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jerryking : assumptions   27

What meeting Bernie Madoff taught me about our inability to read others
October 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Gillian Tett.

Books:
Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell.
The Human Swarm, by Mark Moffett.

Malcolm Gladwell, the writer, earned fame — and fortune — by producing books such as The Tipping Point (2000) that popularised human psychology. In his new study, Talking to Strangers, he looks at our propensity to misread other people. It is an increasingly pressing question for our polarised, fake-news era.

How should we interpret the signals we receive from others? This matters when it comes to detecting fraud, of course......It also matters in other ways. Today more than ever, we all suffer if we misread the signals we receive from different social groups. It is human nature to assume our own culture is the definition of “normal”, and to use this lens when we view others.....even traits that we assume are ­“universal”, such as [jck: visual cues] facial expressions, can vary hugely between cultures — and, of course, within societies that speak the same language.

Gladwell describes, for example, how social interactions between black and white communities in America are regularly marred by misunderstandings, with tragic consequences. “[This] is what happens when a society does not know how to talk to strangers,” he concludes.......Moffett then advances two broader points. First, he argues that humans (like ants) need a sense of tribal identity and belonging, with specialisations clearly defined; but, second, he insists that the way humans develop this tribal identity is crucially different from other animals.

Among some species, such as chimpanzees, trust only emerges through face-to-face contact between individuals in small groups; in others, creatures only co-operate if they can be instantly identified as coming from the same species. Ants kill anything that smells different.....what is amazing about humans – albeit rarely celebrated – is how we generally tolerate outsiders ­without instantly needing to kill them.

“Being comfortable around unfamiliar members of our society gave humans advantages from the get-go and made nations possible,” Moffett writes. “Chimpanzees need to know everybody [to ­tolerate them]. Ants need to know nobody. Humans only need to know somebody [for society to function.]” This achievement deserves far more attention, since it only works in two conditions. First, humans must feel secure in their own group (which they signal with symbols and rituals); second, “strangers” can only be smoothly absorbed if everyone learns to read different symbols too....If we want to “talk to strangers”, we need to teach our kids (and ourselves) to try to look at the world through strangers’ eyes – even if we must also recognise that we will never truly succeed.
assumptions  Bernard_Madoff  books  character_traits  cultural_identity  deception  Gillian_Tett  misinterpretations  psychopaths  signals  strangers  tribes  group_identity  lying  Malcolm_Gladwell  misjudgement  psychology  trustworthiness  visual_cues  writers 
october 2019 by jerryking
The Dying Art of Disagreement
SEPT. 24, 2017 | The New York Times | Bret Stephens.

The title of my talk tonight is “The Dying Art of Disagreement.”.......But to say, I disagree; I refuse; you’re wrong; etiam si omnes — ego non — these are the words that define our individuality, give us our freedom, enjoin our tolerance, enlarge our perspectives, seize our attention, energize our progress, make our democracies real, and give hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere. Galileo and Darwin; Mandela, Havel, and Liu Xiaobo; Rosa Parks and Natan Sharansky — such are the ranks of those who disagree......The polarization is geographic.......The polarization is personal........Finally the polarization is electronic and digital, .......What we did was read books that raised serious questions about the human condition, and which invited us to attempt to ask serious questions of our own. Education, in this sense, wasn’t a “teaching” with any fixed lesson. It was an exercise in interrogation.

To listen and understand; to question and disagree; to treat no proposition as sacred and no objection as impious; to be willing to entertain unpopular ideas and cultivate the habits of an open mind ....uChicago showed us something else: that every great idea is really just a spectacular disagreement with some other great idea....to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say........there’s such a thing as private ownership in the public interest, and of fiduciary duties not only to shareholders but also to citizens. Journalism is not just any other business, like trucking or food services. .....But no country can have good government, or a healthy public square, without high-quality journalism — journalism that can distinguish a fact from a belief and again from an opinion; that understands that the purpose of opinion isn’t to depart from facts but to use them as a bridge to a larger idea called “truth”; and that appreciates that truth is a large enough destination that, like Manhattan, it can be reached by many bridges of radically different designs. In other words, journalism that is grounded in facts while abounding in disagreements.

