Saturday, July 07, 2007

80 percent of success

Business has spent months reflecting on how to move quickly. A few books like "Our Iceberg Is Melting" have started thousands of executives thinking about doing something unique.

So I took a perverse interest in taking a break from such business reading for "Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up." Maybe I'm not so clever after all. Why not look for advice on transformative change from an improv coach?

Stanford drama prof Patricia Ryan Madson in fact shares some ideas with the "Getting Things Done" brand of productivity advisers. For instance, begin with what seems obvious and once it is under way any task seems smaller.

By "don't prepare," Madson actually is saying to pay attention to the issue at hand rather than plotting your response. Which, if reports on global warming are correct, is what the penguins would do.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

All the children are above average

The first look at standardized test results are out, and 64.8 percent of Illinois Scholastic Aptitude Tests at Andersen School this year had passing grades, vs. 64.1 percent citywide.

That was 269th out of the 527 schools for which the city posted composite scores. Not high enough to rate boasts in the real estate ads, but much better than the 31.2 percent just four years ago.

Like many schools, science grades slipped while math improved strongly (70.8 percent passed).

Composite scores nearby include 67.0 percent at Peabody, 71.5 percent at Sabin, 72.7 percent at Burr and 78.7 percent at Pritzker.