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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Don’t worry, big government is here to protect you

June 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Weekend reflection process

April 6, 2013 Leave a comment

a depiction of Sun Wukong wielding his staff

a depiction of Sun Wukong wielding his staff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RJ: the asker of great questions, asked:

Hi Ken,
Do you have anything written on a weekend review process for a trading journal and trade chart markups?
Double loop learning requires review of work but I don’t have a well-defined process for weekend reviews.
I searched the chatroom and your essays but either didn’t use the right search terms or just didn’t find anything written.
Could you recommend some reading or anything else so I can develop an effective weekend process?
Thank you.
RJ

I replied: Try this on: this is what i find myself doing, over and over until someday I get it right:

0. Center ourselves on who we are and feel gratitude for the gift of life and consciousness to reflect on the wonder that is our Self and the world around us
1. Accept who we are and our desire to improve
2. Review what we aim to know, to do, to be (review goals and objectives)
3. Review the facts about what was done, including detailed performance stats as part of our ongoing study
4. Observe the slope of the trendlines and the volatility of our performance (all our trades and all our actions and all our feelings)
5. Review the forms and checklists to ensure discipline was performed; what did we overlook, where did we take shortcuts, and why?
6. Look for moments arising from the facts that seem to be important, trusting in our intuitions to nominate reflections
7. Follow the trails of reflection, connected to facts
8. Identify the A HA! moments
9. Conduct the 4 part learning journal exercise (A Ha moment, Reflection, Commitment to action, Results)
10. Commit our spirit and self to the next cycle of the wheel of improvement which continues to turn

this is what happens when i start writing after reading from the book of tales of Sun Wukong (The Monkey King)

Approaching trading as a High Reliability Organization (HRO)

March 19, 2013 1 comment

Logo of the United States National Wildfire Co...

Logo of the United States National Wildfire Coordinating Group. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We know from scholarly and popular literature that 90% of new businesses fail in the first five years as an additional 90% fill in the next five years and yet there are groups of organizations that are remarkably successful while operating the most difficult of circumstances when you would expect failure to be the norm. These organizations which thrive in high risk, high uncertainty environments in which failure is catastrophic are collectively known as high reliability organizations (HRO). Scholars have taken a number of different approaches to the subject of HR role in the literature. They have approached it from the disciplines as diverse as: neuropsychology, civil engineering, organizational psychology, sociology, naval aviation and nuclear propulsion.

My own research on decision-making under conditions of uncertainty led me to the scholarly literature on high reliability organizations(HRO) through the approach of social psychology where the two most influential writers are Weick and Sutcliffe from the University of Michigan. They had identified five qualities of HR role that lead to exceptional outperformance and the development of organizational resiliency. Resiliency is an important topic for traders because it describes strategies and resources that help the trader endure through emotionally challenging and training times. Because traders operate under high stress and uncertain conditions all the time, it occurred to me that perhaps the principles of HRO might have some pay off for traders. I was happy to find the important connections that can be of benefit to traders in developing  robust trading plans and emotional resilience.

Weick and Sutcliffe identify five qualities of HRO’s which distinguish them from traditional organizations which traders might seek to develop in their own trading plans:

1) Preoccupation with failure: To avoid failure we must look for it and be sensitive to early signs of failure; not to lay blame but to ensure the plan does not further unravel

2) Reluctance to simplify: Labels and clichés can stop one from looking further into the events; consider the evidence for your beliefs carefully and don’t oversimplify.

3) Sensitivity to operations: Systems  by nature are dynamic and nonlinear; it can be hard to know how the different pieces fit together and how quickly things may change.

4) Commitment to resilience: you must be able to perform during periods of high stress. This means you have to be able to absorb strain,, recover from difficult situations, and then learn and grow from previous episodes.

5) Deference to expertise: This means respecting the evidence of the results and having confidence in the quality of your justified conclusions. These are more important than platitudes and conventional wisdom.