I believe it is still possible — and all the more necessary — for journalism to perform these functions, especially as the other institutions that were meant to do so have fallen short. But that requires proprietors and publishers who understand that their role ought not to be to push a party line, or be a slave to Google hits and Facebook ads, or provide a titillating kind of news entertainment, or help out a president or prime minister who they favor or who’s in trouble.

Their role is to clarify the terms of debate by championing aggressive and objective news reporting, and improve the quality of debate with commentary that opens minds and challenges assumptions rather than merely confirming them.

This is journalism in defense of liberalism, not liberal in the left-wing American or right-wing Australian sense, but liberal in its belief that the individual is more than just an identity, and that free men and women do not need to be protected from discomfiting ideas and unpopular arguments. More than ever, they need to be exposed to them, so that we may revive the arts of disagreement that are the best foundation of intelligent democratic life.
assumptions  Bret_Stephens  civics  Colleges_&_Universities  courage  critical_thinking  dangerous_ideas  demagoguery  difficult_conversations  disagreements  discomforts  dissension  dual-consciousness  free_speech  good_governance  high-quality  identity_politics  journalism  liberalism  open_mind  polarization  the_human_condition  uChicago 
september 2017 by jerryking
Four qualities the wealthy look for when seeking out advisers - The Globe and Mail
| SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL | ANDREW MARSH, Andrew Marsh is president and chief executive officer of independent wealth-management firm Richardson GMP Ltd.

6 HOURS AGO

They look for these four essential qualities in their advisers – and you should, too:

Ability to challenge assumptions

There's a common misconception that wealthy people seek out "yes men" who simply agree with their opinions. Not in my experience. HNW investors value professionals who challenge assumptions and push back (hard) on long-held client beliefs – someone who isn't afraid to ask pointed, difficult questions about risk.

This kind of valued, trusted, sometimes contrary second opinion is a big reason why HNW investors work with professionals in the first place.

Belief in 'road maps'

Risk is often a reactive experience: It becomes an issue only when "stuff happens." That's not the way HNW investors think about it.

Instead, they're looking for advisers who can create a "risk road map" that anticipates the "stuff" that might come up, and outlines an appropriate asset allocation. The ultimate goal is to optimize the portfolio and align it with the risk needed to achieve specific financial goals – why aim for 12-per-cent returns if 7 per cent is all you need?

A 'wise counsellor'

Financial planner, portfolio manager, coach, confidant – advisers take on many roles with their clients. But the one that matters most to HNW individuals is that of counsellor: the calm voice of reason in times of uncertainty.

The best advisers I know have an extraordinary ability to be the "cool hand" when market noise is at its peak. They talk clients through anxieties and worries, and hold clients to long-term plans when the temptation to deviate arises (such as right now).

Understands the limits

Finally, great advisers understand their clients' risk limits. They ask clients difficult questions about risk tolerance, and they probe clients constantly to understand the boundaries of their financial comfort.

Great advisers work hard to ensure the advice they're giving to clients aligns with the information they're getting from clients – both the words and the unarticulated feelings behind those words. They understand that the best way to manage risk is to never allow their client to be in a situation that feels risky.
advice  anticipation  asset_allocation  assumptions  contrarians  financial_advisors  high_net_worth  investment_advice  risk-tolerance  roadmaps  unarticulated_desires  uncertainty  wisdom 
august 2017 by jerryking
To Be a Great Investor, Worry More About Being Wrong Than Right - MoneyBeat - WSJ
By JASON ZWEIG
Dec 30, 2016

The stunning surprises of 2016 should have taught all of us that the unexpected will happen. To be a good investor, you have to be right much of the time. To be a great investor, you have to recognize how often you may be wrong. Great investors like Warren Buffett practice trying to disprove their investing assumptions to determine whether they are correct.

