Welcome to the charter issue of 'Perspectives from the Stair,' the newsletter that shows you how to drive profit by resolving the risks hidden in your business.
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Perspectives from the Stair

Newsletter Cycle 13: Aug-Sep 2013

Table of Contents

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Welcome aboard *|TITLE:FNAME|* to our voyage of discovery!

Well, howdy from Lost Pines, Texas! Have you got your innovation passport up-to-date *|TITLE:FNAME|*? We're delighted to have you aboard the ideaship Perspectives for this exciting journey. What's an ideaship? Like Star Trek's timeship Relativity, we've arrived at your port-of-call to provision you for discovery…discovering the risks hidden in your business. "Residual Risks" are those that can only be recognized with a fresh perspective, such as when you climb the steps of a lighthouse on the coast. Seeing the same scene over and over, if you are disciplined to continue climbing, you rise out of the fog to see past your former horizon with the clarity which a systems thinking perspective brings to your operations. Again, welcome aboard! While you're thinking about it, share our newsletter with sharp people you know!

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Do You Know the 1-word Test for Scoring Leaders?

Can you think of anyone who needs a bigger dose of busy? We believe that a litmus test for true leadership is to ask someone if they're busy. Go ahead: ask the next 5 people you meet, including sparking up a conversation with a total stranger, if they would say they are busy. Don't be surprised if 4 out of 5 question the idea they could be anything but busy.

We invite you to imagine yourself at the foot of a spiral stair, with the flash of staircase wit (or l'esprit d'escalier for our Canadian and EU friends), that comes in the moment of quiet reflection right before one is moved to act decisively.

Transformational leaders respond (in their own words) that they are purposefully engaged, they are rarely ever busy, because the 4 letters of that simple word weave a message of disinterested superiorityI'm too busy (read: important, viz. Hegel's master-slave relationship) for you and your needs.

Delivering exponential improvements in risk results means that we listen intently to the music behind the words and ask purposeful, structured questions about details that are out of tune. Listening is one of the most vital first steps to gaining trust and trust is the central element of building business intimacy: that culture where people tell us what we need to hear, rather than what they think we want to hear.

Share our newsletter with sharp people who need to drive increased profit by resolving the hidden risks in their business!

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Who We Are & What We Do

Why Now is the Right Time to Radically Improve Your Operations

STETA Group is Making Risk Social to Make You Safer SM by transforming the way risk is measured and managed. Founded by global IP Law giant AndrewsKurth as a Chamber of Commerce for Risk after the BP Deepwater Horizon fiasco; STETA Group exists to advance the state of the art in the discovery, reporting and resolution of risks across the spectrum of organizational events today: civic, social, for profit and non-profit.

The question we get asked most often is very insightful:
So what kinds of risks do you handle?
At the end of the day, there are only 2 kinds of risk:
  • those you don't know about
  • those your (so-called) “experts” have discounted
and these 2nd ones are (almost) always catastrophic. The very people charged with being alert to the signal events (also called messenger or herald events) that foretell the potential for minor flaws to cascade into major disasters, have a “learned blindness” that is only curable by asking ridiculous, irrelevant and inconvenient questions… structured questions that have the outside appearance of child-like naïveté. So in summary, the solution is as straightforward as it is difficult. Know people who embrace a challenge rather than running away? Share our newsletter with them! You'll both be glad you did.

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None of us are as smart as all of us;the truest hallmark of genius is to welcome ideas from every corner, then evaluate them to find those worth polishing up to use. Geodes look like dusty rocks on the outside, good for naught. So do many great ideas in their first telling.

The Systemkey™ Risk Intelligence Platform is a dialog-driven model, rather than centrally dependent on software's “garbage-in | garbage-out”Achilles Heel. The structured questions powered by Systemkey™ Risk Modeling are available across the range of environments where software will never be allowed, either for environmental or security reasons.

Bottom Line:

With a comprehensive and coherently layered approach to managing risk, Solutions powered by Systemkey™ Risk Modeling deliver clarity that moves the needle in reducing costs, thus resolving the most critical threats to your triple-bottom line and allowing a pragmatic approach to handling risks of lesser consequence.

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How it works:

The Systemkey™ Platform includes the following products & services licensed from Systems Thinking Institute LLC (STI) :
  • Rock Eel Digital (la RED)
  • RedSky™ Risk Software
    • for companies on the cusp of explosive growth
  • Semantic Compression™
    • for organizations commited to process maturity
  • Systemkey™ Enterprise Suite
    • includes all of the above and more
with the STETA-certification of the Systemkey™ Global Train-the-Trainer pipeline, to round out the platform.

