440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700

October 23, 1999

03 00050 61 99102302

Mr. Morris E. Jones
Business Unit Manager
Cable Network Operation
Intel Corporation
350 East Plumeria; Mail Stop CHP3-105
San Jose, CA 95124

Subject:   Gutenberg, Shakespear, Grove

Dear Morris,

Thanks for taking time today to review analysis of medical mistakes, which addresses the larger problem of mental mistakes caused by meaning drift that is compounded by information overload.

You noted that everyone is aware of information overload. What is overlooked, however, is that information, which is not aligned with objectives, requirements and history, i.e., "context," increases complexity exponentially. Mental errors then multiply, but they are hidden from the conscious mind, which, as Grove notes, is "...awfully forgiving of ambiguity." This growing threat of hidden mistakes, caused by expanding information overload, is the target of opportunity for proactive risk management that adds "metrics" to communication for maintaining alignment. That's a fairly simple explanation in about 25 words, which you requested.

Now that we have gone through the letter once and identified an insidious threat, meaning drift, a more careful read, and consultation among colleagues, is warranted for exploiting this emerging opportunity. Grove, Deming, Hammer, Covey, Drucker, General Hatch, anyone who has looked at the role of leadership, would recommend learning about the threat and the opportunity.

Following our call this evening, I created more links to Grove's book on the benefit of writing copious notes to avoid ambiguity of mental maps. Obviosly, not many people can write copious notes for very long. Leadership, however, does more than call for diligence and then go to the next meeting or hop on a plane. Process and tools must be investigated for ways to get the job done regardless of diligence. That's how accounting, engineering, marketing came into being. All of these tasks were once done by the boss. The work load got to the point that caused skills and tools to emerge for dedicated professional support. Today, the challenge of maintaining alignment in communication is overwhelming the boss, and everyone else. Diligence, alone, cannot solve meaning drift, because the problem is hidden from the mind's eye. Therefore, we have formulated new tools and skills to do the job.

Grove's call for strong leadership, discussed this evening, can extend the legacy of Gutenberg for improving alphabet technology. And, thanks to Gutenberg, Shakespear's wise counsel endures: crafting and preserving context (also called "knowledge," "understanding," and "intelligence") is better protection against misfortune and ill designs, than are ignorance, fear and denial. Now, it is our turn to build on a rich heritage that positions Intel to give intelligence another big boost, so that, like Gutenberg and Shakespear, the bounty of life is multiplied for all again and again for ages to come.



Rod Welch