Perspectives from the Stair Newsletter shows you how to drive profit by resolving the risks in your business. Our 2014 theme: Fluency, celebrates Q2: Number Fluency
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Perspectives from the Stair: Volume II, Issue 9a

1: Quarterly Recap
2: Number Sense & Sensibility

3: Keeping risk off the menu at your banquet
4: Crossed Wires
5: Brand Refresher
6: Wrapping up Q2's Number Fluency theme
7: Receive your choice of free tools mentioned in Article 6

1: Quarterly Recap


Pick your free tools below


Matthew E. Weilert
Has your organization ever done a cultural audit? If not, how does your leadership assess the true cost of Group­think as a residual risk?

In fulfilling the STETA Group tagline, Making Risk Social to Make You Safer,SM we equip teams to build transparent cultures where people tell each other what they need to hear, rather than what they think you want to hear.

We probe the topics and ask the questions that others will not or cannot, because they never think outside of their comfort zone.

Our role in the marketplace of ideas is to equip organizations, (both for-profit and non-profit) to discover, assess and resolve the hidden or residual risks in your operations.

Asking how we can do that across industries is akin to asking how a smartphone can work for accountants, bakers and cowpokes. The answer is surprisingly simple!

Peer-reviewed research and empirical case studies document the vast advantages of a dialog-driven risk discovery model over the market-dominant software-centric solutions.
Merely being aware of risk is worthless
Effective risk reporting must either motivate the required change in people, process or product, or it must engage complementary structures that keep the status quo from blinding the collective wisdom of the design team.

It's almost a zen challenge: the more expert one is, the better they deal with narrower slices of data, until they know everything about nothing.
Your Risk Solution?
Look Beyond the Tool SM and get to Chester Karrass's real profits.Curriencies book cover from STI Press In Issue 6 we asked, In What Currencies Do You Trade? Just like effective parenting, at some point, effective residual risk resolution involves the messy, multi-variate, human-linked cause of the risk events. Get the actual day-to-day workers involved in validating your day-to-day risks and encourage them to suggest solutions across the board, so that the financial/accounting model doesn't deliver extremely precise GIGO.

Market share vs Effectiveness

Well-meaning yet short-sighted folks often ask the question: if a company leads their industry in market share, doesn't that mean they must be the best? Let's take a look.

The vast majority of us who speak and write character-based languages type on a QWERTY layout keyboard (Sholes, 1868). By placing the most used keys in a fan-shape for the left hand, Sholes was able to reduce mechanical jams in his manual typewriter.

People vs Process: A Fundamental Lesson

spyglass-lighthouse logoThis point is central to raising aware­ness (going up the steps of the lighthouse) to see over the horizon and around the corners of your former per­spect­ive. While typewriter inventor Sholes achieved some financial success, who really wants their legacy to be history's leading anti-ergonomist?

Who wants to be known as the one who enshrined the concept of designing machines to work at odds with peoples' native strengths? Sholes focus was on optimizing the current limitations of the device, versus optimizing the effectiveness of the person.

Sounds insane doesn't it? So does an engagement with SAP – just ask anyone who has ever experienced the millions in [pick your currency] and thousands of hours poured into the black hole people call enterprise resource planning.

If you want to be the best, you reject the status quo. It is that simple. All excuses to the contrary, part of the trans­form­a­tion from weekend warrior to Olympic champion is embracing the discipline that makes hard easy and turns astonishing into achievable.

Want to know more?

Reach out to us [1, 2] if you're interested in more detail. We're easy to talk with and easy to work with.

Receive your choice of free tools mentioned in Article 6
Upscale your business communications with our new Rock Eel Digital Marketplace.
Perspectives from the Stair is a rich content newsletter designed to engage leaders in a specific 19 day learn, review and teach pattern for the lessons in each issue. For those who want to breeze through while multi-tasking 8 other things, you're shopping in the wrong aisle, Boz. That dog don't hunt, as we say in Texas. If you'd like to learn more, reach out to our publisher on linkedin. Someone will respond promptly.

2: Number Sense & Sensibility


How is a Woman
Like a Nautilus Shell?

BonnieRobin Mariela Watau

Is "busy" an unrecognized risk?

What do busy people need? The painful truth is that they're not willing to hear or act on what they need, until they believe we're willing to give them what they want.
Therein lies the Hollywood drama that sparked
the 2008 financial meltdown.