Techniques to combat these cognitive biases:

Shun peer pressure from social media or the Internet. If you reveal your opinion to a group that has strong views, the sociologist Robert K. Merton has warned, the ensuing debate becomes more “a battle for status” than “a search for truth.” Instead, get a second opinion from one or two people you know and can trust to tell you if they think you are wrong.

Listen for signals you might be off-base. Use Facebook or Twitter not as an amen corner of people who agree with you, but to find alternative viewpoints that could alert you when your strategies are going astray.

Write down your estimates of where the Dow Jones Industrial Average, oil, gold, inflation, interest rates and other key financial indicators will be at the end of 2017. If you don’t know, admit it. Ask your financial advisers to do the same. Next Dec. 31, none of you will be able to say “I knew that would happen” unless that’s what the record shows.

Book reference: Keith Stanovich, Richard West and Maggie Toplak point out in their new book, “The Rationality Quotient,” rational beliefs “must correspond to the way the world is,” not to the way you think the world ought to be.
==================================
Commenter:

What investors need to do is focus on their own investments, their strategies for each particular holding, long-term, income-oriented, speculative, etc. and stick to their plan without being distracted by peers and press looking for big headlines.
Warren_Buffett  biases  confirmation_bias  investors  books  Pablo_Picasso  personal_finance  investing  Jason_Zweig  pretense_of_knowledge  self-awareness  self-analysis  self-reflective  proclivities  warning_signs  signals  second_opinions  peer_pressure  DJIA  assumptions  mistakes  personal_economy  surprises  worrying 
january 2017 by jerryking
As Germany Welcomes Migrants, Sexual Attacks in Cologne Point to a New Reality - The New York Times
By ALISON SMALE JAN. 14, 2016

In early December, the Cologne police made their New Year’s Eve preparations. Drawing on the previous year’s experience, they identified their biggest worry as pickpocketing and fireworks among the crowds. So they increased their holiday deployment, to 142 from 88, ...As 2016 neared on Dec. 31, however, some 1,500 men, including some newly arrived asylum seekers and many other immigrants, had instead assembled around Cologne’s train station. Drunk and dismissive of the police, they took advantage of an overwhelmed force to sexually assault and rob hundreds of people, according to police reports, shocking Germany and stoking anxieties over absorbing refugees across Europe....police reports and the testimony of officials and victims suggest that the officers failed to anticipate the new realities of a Germany that is now host to up to a million asylum seekers, most from war-torn Muslim countries unfamiliar with its culture. Working from outdated expectations, the police made a series of miscalculations that, officials acknowledge, allowed the situation to deteriorate. At the same time, both the police and victims say, it was not a situation any of them had encountered before. This was new terrain for all....But the commanding officer at the scene declined an offer of more than 80 reinforcements, who could have been in Cologne in an hour, according to Bernd Heinen, a senior police official, who criticized the commander for failing throughout the night to look ahead and anticipate a worsening situation....
sexual_assault  Germany  migrants  refugees  outdated  assumptions  forward_looking  preparation  miscalculations  anticipating  policing  asylum 
january 2016 by jerryking
The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking By Eli Broad
We started by looking at some of the industry's most fundamental operating principles, what most people would call the basics. They represent the strongest, stickiest — and most unexamined kind of c...
conventional_wisdom  critical_thinking  quotes  moguls  unexamined  patronage  benefactors  assumptions  innovation  opportunities  Eli_Broad  thinking  unconventional_thinking  assessments_&_evaluations  unreasonableness 
february 2015 by jerryking
You can’t predict a black swan - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 29 2015

The New York snowstorm that wasn’t, like the Swiss currency storm that was, are reminders that sophisticated computer models used to predict the future are useless in the face of the unpredictable. Instead of seeking a false assurance in the models, it’s better to prepare, to the extent possible, to weather any storm Mother Nature or man dishes up.

