85 per cent

One of my favorite “Our World in Data” charts is the one that shows the massive shift in the cost of solar. It is already a no brainer to build a solar power plant in most parts of the world and we’re likely to see this get much cheaper as we make more investments (thanks to “learning curves“).

And it was nice to see this chart showing new electricity capacity additions. 15 years ago, ~70% of new capacity was fossil fuel based. In 2021, that number was 15%.

85% of the electricity capacity added globally came from renewable sources. That’s a mind-blowing shift in just 15 years. And solar’s share has grown a whopping 13x.

As global carbon emissions continue to be at record levels (have they begun to peak?), this shift can’t happen fast enough.

The key, as is always the case with the adoption of disruptive technology, will be cost. And it’ll be fascinating to see how much lower costs will go.

Regardless, 85% renewables is a big deal – it gives me hope we’ll get to 100% in the next 2-3 years. That’ll be an incredible milestone and a great reminder of the idea that we regularly underestimate the progress we can make over a decade.

A metric for our mental health

A metric that serves as a good proxy for our mental health – the median time it takes for us to get over a negative interaction.

The smaller the number, the better our mental health is likely to be.

In the immortal words of Princess Elsa – “Let it go.”

More often. And quicker.

The biggest execution challenge organizations face

I think the biggest execution challenge organizations face is a miscalibration across the organization on the sense of urgency required on a particular thing/topic.

Communication helps – the clearer leadership is about priorities, the better the situation will be. But it only solves 20% of the problem because priorities are dynamic.

It is why good leadership disproportionately impacts execution. Good leadership brings good judgment – and good judgment enables high quality decisions/responses to changes in the situation to ensure the right things have the right sense of urgency.

This is also why bad leadership is disastrous for execution. Not only does this mean teams don’t have the right sense of urgency on particular item, they’re often wasting energy by urgently moving on the wrong things.

Worries and celebrations

Don’t waste energy worrying about something before it happens. Best to use our energy to focus on a creative, constructive, and corrective response.

Don’t spend time celebrating something before it happens either. Best to use our energy to deal with what is instead of dealing with the disappointment of what could have been.

For a brief moment, I considered titling this post “note to self.” Then I remembered that the entire blog is a note to self. :-)

The quality of our questions

The quality of our life is directly proportional to the quality of the questions we ask.

Asking questions that point to judgment tend to degrade quality.

Asking questions that point to learning tend to improve quality.

And our ability to ask better questions to ourselves translates to our ability to ask better questions to others.

Change your questions, change your life*.

(H/T: Marilee Adams)

To be of use by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

Many lines and ideas in the poem resonated. It reminded me of the “the man in the arena” and of a virtue we hold dear – “Be constructive.” The focus on action and people that do vs. critique, the desire to contribute, the yearning for “work that is real” – so many powerful ideas eloquently put.

It resonated.

The timbres and variations

“‘You never listen’ is not just the complaint of a problematic relationship, it has become an epidemic in a world that is exchanging convenience for content, speed for meaning. The richness of life doesn’t lie in the loudness and the beat, but in the timbres and the variations that you can discern if you simply pay attention.” – Seth Horowitz

A lovely reminder to stop. And listen better.

Please get your act in better order

“You have given us too much to do. We’re not going to do a thing until you get your act in better order.” | Commander Gerald Carr on Apollo 13 after Mission Control sent far too many directions, corrections, and orders. The team went on to take a 12 hour break to simply recharge and reconnect.

The story made me chuckle. It also reminded me of 2 powerful ideas –

(1) Sometimes, the most effective thing we can do is to switch off, recharge, and reconnect.

(2) We have an obligation to our leaders to be upfront with them when they’re being consistently counter productive. The right time and place may not be during the heat of the moment – but our leaders can only improve if we’re willing to share feedback*.

*Note: If they’re the kind who don’t take to feedback, they’re bosses, not leaders.