In simple-speak:

Our challenge today is to recognize, it's not being busy that is what keeps us from accomplishing our objectives, our quarterly financial targets and so many other worthy efforts.

The "cause-of-the-cause" – why so many people say they're busy yet feel unfulfilled – is the level or maturity of thinking that tells us being busy is an acceptable answer for not delivering Olympic level performance on a consistent basis.

Can Numbers Substitute for Leadership?

An obsession with numbers distorts our culture. That's true in describing our banks or describing our bodies.

Martin Wolf's commentary How the Icelandic saga should end lays out in plain speech, the EU version of the 2008 banking crisis. As one of its central themes, so-called investors expected irrational returns with government guarantees.

I say so-called investors because both common sense and sensibility compel the mature person to acknowledge that 10-fold growth in five years is bound to end badly.

Spicy Wisdom
We at Glittering Carbon Activewear are so excited to be on the cusp of a new design project with Clothier Design Source of South Saint Paul, MN! While the details are under wraps (pun intended), we see a market opportunity to do well by doing good through innovation in design, marketing and production phases.

Common Sense and a sage body sensibility are my cross-disciplinary and provocative insights for this last Perspectives Issue for Q2, wrapping up our Number Fluency theme. Zillions of column inches and freight cars worth of ink are spilt worrying over female body image. Much ado about nothing I say:
Every outlook which presents itself as a conflict between the sexes is only an illusion and a danger: it would end in segregation and competition between men and women, and would promote a solipsism nourished by a false conception of freedom.

Apppropriate opprobrium

The French have a perfect term for socially discounting such inappropriate behaviors as off-color comments thought to be signs of artistic intellect, or inappropriate attire put forth as an avant garde fashion sense.

FR: La bretelle de son soutien-gorge dépasse.
EN: Her bra strap is showing.

Speaking of foundations, we'll pose an outlandish question: How is a woman like a nautilus shell? If we correlate US, UK & Polish band sizes 28-50 (inches) with cup differential 4-15 (inches), we see the graph at the top (Excel radar plot, data order inverted), showing different sizes with equal volumes, just like the natural beauty of a nautilus shell.


Looking at the graph above and Gary Meisner's outline to the right, "sweeping through equal volumes" is the phrase that came to mind from my Nautilus image courtesy of Gary Meisner high school science classes. The nautilus follows the golden ratio on 180º intervals not the typical 90°, mentioned on Ron Knott's Fibonacci pages.

Tomima Edmark's "neighborhood" sizing of sweeping through equal volumes, shown on Her Room's fitting page has the best explanation I've read on the web so far. She is the brilliant former IBMer, whose 1st breakout product, the TopsyTail™ sold over $100MM USD globally! Notice I didn't say a brilliant woman IBMer. Tomima Edmark is a brilliant, savvy person period.

Asking her gender is ipso facto discriminatory and media fodder for all sorts of foolishness. Actually the fact that she's Texan probably has more to do with her success than her gender…

Her success fundamentally disproves the seductive yet insipid and downright dangerous women can't 'w[h]ine' that Reshma Saujani is pouring (selling). I railed against this nonsense in Perspectives II (2) last quarter. Just last week Matt and I had the con­ver­sa­tion about how drastically different men and women are in their advice. I repeat the conversation verbatim, because it's such classic Matt:
The discipline to separate product production from the very real, essentially human and vital com­pas­sion for the people who work in those production-related roles seems to have escaped the majority of media mavens.

Ceteris paribus, women's native genius is expressed more strongly across ver­bal domains, while men's native genius shows more strongly across spatial domains, that is 3-D space, physical interactions.

Given this in-born giftedness, I'm shocked(!), shocked I say, that no pundit has brought this to the fore.


The classic STEM industries: science, technology, engineering and maths (as the Brits would say with a plural), are transactional in nature and require a trans­ac­tion­al speech pattern in their execution. It's no less profound or more complex than simply speaking the language of your customer.

It's not 'right' or 'wrong' nor is it the MacGuffin of "women denying their nature" oft bandied about. Does the sun rise in the East? It's that basic.

