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jerryking : ambiguities   12

Dyson and the art of making quick decisions
October 16, 2019 | Financial Times | by John Gapper.

Article is arguing for enforcing a “shot clock” on lingering decisions and to put plans into action faster and regain competitive footing in your industry/business.

Entrepreneur, James Dyson, unceremoniously abandoned a Dyson initiative to build an electric car.  It demonstrated how unsentimental he was about unsuccessful experiments.....Better to acknowledge defeat as early as possible rather than after having thrown away hundreds of millions...For any business to thrive, difficult decisions need to be made, from new projects to corporate strategy. “The job of the CEO, everyone knows, is to make decisions,” wrote Ram Charan, a veteran strategy adviser. This is especially true when entire industries are facing disruption to their business models......Indecision is common in companies facing myriad possibilities, when executives are struggling to assess alternatives for future strategy. Many managers become frustrated by the glacial pace of corporate decision-making. McKinsey, the consultancy, surveyed executives who complained of “over-reliance on consensus and death by committee”, among other irritations....It is not always the chief executive’s fault. Some managers are comfortable with making simple decisions but struggle when they are promoted to a level where they are exposed to ambiguity and uncertainty. They need to employ their judgment, rather than consulting the data like an oracle. Their indecision can also infect the CEO. But your business is not a democracy....Some executives promote a “five second rule” to prompt executives who report to them to reach decisions (i.e. summarise the alternatives and options for any strategy, pause and pick one).....Being forced to use intuition after considering the evidence helps to avoid being paralysed by a question when there is no easy answer......Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, observed that “managers think of themselves as captains of a ship on a stormy sea” who respond skilfully to the elements around them. It feels better to pick a destination and sail in that direction than to wallow around.....But Prof Kahneman won his economics Nobel for research on the cognitive biases that affect human choices. Making quick decisions, even informed by experience and expertise, is valuable but not foolproof. As he noted, “intuition feels just the same when it’s wrong and when it’s right, that’s the problem.”....Those who consider a challenge from all angles and act prudently and decisively may still be wrong. “Even highly experienced, superbly competent and well-intentioned managers are fallible,” Prof Kahneman wrote. Among the traps is the “halo effect” of believing that an executive who has succeeded before will make any project work. It follows that leaders should not be trapped by their decisions, or the confirmation bias of believing that the chosen path must be correct...... It is difficult when a leader place the entire company on another course, only to discover the pitfalls. It may take a successor to come along and reverse those choices. But decisions will at least prove right some of the time; indecision is always mistaken.
ambiguities  analysis_paralysis  CEOs  clock_speed  confirmation_bias  decision_making  Daniel_Kahneman  Dyson  halo_effects  hard_choices  HBR  humility  indecision  intuition  leaders  James_Dyson  judgment  mistakes  Ram_Charan  shot_clock  speed  tough-mindedness  uncertainty  unsentimental 
october 2019 by jerryking
Feeling uncertain, CEO? Better go on the attack - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, May. 05 2015

Taking control of uncertainty is the fundamental leadership challenge of our time … ” he writes in The Attacker’s Advantage. “The advantage now goes to those who create change, not just learn to live with it. Instead of waiting and reacting, such leaders immerse themselves in the ambiguities of the external environment, sort through them before things are settled and known, set a path, and steer the organization decisively onto it.”
Harvey_Schachter  Ram_Charan  uncertainty  algorithms  mathematics  data  management_consulting  anomalies  change  Jack_Welch  books  gurus  offense  data_driven  leadership  ambiguities  offensive_tactics 
may 2015 by jerryking
Red-Hot Skill: Managing in Gray Areas - WSJ - WSJ
By JOANN S. LUBLIN
Nov. 4, 2014

At a turbulent time in business, more U.S. companies pick and promote executives who thrive amid ambiguity, coaches and recruiters say. These leaders don’t flinch at uncertainty, surprises, conflicting directions, multiple demands—or knotty problems with no clear answers.
Managing_Your_Career  Joann_S._Lublin  uncertainty  red-hot  adversity  surprises  critical_thinking  managing_change  ambiguities  turbulence 
november 2014 by jerryking
How to develop the mind of a strategist Part 1 of 3 - Google Drive
Apr/May 2001|Communication World. Vol. 18,Iss.3; pg. 13, 3 pgs.| by James E Lukaszewski.