Black swans are “large-scale, unpredictable and irregular events of massive consequence,” as defined by the author who popularized the term in a 2007 book. Given their unpredictability, says Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the solution cannot lie in developing better predictive methods....Robust policy – such as sustainable public finances or effective bank regulations – must be designed to withstand black swans.
Konrad_Yakabuski  forecasting  weather  public_policy  reminders  modelling  unpredictability  assumptions  antifragility  Nassim_Taleb  black_swan  resilience  risk-management  policymaking 
january 2015 by jerryking
Where to Look for Insight
Mohanbir Sawhney Sanjay Khosla
FROM THE NOVEMBER 2014
Innovation isn’t a department. It’s a mindset that should permeate your entire enterprise.

No matter the venue, the feedstock for innovation is insight—an imaginative understanding of an internal or external opportunity that can be tapped to improve efficiency, generate revenue, or boost engagement. Insights can be about stakeholder needs, market dynamics, or even how your company works.

Here are Seven Insight Channels
Anomalies

Examine deviations from the norm
Do you see unexpectedly high or low revenue or share in a market or segment? Surprise performance from a business process or a company unit?

Confluence

Find macro trend intersections

What key economic, behavioral, technological, or demographic trends do you see? How are they combining to create opportunities?

Frustrations

Pinpoint deficiencies in the system

Where are customer pain points for your products, services, or solutions? Which organizational processes or practices annoy you and your colleagues?

Orthodoxies

Question conventional beliefs
Are there assumptions or beliefs in your industry that go unexamined? Toxic behaviors or procedures at your company that go unchallenged?

Extremities

Exploit deviance
What can you learn from the behaviors and needs of your leading-edge or laggard customers, employees, or suppliers?

Voyages

Learn from immersion elsewhere
How are your stakeholders’ needs influenced by their sociocultural context?

Analogies

Borrow from other industries or organizations
What successful innovations do you see applied in other disciplines? Can you adapt them for your own?
customer_insights  HBR  analogies  anomalies  toxic_behaviors  trends  pain_points  assumptions  innovation  insights  conventional_wisdom  travel  laggards  copycats  dilemmas  extremes  orthodoxy  immersive  deviance  learning_journeys  leading-edge  unexpected  mindsets  frictions  opportunities  opportunistic  consumer_behavior  feedstock 
november 2014 by jerryking
Five questions to hone your business strategy - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Sep. 28 2014

1. Why does our business deserve to succeed?
2. What would a new CEO do?
3. Imagine it is three to six years in the future and the proposed strategy has been unsuccessful. Why did it fail?
4. What would have to be true for our strategy to succeed?
5. Would I put my own money into this?
strategy  business_planning  Harvey_Schachter  execution  effectiveness  assumptions  anticipating  questions  biases  overconfidence  self-delusions  skin_in_the_game 
september 2014 by jerryking
Occam's Razor
Occam's razor: Look for the simplest explanation that makes the fewest assumptions.
definitions  assumptions  simplicity  Occam's_Razor 
june 2013 by jerryking
The Philosophy of Data - NYTimes.com
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: February 4, 2013

Big Data carries with it carry with certain cultural assumptions — that everything that can be measured should be measured; that data is a transparent and reliable lens that allows us to filter out emotionalism and ideology; that data will help us do remarkable things — like foretell the future....some of the questions raised by the data revolution: In what situations should we rely on intuitive pattern recognition and in which situations should we ignore intuition and follow the data? What kinds of events are predictable using statistical analysis and what sorts of events are not? Two things data does really well are:
(1) expose when our intuitive view of reality is wrong.
(2) data can illuminate patterns of behavior we haven’t yet noticed.
cultural_assumptions  David_Brooks  massive_data_sets  data  critical_thinking  pattern_recognition  intuition  biases  measurements  assumptions 
february 2013 by jerryking
The Messy Business of Management
By Ian I. Mitroff, Can M. Alpaslan and Richard O. Mason