There isn't anything wrong with women! It's a classic case of taking advice from oft-well-meaning yet talent-impaired nimrods unqualified to give advice. It truly is as profound, yet as simple as that.
As I have told him before, an engineer with a literary gene is certainly different! As I truly believe there are no coincidences, I was amused and delighted, yet not surprised, to see this article from Victoria Pynchon, What If There Were Nothing Wrong With Women?, featured on Linked-in.

We'll cover more of this next quarter, as we explore the Q3 theme: Cultural Fluency.


3: Keeping risk off the menu at your banquet


Book Section: 19 Days of… Sushi!

Matt Weilert
Like any good chef will tell you, bringing a feast together takes the coordinated efforts of many people.

The preparation involved in a great meal (an 'event') can be a multiple of what it takes to actually assemble or prepare the food itself. We feature the cross-disciplinary nature of effective kitchen skills across our leadership resources:

19 Days to Business Intimacy cover, Skerja PressThe key difference is a math geek rhyme: where is the locus of the focus?

Does the menu at Y.O.U.R. café feature Activity or Results as Y.O.U.R. main course?

If we have our
eye on the why

bus[ i ]nesses face the blackhole of people confusing bus[ y ]ness with results, we can learn a lot from sorta-big data. Those currents and eddies in the ocean of numbers we swim through every day tell us as much about the culture of where we spend our time, as they tell the astute coastal mariner about the weather just over the horizon.
Scoping out to take the long view in this trans­form­a­tion of the way risk gets measured and managed, the sage Joseph Schum­peter has timeless advice for those who think that buying and installing a piece of software, no matter how complex or expensive, is their ticket to sail the sea of tranquility.

Sailboat in strong winds, 19 Days book previewThose who keep their ship on an even keel and know how to read the water, air and sky, know of a storms' approach before it even breaks the horizon. When one encounters a storm at sea – or on the prairie – there's no where to hide.

There's no way to avoid the "perennial gale of creative destruction" so old salts and those who learn from them, invest the resources – before there is any visible need to – because those who wait until they can see the storm, have planned to be lost at sea.

Inaction is a decision. …from 19 Days to Business Intimacy


4: Crossed Wires


What Numbers are YOU focused on?

Cover image for Blue Two™ series of business fables from Skerja press

Lisa Street
There are thousands of numbers recorded in a successful surgery. Each is part of the story of my life, my health and the technology that keeps me alive. Communication is vital to my life and to yours.

The wires between my pacemaker and heart are crossed. For one, there’s too many of them. Four, crowded and jumbled in my chest cavity and they’re not communicating properly. On Monday the 16th, the surgeon who implanted two, extracted and replaced one.

I have a congenital heart defect with full heart block requiring a pacemaker. I am in my early 40s and instead of keeping me from life as I’ve grown older, this defect and its seeming implications, have had the opposite effect. I am active, healthy, and happy. I work at it. Every day.

We are inundated with ads from fast food places juxtaposed with airbrushed models on magazine covers or walking the red carpet. We worry about our
  • » finances,
  • » jobs,
  • » looks,
and any number of mundane thoughts. And in this jumble of thoughts, worries, and visual bombardment, I reflect on a moment with a friend a few years ago.

She was shopping for wedding shoes and in her mind, she knew exactly what she wanted. She wanted white, sandal-like shoes to match her tea-length dress exactly. While it’s true, there are a number of shades of white, I also know it’s true, that shoes are not the highlight of a wedding.

My friend, growing increasingly frus­trated turned to me in desperation, “How are you so calm?” I replied, “Two reasons. I’ve been married before and I couldn’t tell you a thing about my shoes. I bought them on the way to the church at Payless. And two, I’m alive. Facing death tends to put things in perspective.”

Our wires get crossed sometimes, but with the right perspective, the right attitude, and the right people in our lives, we can reevaluate and move forward with purpose. The most important number in my life on the 16th was my heartbeat. What are you focused on?


5: Brand Refresher

Making Risk Social to Make You Safer SM

Tony Jameson


Our 5 Brands



Rock Eel Digital (R.E.D.)

helps people to untangle the web. While we're getting known for our distinctive mobile-friendly websites, la R.E.D. (the network in Castilian) is part of the Rock Eel Café, where equipping small to mid-size organizations to more effectively deliver their core message is always the main course!

Our Rock Eel Digital Marketplace features a full menu of communications solutions suited for solopreneurs (& small non-profits too!) 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. Sign-up below to get targeted, timely tips on:
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, giving you time to plan rather than react.