Management wants and needs:

Valuable, useful, applicable advice beyond what the boss already knows

Well-timed, truly significant insights (insight is the ability to
distill wisdom and useful conclusions from contrasting, even seemingly
unrelated, information and facts)

Advance warning, plus options for solving, or at least managing, trouble
or opportunity, and the unintended consequences both often bring

Someone who understands the pattern of events and problems

Supporting evidence through the behavior of their peers

To be strategic, ideas must pass four tough tests: They must help the
boss achieve his/her objectives and goals. They must help the
organization achieve its goals. They must be truly necessary (and pass
the straight face and laugh tests). Without acting on the strategy recommended, some aspect of the business will fail or fail to progress.
strategic_thinking  strategy  public_relations  Communicating_&_Connecting  generating_strategic_options  indispensable  JCK  howto  endgame  wisdom  insights  warning_signs  ambiguities  advice  job_opportunities  job_search  actionable_information  pattern_recognition 
september 2013 by jerryking
Making Sense of Ambiguous Evidence
September 2008 | HBR | A Conversation with Documentary Filmmaker Errol Morris.

The information that top managers receive is rarely unfiltered. Unpopular opinions are censored. Partisan views are veiled as objective arguments. Honest mistakes are made. The manager is then left to sort it all out and come to a wise conclusion.

Few people know how to get an accurate read on a situation like documentarian Errol Morris. He is the award-winning director of such films as The Thin Blue Line and this year’s Standard Operating Procedure, an exploration of the elusive truth behind the infamous photographs taken at Abu Ghraib prison. The Guardian has ranked him among the world’s top 10 directors, crediting him with “a forensic mind” and “a painter’s eye.”

In this article, Morris talks with HBR’s Lisa Burrell about how he sorts through ambiguous evidence and contradictory views to arrive at the real story. “I don’t believe in the postmodern notion that there are different kinds of truth,” he says. “There is one objective reality, period.” Getting to it requires keeping your mind open to all kinds of evidence—not just the parts that fit with your first impressions or developing opinions—and, often, far more investigation than one would think.

If finding the truth is a matter of perseverance, convincing people of it is something of an art, one with which Morris has had much experience not only as a documentarian but also as a highly sought-after director of TV ads for companies like Apple, Citibank, Adidas, and Toyota. He holds up John Kerry’s 2004 bid for the U.S. presidency as a cautionary tale: Kerry struck voters as inauthentic when he emphasized only his military service and failed to account for his subsequent war protest. Morris would have liked to interview him speaking in his own words—natural, unscripted material—so that his humanity, which seemed to get lost in the campaign, could emerge.
anecdotal  HBR  executive_management  CEOs  contradictions  information  information_flows  evidence_based  objective_reality  information_gaps  authenticity  sense-making  ambiguities  uncertainty  persuasion  forensics  postmodern  filmmakers  documentaries  judgment  cautionary_tales 
august 2012 by jerryking
An Engineer's Blueprints For Writing.
April 13, 2012 | WSJ | By NICK ARVIN.

At root, both engineering and writing are disciplines of combining small things (pieces of steel, or words) to assemble a larger, more pleasing and useful thing (a cruise ship, or "Moby-Dick"). And many of the skills that one learns for engineering a machine carry over into engineering a tale. Here are three.

Steal.
Simplify.
Attend to ambiguity....In engineering, ambiguity is our adversary, because the consequences of uncertainty can be, literally, devastating.

The writer has this attitude too. Language is inherently ambiguous, subject to variables of interpretation...It takes only one confusing sentence to lose a reader's trust forever, so the writer labors through revision after revision, pinning the words ever more precisely.

And yet, at heart, engineers and writers diverge in their attitudes toward ambiguity. A writer works to reduce ambiguity at the sentence level, but he also knows that moral ambiguities lie at the heart of compelling drama and conflict. So the writer will seek out and enlarge these in ways that an engineer never would.
engineering  writing  drama  ambiguities  think_threes  simplicity  blueprints  clarity  words  wordsmiths  brevity  concision 
april 2012 by jerryking
The 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers
Mar 20, 2012 | | Inc.com | Paul J. H. Schoemaker.
Adaptive strategic leaders--the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment--do six things well:

1. Anticipate. Hone your “peripheral vision.” Reduce vulnerabilities to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. ... Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better
2. Think Critically. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill, you must force yourself to reframe problems to get to the bottom of things, in terms of root causes. Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including your own Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions.
3. Interpret. Ambiguity is unsettling. Faced with it, you are tempted to reach for a fast (potentially wrongheaded) solution. A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint. To get good at this, you have to:Seek patterns in multiple sources of data; Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously.
4. Decide. Many leaders fall prey to “analysis paralysis.” Develop processes and enforce them, so that you arrive at a “good enough” position. To do that well, you have to: Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter, Balance speed, rigor, quality, and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers. Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views
5. Align. Consensus is rare. Foster open dialogue, build trust, and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge. To pull that off, you need to: Understand what drives other people's agendas, including what remains hidden. Bring tough issues to the surface, even when it's uncomfortable
Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support
6. Learn.