September 18, 2012| |

“Managers don’t solve simple, isolated problems; they manage messes.” Ackoff was also instrumental in defining the nature of such messes. According to him, a mess is a system of constantly changing, highly interconnected problems, none of which is independent of the other problems that constitute the entire mess. As a result, no problem that is part of a mess can be defined and solved independently of the other problems. Accordingly, the ability to manage messes requires the ability to think and to manage systemically; this in turn requires that one understand systems thinking. addressing complex, messy problems also requires constructive conflict and structured debate with others to help test one’s assumptions — and help ensure that one is not solving the wrong problem. Many business schools excel at teaching young managers well-structured models, theories and frameworks. But we believe that business schools should spend more time helping their students surface, debate and test the assumptions underlying each model, theory or framework they are learning about. In this way, by developing students’ critical thinking skills, universities would prepare young business leaders to succeed in a messy, uncertain world.
critical_thinking  crisis  business_schools  constant_change  uncertainty  management  systems_thinking  complexity  networks  interconnections  problem_solving  messiness  assumptions 
january 2013 by jerryking
Change or die: could adland be the new Detroit?
Feb 18, 2011|Campaign |Amelia Torode (head of strategy and innovation at VCCP and the chair of the IPA Strategy Group) and Tracey Follows ( head of planning at VCCP)...

As the world changed with the globalisation of markets, the transformative power of digital technologies and a shift in consumer demand, the automotive industry and the city of Detroit did not. At a fundamental level, nothing changed. Detroit failed to adapt, failed to evolve.

We have started to ask ourselves: is adland the new Detroit?

Data: find stories in numbers

It's time to reimagine our role. We're no longer solving problems but investigating mysteries; no longer taking a brief, rather taking on a case. Like a detective, we start with behaviour, looking for patterns and anomalies. We assume that what we're being told is not entirely the "truth" so search for information that is given from various perspectives and tend to believe our eyes more than our ears.

Imagine the implications for how we approach data. Seen through the lens of "mystery", we're not simply seeing data as a stream of numbers but as a snapshot of behaviour and an insight into human nature. What we do with data is the same thing we do when we sit on a park bench or at a pavement café - people-watching,albeit from desktops. It's human stories hidden within numbers, and it takes away the fear that surrounds "big data".
shifting_tastes  data-driven  data_journalism  Detroit  advertising_agencies  data  storytelling  massive_data_sets  adaptability  evolution  United_Kingdom  Publicis  managing_change  sense-making  insights  behaviours  patterns  anomalies  assumptions  automotive_industry  human_experience  curiosity  consumer_behavior 
december 2012 by jerryking
When Uncertainty Is A Constant, You Can Still Plan for Surprises
April 7, 1998 | WSJ | By HAL LANCASTER.

one of the few certainties in today's tumultuous business world: About all anyone can expect is the unexpected.

Hal Lancaster answers readers' questions on career issues in Career Corner. Send your questions or comments by e-mail to hlancast@wsj.com .

Between mergers and restructurings, new technology and intensified global competition, "change is accelerating," says Dallas management consultant Price Pritchett, who specializes in change management. "The more change and the faster it comes at us, the easier it is for us to get blindsided."

But isn't the ability to cope with the unexpected genetically coded? "Some people have a high need for structure and don't like to wing it." Still, anyone can get better at dealing with surprises.

Here are some other effective strategies:

* Figure out what you can control.

* Plan tight and play loose. "deep planning," or considering all conceivable scenarios and what-ifs. But won't the unexpected foil the best-laid plans? "The better job we do planning, the better we'll do improvising, because we'll understand the situation better,"

* Develop solutions. In a soon-to-be-released booklet on innovation that he is publishing for clients, Dr. Pritchett draws lessons from the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory talked about "crafting solutions that were tolerant to the uncertainties" of such a project,

* Separate fact from assumptions.

