinking

Complex Problems Require Systems Thinking

H. L. Mencken said, “For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, straightforward, and wrong.” How do you solve complex problems? Sometimes you can “just do it,” knock down the first domino—which topples the next in a long line of dominoes—and achieve the result you want. More often, however, the world is not domino-simple. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley nailed the nature of the problem: “Nothing in the world is single, All things...In one another’s being mingle....” Business strategist Peter Senge has expressed the same idea less poetically but more precisely: “human endeavors are...systems. They...are bound by invisible fabrics of interrelated actions, which often take years to fully play out their effects on each other.” Senge said this is a problem of dynamic complexity, which he defined as “situations where cause and effect are subtle, and where the effects over time of interventions are not obvious.”

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