Firefighters are an example of an HRO  in practice that traders can learn a lot from. The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) has developed a set of 10 Standard  Fire Orders, which are a logically organized set of rules that have been keeping  firefighters alive and successful in their mission since 1957. They are to be implemented systematically and applied to all fire situations.  They also have identified 18 watch out situations that represent known conditions of especially high risk. These apply equally well to traders as I tried to show below.

Professional Trader Behavior (adapted from the NWCG: http://www.nifc.gov/safety/safety_10ord_18sit.html)

1. Keep informed on market conditions and forecasts.

2. Know what your market and target are doing at all times.

3. Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the market and target.

Market Safety

4. Identify escape routes and safety zones and make them known.

5. Post lookouts when there is possible danger.

6. Be alert. Keep calm. Think clearly. Act decisively.

Organizational Control

7. Maintain prompt communications with your brokers, partners in the market.

8. Give clear instructions and insure they are understood.

9. Maintain control of your trades, orders and decisions at all times.

If 1-9 are considered, then…

10. Trade the market aggressively, having provided for safety first.

The 10 Standard Orders are firm. We don’t break them; we don’t bend them. All traders have the right to a safe environment is.

The 18 Watch Out Situations

1. The market and your target not scouted and sized up.

2. You haven’t planned for or rehearsed this situation.

3. Safety zones and escape routes (protective stops) not identified.

4. Unfamiliar with market and sector factors influencing price behavior

5. Uninformed on strategy, tactics, and hazards.

6. Instructions and assignments not clear.

7. No communication link between traders, brokers and partners

8. Entering trades without predetermined exit points

9. Trading without stops.

10. Chasing a runaway breakout

11. Not being aware of critical states

12. Unaware of broader market condition.

13. Unaware of potential market turning points

14. Price range begins to expand in short term time frame.

15. Change in broad market volatility.

16. Ignoring signals of changing market conditions.

17. Difficult to judge where to play safety stop.

18. Feelings of physical, mental or emotional fatigue.

Note that these are just my own quick interpretations; yours might vary. The exercise in translating from firefighter perspective to that of a trader is definitely worth doing on your own as well. Give it a try!

Dr Kenneth Ginsburg on resilience

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

just listened to a brilliant and human presentation on resilience and children by Dr Kenneth Ginsburg, and what we can do to help them weather life storms, deliberately and intentionally.  Directly connects how I go about coaching my youth soccer teams, using athletics as the vehicle for important life lessons. his work is definitely worth your time

the engineering approach to problem solving

September 5, 2012 Leave a comment

The hybrid approach you referred to I think reflects the sense of the sociotechnical process. I can’t imagine why people and organizations would not intentionally adopt that as the default position when considering organizational issues, and yet I see people polarizing around either or approach all time in my organization.

It seems to me that the engineering approach really appeals to people who think they have a good handle on the situational assumptions in the problem area he can rely on rules of cause and effect and planning factors lead them to a efficient and effective solution. The simplifying assumption that sociology doesn’t have a major effect and what they’re about to do can sometimes be warranted but is often the assumption that we come to regret later.

Digital workspaces and the atomization of human communication

September 5, 2012 Leave a comment

If we are social animals, and workplace networking and interaction is an important part of our psychological well-being, what are the implications of an increasingly telecommuting workforce?

It’s a well-known phenomenon that people are mean to each other over the Internet in their blogs and discussion board comments. E-mail is well known for being misinterpreted. People are well known for sending e-mails with words they would never say face-to-face.

Doesn’t that add up to an atomization of social interaction with with important negative potential consequences?

What kinds of policies could that drive organizations to develop with respect to official communications? Especially when people have a hard time distinguishing between personal and professional use of IT resources? Don’t these very policies serve as a source of irritation between the people and their organization?

And in different cultural norms across global communities and you can see some of the challenges of creating a digital workspace to take advantage of IT

George Lopez staying classy

July 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Free speech is free. You get to judge it’s value. In the interest of fair play and equal opportunity, Lopex will turn his attention to the “authenticity” of  Obama’s  heritage, I guess, or whatever the point of his riff was.

In the same interest of transparency, democratic pundits are calling for Barack’s birth certificate, and college records just like they are calling fr Romney’s tax records and SEC filings