To make good decisions, you need good information. In turbulent times, Mr. Postons observes, "people get suspicious, they get paranoid and that's when they get frozen."

* Do something.In an environment of high-velocity change, Dr. Pritchett says, remember the perils of passivity. "You have to keep moving forward, knowing that in this blurry, fast-moving world, you're going to have to drive on fog lights much of the time."

Concentrating on a plan of action and lining up others to help can turn despair into accomplishment, Dr. Stoltz says. The strategy, he adds, is "whiner-proof and solution-oriented."
Hal_Lancaster  Managing_Your_Career  uncertainty  adversity  surprises  critical_thinking  managing_change  unexpected  cost_of_inaction  assumptions  change  resilience  tumultuous  constant_change  solutions  solution-finders  accelerated_lifecycles  action_plans  span_of_control  momentum  blindsided  blind_spots  beyond_one's_control  JPL  next_play 
december 2012 by jerryking
Top 10 Business Plan Mistakes
March 15-21st, 2006 | Entrepreneur.com | Andrew Clarke.

1. The plan is poorly written.
2. The plan presentation is sloppy.
3. The plan is incomplete.
4. The plan is too vague.
5. The plan is too detailed.
6. The plan makes unfounded or unrealistic assumptions.
7. The plan includes inadequate research.
8. You claim there's no risk involved in your new venture.
9. You claim you have no competition.
10. The business plan is really no plan at all.
problems  business_planning  assumptions  market_research  competition  risk-assessment 
december 2012 by jerryking
A conversation that translates
June 7, 2012 | The Financial Times pg. 14 | Philip Delves Broughton.
(Pass on to Abdoulaye DIOP)
For global companies, creating an approach to risk that resonates across cultures can be a challenge, writes Philip Delves Broughton

Risk is a risky word. Already prone to misinterpretation among people who share a language and a culture, the difficulties multiply dangerously when it moves across borders.

What a Wall Street trader might define as moderately risky may seem downright insane to a Japanese retail broker; what an oil pipeline engineer in Brazil might characterise as gung-ho may appear overcautious to his revenue-chasing chief executive in London....The greatest pitfalls in managing risk across borders, he says, emerge from assuming too much. When dealing with fellow English speakers, it is easy to imagine that a shared language means shared assumptions - that the English, Americans and Australians think the same thing because they are using the same words.... Tips for managing risk across borders

Context is more important than language. Understand what matters most in the markets where you are doing business. Is it the law, logic or maintaining relationships?

Every word comes with its own "metadata" in different cultures. Be as specific as you can and never assume you have been properly understood without checking for potential misunderstandings.
cultural_assumptions  risks  risk-management  Communicating_&_Connecting  globalization  organizational_culture  transactions  national_identity  Philip_Delves_Broughton  translations  assumptions  misinterpretations  contextual  metadata  specificity  crossborder  cross-cultural  misunderstandings  interpretation  conversations  risk-assessment  words  compounded  risk-perception  multiplicative 
september 2012 by jerryking
Introduction to the Case Method
(1) Define the central problem. (Problems vs. symptoms, sequence, linkages)
(2) Formulate the alternatives. (3 or 4 are usually sufficient. Include maintenance of the status quo).
(3) Analyze the alternatives. (Uncover the nature, proportion, function, and underlying relationships among a set of variables). Lay out assumptions. Review assumptions to see how dependent conclusions are on the assumptions made. Contingency plans in the case that assumptions don't hold. Opposing arguments addressed? Pros/cons of each alternative.
(4) Recommend a solution. (Make it clear cut. Avoid qualifications)
(5) Specify a plan of action. (Potential reactions)
(6) Prepare contingency plans.
case_studies  business_schools  symptoms  howto  frameworks  problem_framing  problem_solving  linkages  marketing_math  critical_thinking  action_plans  contingency_planning  alternatives  assumptions  argumentation  sequencing 
july 2012 by jerryking
Three tips to improve your listening skills - The Globe and Mail
1. Show respect: To run a complex organization, you must solicit advice from all corners. Let everyone know that you are open to their viewpoints. Being respectful doesn’t mean avoiding tough questions; good listeners routinely ask them to uncover the information they need. “The goal is ensuring the free and open flow of information and ideas,” he writes.

