Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Punnet Squares

Hello Everyone!

I know I've been away for a little while but I wanted to say thank you for all the get well emails and cards--you are all absolutely wonderful!!!

As we hit the holiday season and get ready to enter into a new year it's important that as businesswomen we continue to look forward to see what trends we need to get on board with and some that we need to jump off of before they hit the wall.

Abby Wilkerson with redpepper sent me a letter that I wanted to share with everyone. I think it's a wonderful way to remind us about not getting stuck in a rut and to continue to embrace and look for new improvements for our businesses and jobs.

Punnet Squares

I was in the sixth grade when we first began studying Punnet squares in science class. For those who have mercifully blocked out all memories of science class, Punnet squares are diagrams used by geneticists to determine the likelihood of an offspring having a particular gene by comparing the alleles of the two parents.

I never quite got the hang of Punnet squares. They seem deceptively simple, until you try to draw conclusions and ratios for acquiring green eyes (math is my other downfall – combining it with science was brutal). Luckily, Punnet squares were a very small portion of the test, so I never bothered really learning it. They reappeared almost every year after that, but again were a small portion of the test that I could make up for in the other sections. It took the fear of college biology before I sat down and figured them out.

Like me, organizations tend to believe that science is an option. It’s not. If you run ineffective ads, it doesn’t matter how you spin them – they don’t work. If your industry is changing because of a technological breakthrough, it doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in the breakthrough – it’s still there.

Kodak spent years ignoring the invention of the digital camera. The company ended up laying off 1/5 of its workforce, presumably because they believed that the digital camera wouldn’t catch on. I knew someone who refused to learn how to properly use a computer – she’d already learned to use a fax machine right before it went the way of the dodo bird. Why learn another skill that she was sure would be debunk?

Denying reality (and Punnet squares) rarely leads to a positive outcome.

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