Systemkey™ Solutions dramatically extend your organization's capacity for risk discovery by giving people at every level of the organization both the permission to and the process for constructively and creatively asking inconvenient, ridiculous and irrational questions. The kind that so very dramatically did not get asked by:
  • Carnival Cruise Lines upper management team as the Costa Concordia veered off course
  • Toyota's Dealer Network process improvement team prior to the death of the Saylor family in the sudden unintended acceleration case
  • Exploration/drilling process champions in the BP/Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico spill
  • Race planning staff and multiple layers of security agencies involved in the 2013 Boston marathon
  • Operational integrity team for Blue Rhino's Tavares, FL refilling plant
  • The Leadership and skills performance certification team for RENFE 's Alvia train which derailed near Santiago de Compostela.

You can probably think of many additional incidents on your own, yes or yes? There is no single answer, yet there is a robust and scalable platform that can answer these and every other question regarding the specific risk signature at your business or non-profit.

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Turning traditional logic inside out for complex environments, structured questions powered by Systemkey™ , equip your team to “peel the onion”of complexity, in layers thin enough that the most junior person on that team can make valuable contributions.

See if you can spot the flaws in this trick question:

If it were that easy, wouldn't we already have solved it by now?

Can you name 5 critical errors embedded in that question? How do those mistakes in outlook, those assumptions and yes that embedded arrogance, put the safety of your firm in jeopardy?

How many times have you heard questions just like that get asked…


Our vision

In becoming the defacto standard of risk reporting, the way Adobe® Reader is in document delivery, we will reduce human suffering and improve quality of life from the seabed to the stars.
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Brain Teasers (BT)

Fostering cross-disciplinary insights


  • BTI: one ocelot oscillates occipitally, occasioning a digital divide
    » =HEX2BIN("a", 5)
  • BT2: one ocelot oscillates occipitally, occasioning a cross-eyed cat
    » =BIN2HEX(1000, 1)
Think you're the hostess with the mostest? Submit your answer to and if correct, you'll win 10% off the workshop of your choice! Scan QR code for your coupon.
Brain Teaser's victory lap, 10% off course of choice for Team Trio™ sign-ups
This one's no puzzle! Share our newsletter filled with cross-disciplinary insights, the key skill ranked most essential in the coming 5 years by 1500+ global leaders surveyed by IBM, KMPG and EIU. (Write us via the icon in the header or footer to get the full reports with our complements.

Captivate Conference

 Jennifer Bullard

I'm Jennifer Bullard, inviting you to the Captivate Conference, coming to Austin this October, which I'm very passionate about.

Our mission at Captivate is to create a place where music, film, gaming and mobile professionals can learn practical skills to deploy right now! Come to learn where technology and entertainment are moving, how to keep up with new business models and the latest trends in running your own business. This is a great opportunity for students, artists and developers.

Check out the CaptivateCon LinkedIn page, where you can find interesting facts about the conference and what makes Captivate so captivating: our speakers.

Tickets for Captivate can be purchased at and for Captivate event sponsorship & exhibiting inquiries, please email me,, I'll be happy to follow or promote your company via our blog and social media channels.

Wishing you the best,

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Understanding time management as steps in the staircase of living victoriously
Where do you invest your time?

The Copper Ladle:
A retelling of the children's classic "Stone Soup"

Picture yourself somewhere in Eastern Europe. It's just after the Crimean war and there are soldiers ravaging the countryside.

Our scene opens with 3 soldiers crossing a river at daybreak. When they reach the other side, 1 of them tells the other 2 to pick up a smooth round stone and put it in their pocket. As the day wears on, the soldiers approach a village. The leader tells the other 2 that if they follow his direction, they will all have a feast tonight. [ Read more… ] As you're writing us with your own story to share, share our newsletter with sharp people you want to see prosper in the days ahead!

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Conquering Complexity

The Problem

The language of risk has been hijacked.

In today's globally connected and tightly integrated economy, the idea that one person or some small cadre of people have all the answers is sheer arrogance that imperils both the firm and the communities and networks in which it participates.

Skip to the cartoon story already!:

  Herb's Hazard Hamlet

Our Solution

To make a difference in the world of risk, you must first creatively disrupt the herd mentality.

Just like the movie Ratatouille delightfully showed that " anyone can cook, our "cooking show" analogy takes the average non-tech worker through an easy-to-follow process that equips them to make meaningful contributions to their company's risk discovery process.

Read the cartoon narrative, where there's nary a single equation in sight, we promise! Know someone who stands out from the crowd? Do them a favor with our nifty newsletter! You'll both be glad you did.

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Spiral Staircase as steps-in-time
Do you know the 'Rule of 8s' in managing people?
Mentor Notes

Why Business Fables?

Business fables change minds, & thereby behaviors, by captivating hearts. Drawing on more than 80+ years of combined experience in science, engineering, finance, technology, project management, security and best of all, commercial baking(!), Systemkey™ Risk Analysts weave fables out of the fabric of human experience.