2. Keep quiet: Your conversation partner should be speaking 80 per cent of the time while you limit yourself to about 20 per cent. To make your speaking time count, ask questions that point the other party in the right direction. “That’s easier said than done, of course – most executives are naturally inclined to speak their minds. Still, you can’t really listen if you’re too busy talking.”

3. Challenge assumptions: Good listeners seek to understand and challenge the assumptions beneath the surface of the conversation. Take a tip from baseball manager Earl Weaver, who titled his autobiography It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts.
listening  McKinsey  books  Communicating_&_Connecting  conversations  tips  questions  assumptions  respect  hard_questions 
may 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
Stop Looking for Ideas, Look for Problems to Grow Your Business - India Chief Mentor - WSJ
April 19, 2010, | WSJ | By Gautam Gandhi. Stop looking for
good ideas. That’s right, you read this correctly. Please don’t speak of good ideas ever again. Instead tell me about good problems. They'll most likely bring a business opportunity, Where are the problems?

If you look around there are problems everywhere. Question things you
take for granted and think to yourself: Is there a better way? When you
have your next business meeting, whether it is with a client or
customer, ask them what their biggest problems are. You will be
surprised by what people tell you. Hopefully, you will start to notice
patterns and will soon identify a problem to solve. Better still, if it
is a problem that affects you directly.

When you think of the problem that you are going to solve, ensure that:

You are tackling it for a sizable market
People are willing to pay for your solution
You assess your rivals

The last one is important. Never think: “I don’t have any competition.”
growth  problem_solving  pattern_recognition  idea_generation  problems  challenges  worthiness  messiness  uncharted_problems  large_markets  competition  questions  ideas  assumptions  criteria  India  pain_points  discernment  curiosity  dissatisfaction  opportunities  inquisitiveness  Michael_McDerment  worthwhile_problems 
july 2011 by jerryking
Assumption hunters, a new consulting business?
March 5, 2008 | CultureBy | Grant McCracken.

What is the most vexing problem in management today?

Next to setting our objectives, running a tight ship and meeting our numbers, I would argue that it’s watching out for the blind side hit.

By blind side hit, I mean the kind of thing that Google did to Microsoft, that Barak did to Hillary, that hip hop did to Levi-Strauss, that Snapple did to Coca-Cola.

Watching for blind side hits is difficult because it means knowing our assumptions. And this is hard because assumptions are not for knowing, they are for making.
........The trouble with assumptions is that they are by definition invisible from view. (That’s why we call them "unknown unknowns.") We hold ideas about the world without full awareness of what these ideas are or how they make us vulnerable. .......So what to do. How about, for starters, this three step "assumption hunting" process?

1) ferret out the assumptions. Hire someone to go through the operation of daily business and capture every assumption. Philosophers are quite good at this. Anthropologists are very good at it. This is after all the way they study culture, which is, by and large, a set of assumptions that helps us think and act fluidly precisely because we don’t know we are making them.

2) identify the parts of the world that could present challenges. Figure out just what the challenge is and when and how it will "come ashore."

3) Keep watch with a big board. In effect, what we are doing is "sunsetting" our assumptions with a view to discovery when they reach they end of their useful lives.
assumptions  management_consulting  information_gaps  the_big_picture  uncertainty  unknowns  anthropology  blindsided  blind_spots  challenges  anthropologists  philosophers 
december 2010 by jerryking
Growth's perilous seduction
Feb. 13, 2006 | National Post | by Michael Urlocker, a
management consultant and former Bay Street analyst, points out,
pursuing non-existent growth can be a killer. "To me the question, "Are
we in a growth market or are we in a bear market?" was the single most
important one I asked during the tech meltdown."