As your company grows, honest feedback is harder and harder to come by. You have to do what you can to keep it coming.
Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons
Shift course quickly if you realize you're off track
Celebrate both successes and (well-intentioned) failures that provide insight
Do you have what it takes?
tips  leadership  habits  strategic_thinking  anticipating  critical_thinking  networks  biases  conventional_wisdom  decision_making  empathy  feedback  thinking  failure  lessons_learned  leaders  interpretation  ambiguities  root_cause  insights  paralyze  peripheral_vision  analysis_paralysis  reframing  course_correction  vulnerabilities  good_enough  debriefs  post-mortems  problem_framing  discomforts  wide-framing  outward_looking  assumptions  game_changers 
march 2012 by jerryking
Tough-mindedness - Gabor's Positive Thoughts
William James, a great teacher of psychology & philosophy
at Harvard during the early yrs. of the 20th century, made the useful
distinction between being tough-minded vs. tender-minded. The terms have
nothing to do with levels of ethical conduct; the toughness referred to
is toughness of the intellectual apparatus, toughness of the spirit,
not toughness of the heart. It is the attitude & the qualities &
the training that enable one to seize on facts & make these facts a
basis for intelligent, courageous action. The tough-minded have a zest
for tackling hard problems. They dare to grapple with the unfamiliar
& wrest useful truth from stubborn new facts. They are not dismayed
by change. Above all, the tough-minded do not wall themselves in
comfortable illusions. They do not rely on the easy precepts of
tradition or on mere conformity to regulations. They know that the
answers are not in the book.
tough_love  tough-mindedness  attitudes  conformity  mindsets  decision_making  ambiguities  change  illusions  arduous 
april 2011 by jerryking
Why Less Brilliant Presidents Do Better - The Informed Reader - WSJ
Jun 18, 2007 | WSJ | Robin Moroney. Extreme intelligence might
undermine a person’s managerial capacity, he speculates. “What is
required at the top levels of govt. is not brilliance, but managerial
skill,” says Posner. That includes knowing “when to defer to the
superior knowledge of a more experienced but less mentally agile
subordinate.” Especially intelligent people also have difficulty
trusting the intuitions of less-articulate people who have more
experience than they do. That might be why many smart senior officials
in govt. have tried to reason their way through problems on their own,
assuming their civil servants’ inadequate explanations rendered their
judgments invalid. Furthermore, many of the situations that presidents
face are defined by uncertainty, rather than complexity. In cases e.g.
Vietnam, where presidents and their inner circle were dealing with an
ambiguous situation, “having great information-processing skills is not
worth a lot if you have no reliable info..”
ambiguities  civil_servants  complexity  execution  experience  Gary_Becker  gut_feelings  intuition  IQ  mental_dexterity  Richard_A._Posner  smart_people  uncertainty  White_House 
october 2010 by jerryking
Seth Godin on What it Takes to be a Linchpin [INTERVIEW]
Feb. 14, 2010 | Mashable | Interview of Seth Godin by Steve
Cunningham is the CEO of Polar Unlimited, a digital marketing agency.
In his book — Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? — Seth Godin poses a
challenge: Take your gift, whatever it is, and use it to change the
world. As Godin says, “a linchpin is the essential element, the person
who holds part of the operation together. Without the linchpin, the
thing falls apart.” "If I told you, step-by-step, what to do to become
indispensable, then anyone could do it. And if anyone could do it, it
wouldn’t be worth very much. Scarcity creates value. And, this is going
to frustrate people, but the emotional labor of work, today — the thing
that makes you worth $50,000 or $100,000 or $150,000 a year — is that
you can navigate the world without a map. People who need a map, are
going to get paid less and less and work harder and harder every day,
because there’s plenty of those people, and I can find them with a click
of the mouse."
Seth_Godin  indispensable  howto  entrepreneur  inspiration  scarcity  interviews  proprietary  sense-making  ambiguities  uncertainty  navigation  non-routine  uncharted_problems 
february 2010 by jerryking

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