About Frank E. Hutchison

A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.

Five Questions to Ask

Recently, my business partner (and daughter), Meredith, was describing the products she saw at a craft trade show.  There were many wonderful products that she was excited about but, at the same time, there were products that left you scratching your head because they were neither innovative (the theme […]

Tactical Thinking vs. Strategic Thinking

Last week I wrote about the need to look ahead.  Today, I thought I would amplify my thoughts considering recent news reports without mentioning the specific actions but looking at the difference between tactical thinking and strategic thinking.

Tactical thinking is focused on the here and now or what’s close.  […]

Look Ahead

My wife and I go through a ritual most days – I’ll ask her sometime in the morning or early afternoon if she has given any thought to what to have for dinner and does she want me to get something out of the freezer?  Invariably, she’ll say no, […]

Looking Like a Professional

I’ve been an adjunct professor for most of this century, teaching graduate students quality and operations management as well as entrepreneurship.  Now, mind you, these were GRADUATE students.  For the most part, they had experience in the workplace after college.

And yet, they weren’t professionals.  By that, I mean they […]

Completed Staff Work

When I was supporting the Air Force in Washington, DC, I quickly learned a phrase that I hadn’t heard before but it represented a concept I was very familiar with – Completed Staff Work.  Completed Staff Work meant that you did everything so the only thing a colonel or […]

Close Enough

There was a saying that was used when I was in the Navy, particularly among the nuclear navy personnel, that emphasized doing a job well without going overboard, “Close enough for government work.”  The saying originated from federal contractors being able to sell the government shoddy material because inspectors […]

SMARTLY Goals

Have you written your 2017 resolutions yet?  If you have, then you’ve surely made them SMART, haven’t you?

SMART is the acronym for

Specific

Measurable

Actionable

Relevant

Time-based

SMART is the basis for supposedly good goals because it keep you from creating pie-in-the-sky goals that have little basis in real life.

But I have a problem with […]

2016 in Review

It’s the end of the year and it’s a common feeling to feel that the year wasn’t a good one – we didn’t accomplish much – we’re no better off than we were at the beginning of the year.  It isn’t true but the little devil sitting on our […]

2016 Holiday Season

“Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,” cried the phantom, “not to know, that ages of incessant labour, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little […]

Lessons Learned From Infamy

December 7, 2016 is the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the Hawaiian Islands.  There are newspaper inserts and TV specials as well as countless articles and speeches retelling the stories and pointing out the lessons that were learned.  Usually, the lessons can be summed up as “we […]

Planning is Important – But NOT for the Reason You Think

We are always planning – it’s fun and we get to focus on the future where everything is possible.  And Americans are forward-looking people.  We rarely focus on the past except to provide a guide to the future.

But planning in America is usually a terrible process – in fact, […]

What Samsung can learn from Chicago-Strength Tylenol*

In September 1982, the world was shocked at the cyanide deaths of seven people in the Chicago area.  It was soon followed with the discovery that Tylenol was the common link.  Johnson & Johnson mounted a total recall of Tylenol, halted production and distribution of the product and broadcast […]

Where We Get Ideas – And Make Them Our Own

The artist Picasso once said – “Good artists imitate, great artists steal.”  It’s a statement I’ve repeated many times to clients and others because it illustrates an important concept of where we get ideas.  After all, “There’s nothing new since the Greeks” is a very old proverb.

Of course, there […]

Doing Good in Small Steps

I recently received a letter from the President/CEO of the Inland Northwest Blood Center thanking me for reaching the milestone of 12 gallons of blood donated.  According to the INBC’s calculation, that means that I’ve helped 286 people based on 3 people helped per pint.  If you can donate, […]

You’re Goin’ to Lose – with Harrassment

I still remember the day in 1978 when every male staff member was ordered to the auditorium at the US Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando, FL.  None knew why but the order was specific – every male staff member NOW.

After we all assembled, we came to attention when […]

Learning Priorities

I’ve been reevaluating the activities I have been performing in light of my wife’s stroke.  It’s been just over two months since she woke up and saw two ceiling fans – we have only one in our bedroom.  Fortunately, it was a small stroke and she’s expected to make […]

Keeping Trust with Your Customers

While meeting with a client recently, I was told a story about ordering a bike from Renovo Hardwood Bicycles.  Apparently, her husband is a cycling enthusiast and when he saw the Renovo wooden bikes he had to have one.  So an order was placed immediately with 50% down – […]

Required for Success: Self-Learning

I can tell you the exact moment I realized that I was responsible for my learning.  I was sitting in Differential Equations class and I was bored.  I was bored because I had the class down pat.  I had the professor for two previous physics classes, Atomic and Nuclear […]

Hillary’s Suit and Meredith’s Hair – Dealing with Biases

I was listening to my local radio morning show last week when the discussion got to the clothes that Hillary Clinton wears.  The consensus was that she dresses horribly – she’s a multimillionaire and could afford better clothes so why does she wear dumpy pant suits?  This brought to […]

Ethics in the Workplace

The subject of ethics in the workplace always create conflicting emotions in me.  There’s the sterile “Here’s the rules that you should always follow” mode – a product of countless ethics training sessions while in the Navy, as a government contractor, and later as a government employee – and […]