By National PostFebruary 13, 2006
growth  assumptions  BCE  bull_markets  bear_markets  questions  the_single_most_important 
february 2010 by jerryking
How to Ask Better Questions
May 6, 2009 | Management Essentials - HarvardBusiness.org | by Judith Ross.

The most effective and empowering questions create value in one or more of the following ways:

They create clarity: “Can you explain more about this situation?”
They construct better working relations: Instead of “Did you make your sales goal?” ask, “How have sales been going?”
They help people think analytically and critically: “What are the consequences of going this route?”
They inspire people to reflect and see things in fresh, unpredictable ways: “Why did this work?”
They encourage breakthrough thinking: “Can that be done in any other way?”
They challenge assumptions: “What do you think you will lose if you start sharing responsibility for the implementation process?
They create ownership of solutions: “Based on your experience, what do you suggest we do here?”
assumptions  breakthroughs  clarity  critical_thinking  fresh_eyes  Harvard  HBR  howto  indispensable  inspiration  JCK  owners  questions  reflections  relationships  value_creation 
june 2009 by jerryking
Pandemics and Poor Information - WSJ.com
MAY 11, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by L. GORDON CROVITZ.
Whenever there's a threat of epidemic, alongside early deaths comes the casualty of information. Asian governments at least learned from their recent experience of bird flu and SARS the importance of not covering up outbreaks. The still open question is how to assess warnings that health professionals make based on inadequate information. Almost by definition, the risk of an epidemic occurs when the one thing disease experts know for sure is that they don't know for sure what will happen.
"What new information would be sufficient to change your decision?"

Alexander's question (AKA 'Dr. Alexander's question') is a question used to uncover assumptions and associations that may be confusing your judgment. Asking what information would be needed to change your mind can help bring faulty reasoning to light, and it can also point out what facts you should be researching before committing yourself and others to a course of action.

The uncertainty about the longer-term threat of the current swine flu is a
reminder that nature is more complex than mathematical models.Scientific
hypotheses can then be tested, but this approach has limits when it
comes to predictions.
"Alexander's Question," named for a physician who had posed a canny
question of his fellow experts: What information might make the group
change its mind about the need for immunization? Focusing on it would
have led to more focus on uncertainties: the trade-off between side
effects and flu, the difference between the severity of the flu and its
spread, and the choice between mandatory vaccinations and stockpiling in
case of later need. Decision makers should ask themselves what new
"knowns" would change their views.
pandemics  epidemics  risk-assessment  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  information_flows  information  decision_making  immunization  critical_thinking  uncertainty  assumptions  questions  Dr.Alexander's_Question  information_gaps  hidden  latent  facts  change_your_mind  problem_framing  tradeoffs  flu_outbreaks  side_effects  vaccines  stockpiles  information-poor  CDC  unknowns 
may 2009 by jerryking
If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?
December 27, 2008| Adam Smith, Esq.: An inquiry into the
economics of law firms....| Blog post by Bruce MacEwen
# What are the unspoken assumptions behind this piece?;
# If what the author is saying is correct, what happens next?;
# Does this align with most things we read in the past few months or is
it squarely at odds with the consensus--and then who's right?;
# What are the author's presumed biases, predilections, and
hobbyhorses?; and
# Last and most important--but hardest!--of all, does it spark any new
ideas in your mind? What have you been taking for granted that might be
due for a challenge or an update or a revisionist note?
innovation  lawyers  critical_thinking  Bruce_MacEwen  strategic_thinking  assumptions  smart_people  biases  predilections  questions  aftermath  latent  hidden  insights  ideas  next_play 
march 2009 by jerryking

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