Red Sky Risk Suite powered by Systemkey is unrelated to the property inspection service operated by US Bank.


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.

By providing small and emerging growth firms with solutions that scale seamlessly into larger frameworks, we equip them to sidestep the ERP nightmares that are a bizarrely-accepted part of growth 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 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 supply chains and value-delivery circles,
as a part of a comprehensive solution suited just for your situation.


Systemkey Global

Organizations who qualify for STETA membership leverage 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 or­gan­iz­a­tion in and commit your key stakeholders to the STETA qualification pipeline to become certified Systemkey Risk Analysts.

Let Us Show You How to Equip Your HR to Blend High Tech & High Touch to Drive Sustainability & Profit

6: Wrapping up Q2's Number Fluency theme


Pick your free tools below

Matthew E. Weilert

Our Q2 editorial theme, Number Fluency, has covered Issues 6, 7, 8, 9 (this issue). The raw word count numbers themselves are sort of like George Carlin's partial baseball scores.


  • » Issue 8: 636
  • » Issue 7: 2201
  • » Issue 6: 2229

Issue 8 was much shorter because of our decision to focus on the Western China podcast interview by Dustin Mattison, with the Kinaxis Supply Chain Community.

3 Freebies in this issue!

Why? Because we like you!

[It has just come to our attention that Youtube has started inserting politically-charged advertisements at the beginning of selected videos. We radically disagree with this decision and disclaim any association with content that may appear in front of the linked video.]

Pick 1, 2 or all 3 number-crunching tools to celebrate the change of seasons, and closing of our 2nd Quarter theme: Number Fluency.

All are free through 30 June 6 July 2014, and constructive critique welcomed. Just click the button below to take you to the form; simply tick boxes for your choices and hit submit.


Time Tithe activity toolkit
Retail Value: $47 USD

How finely do you track your time? We asked a version of this question back in Perspectives II (5). If you aren't aware of how you spend your time, how can you invest wisely?

This spreadsheet template will "detangle the threads of your lives" if you will discipline yourself to run a time log for a few days. It automatically tallies your time-use per category, based on what you enter. Just click the button below, then check Time Tithe (& your other 2 choices) on the form and hit submit.


Beauty in a sky-full of numbers

One of the the most intriguing and data-intensive astronomical hobbies is tracking the course of the sun across the sky. The name for that course? Analemma. Outstanding animated analemma graphics plus a movie from:

Self-Scoring Risk Ranking Tool
Retail Value: $495 USD

STETA Group, the chamber of commerce for risk which I chair, focuses exclusively on equipping organizations to recognize and resolve residual risks.

If your needs can be met by a simple checklist (hint: they cannot, but that's a different discussion…), there are plenty of places to get a checklist for free, why would you hire a specialist recommended and endorsed by STETA?

This gift edition is focused on the healthcare industry, yet you can easily change the questions. It should be self-explanatory, but if you have questions, just reach out and someone will get you on the right track. (Value Comparison: See Solver's Excel-based products.) Just click the button below, then check Risk Tool (& your other 2 choices) on the form and hit submit.


Calculate Your Colors branding toolkit
Retail Value: $275 USD

Colors influence our lives in ways many of us never realize. Did you know that many cultures have colors assigned to specific days of the week? For a small firm, this might seem a lower priority. STETA was founded to become a global clearinghouse for best practices in transforming how risk is measured and managed.

As your brand grows, it's an advantage if people can readily identify your different product & service offerings by their uniform "trade dress" such as O'Reilly Press has with their 'Dover animal woodcut+cover colors.' This gift edition of the Calculate Your Colors™ branding toolkit includes a spreadsheet template to generate color combinations within the family you have chosen and an example slide deck to suggest how to establish an overall progression with colors across your brand(s).

As a special bonus, the first 50 people who sign up can get a free 20-min color-consult with an associate. Tick the box that says "Color Consult" when signing up for Calculate Your Colors™ (Note: Sign up for both the tool & consult together).

Time Tithe activity toolkit
Self-Scoring Risk Ranking Tool
Calculate Your Colors branding toolkit

Read 3 Freebies in this issue!

Receive your choice of free stuff mentioned above!
Reach out for Cross-Disciplinary Insights!
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