These threads, woven together in the course of your Risk Discovery Assessments ( RDAs) and Risk Resolution Engagements ( RREs), bring people and process together to build the bridge of business intimacy, which transports us across the chasm of the River Chaos to the culture on the far shore.

Learning to live in this "undiscovered country" equips and encourages our members, partners and friends to tell each other what we need to hear, rather than just what they think we want to hear. We believe more people across this big blue marble need to hear the message of dialog-driven risk reduction! If you agree, invite your peers to subscribe to our newsletter.

By reflecting an organization's business fables—mythical stories about the business, if you will—back to them, we sidestep the organizational defensive routines that typically derail conventional organizational change and renewal efforts.

Read Mentor's notes to The Copper Ladle: Stone Soup Retold.

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So how do we get it?

Let's be clear, you cannot buy software powered by Systemkey™. First of all, because Systemkey™ is an open source XML risk modeling language standard; yet more importantly, because asking that question belies the misunderstanding between owning a McLaren sports car and having the resources of the McLaren F1 racing team.

Ok, so how DO we get it?

Companies of all sizes can experience the exponential results the Systemkey™ Risk Intelligence Platform delivers when they qualify for Risk Discovery Assessments (RDAs) or Risk Resolution Engagement (RREs) from Systems Thinking Institute LLC (STI), the training-agent-of-record for the Systemkey™ platform.

STI is also the publisher of this nifty newsletter, so share and share alike!

So how do we qualify?

You sign up for our Language Leverage™ series starting with Tier I: What do gecko's toes teach us about teaming?

Not only do these workshops include exercises and assessments that add immediate value to your team…

They serve as a thin-slice interview, or an x-ray into the heart of the organization, to evaluate the potential for Systemkey™ Solutions to flourish inside your existing culture. As a follow-up, read our founder's blog on "Keeping Work Playful."


Our 5 Brands


Rock Eel Digital (RED)

helps people to untangle the web. While we're getting known for our distinctive mobile-friendly websites, la RED (the network in Castilian) is part of the Rock Eel Café, with a full menu of communications solutions from solopreneurs up to companies on the cusp of explosive growth. Cross-disciplinary insight is the most valuable ingredient in our recipe for small business owners. The Five Points of our Texas star are voice (local & remote), web, email & print. For firms who qualify, we equip their team to excel in communicating through:
So come on over to see what's cooking at the Rock Eel Café, where we serve "food for thought" [to] leaders and those they serve.


Systemkey™ Risk Modeling Language

As the core of the Systemkey™ Platform, XML-structured SRML was designed to transform how risk is measured and managed by delivering more granular detail on risk exposures. More than mere software, Systemkey™ implementations disruptively innovate via Business Intimacy, that climate where partners trust us enough to tell us what we need to hear, rather than what they think we want to hear.


RedSky™ Risk Suite

Powered by SRML, Red Sky™ identifies risk consequence according to potential impact on business performance. This helps C-level executives and their teams to prioritize and schedule business process improvement, problem resolution and overall spending. RedSky™ Risk Suite outcomes typically include: reduced organizational risk profile; reduced OpEx; improved customer experience and competitive advantage. By distilling conversations from the boardroom to the coalface, RedSky™ software highlights the messenger events that signal failures cascading into catastrophe.


Semantic Compression™

SRML uses our proprietary Semantic Compression™ to unlock additional value in the software-centric solutions companies use today. Semantic Compression™ enables both software + services to purposefully collect unstructured data in a structured environment. Fully integrated with Red Sky™ Risk Suite for larger implementations, Semantic Compression™ is also an unheralded ingredient on the menu of the Rock Eel Café, providing small and emerging growth firms with solutions that lay the foundation to seamlessly scale into larger frameworks without the typical ERP nightmares that are a bizarrely-accepted part of product transitions in many finance and technology firms.


Systemkey™ Enterprise Suite

A vital aspect of SRML in leveraging training budgets (doing more with less), is that we can embed experience into the design of the tools we use so that we lower the threshold of experience required to achieve useful results. For companies who qualify for STETA membership, Systemkey™ Risk Discovery Assessments (RDAs) and Risk Resolution Engagements (RREs) are available, tailored to exact needs: a single process or product line or your entire value-delivery chain including end-to-end partners as a part of a comprehensive solution suited just for your situation. Read how to qualify.


Systemkey™ Global Train-the-Trainer

Organizations who qualify for STETA membership have the privilege of leveraging the risk solutions powered by the Systemkey™ Platform across their entire footprint. With granular attention to local needs in culture, language, delivery modality and training recertification, your organization’s many voices can speak one coherent language in the field of Risk Reduction! Enroll your your organization in and commit your key stakeholders to the qualification pipeline to become certified Systemkey™ Risk Analysts.
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