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jerryking : hard_choices   16

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
Six rules for managing our era’s oversupply of non-stop news, high-decibel outrage
May 11, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | editorials.

Rule No. 1: You don’t need to have an opinion about everything. Shocking but true. ....It’s perfectly fair to say, “I don’t know enough to have an opinion on that," or, “I will leave that to others to debate,” or even, “Both sides have some good points.” You might not please everyone, but see Rule No. 2.

* Rule No. 2: You can’t please everyone. Get over it.

* Rule No. 3: Embrace ambivalence....often misinterpreted as indifference, or derided as indecision. In fact, the ability to entertain contradictory but animating ideas goes to the heart of what it means to be a mature and civilized human being. It’s also central to preserving political freedom. The most dangerous person in a democracy is the blind partisan who outsources her opinions to politicians or an ideology, and who sees those who don’t agree as enemies to be righteously chased from town by a torch-wielding mob. The biggest threat to such black-and-white partisanship is the person who keeps her mind open, is not blindly loyal to any one team and sees people with different opinions not as monsters to be slain but as human beings to be understood, especially when you disagree with them, and they disagree with you.

* Rule No. 4: When you take a stand, be forceful. While the process of reaching a conclusion should involve a lot of “on the one hand” and “on the other,” at some point you have to make a choice.

In a criminal trial, the decision to convict an accused person can only be taken if the evidence is persuasive beyond a reasonable doubt – in other words, if the evidence is irrefutable and the conclusion is certain. But in politics, business and life, most decisions must be taken under conditions that cannot meet that exacting standard. Reasonable doubts are reasonable. Only the extreme partisan is without them.

* Rule No. 5: Set your bottom line. How far are you willing to let another person go before you feel obliged to offer a counter-opinion? Not every take you hear deserves the energy required to argue against it. Sometimes, you have to just let people say things you don’t agree with. You might learn something.

And remember, just as there is no obligation to have an opinion on every subject, there is also no rule that says you must express your opinion every time the chance presents itself. But when someone or something does cross a line, sometimes you can’t hold back. It may be as lofty as a matter of justice, or a simple as a question of common sense, but there comes a moment when your opinion will matter.

* Rule No. 6: Opinions are not the same thing as empathy. Empathy is what makes it possible for people who disagree to live together in peace and harmony – to agreeably disagree. And in a multicultural, multireligious, multiracial, multiparty democracy, people are going to disagree about all sorts of things, all the time.

The world has enough opinions. What it really needs is more empathy. Without it, life isn’t possible.
21st._century  agreeably_disagree  ambivalence  commoditization_of_information  disagreements  disinformation  dual-consciousness  empathy  hard_choices  incivility  incompatibilities  indecision  information_overload  news  opinions  open_mind  outrage  partial_truths  partisanship  partisan_loyalty  political_spin  propaganda  rules_of_the_game 
may 2019 by jerryking
A Former CIA Executive’s Advice On How To Make Hard Decisions | The future of business
05.28.15 | Fast Company | BY STEPHANIE VOZZA.
A Former CIA Executive’s Advice On How To Make Hard Decisions
A five-step decision-making process from a man who spent 25 years making life-and-death decisions.
(1) Question
(2) Drivers
(3) Metrics
(4) Data
(5) What's Missing/Blind Spots

1. FIND THE REAL QUESTION
Questions are NOT self-evident, says Mudd. Focusing on better questions up front yields better answers later.
“Good questions are hard to come up with,” he says. Delay data gathering and the conclusions.... think about exactly what it is we want to know..... Start with what you’re trying to accomplish and work your way back, instead of moving forward and making conclusions. The right question provides a decision advantage to the person at the head of the table.

2. IDENTIFY YOUR “DRIVERS”
Break down complex questions into characteristics or “drivers.” This approach gives you a way to manage data.
For example, sort data on Al Qaeda into information baskets that included money, recruits, leadership, communications, training, and access to weapons. When information flows in, rather than adding it to one unmanageable pile, sorting through it periodically, and offering a recitation of what appears to be relevant from the most recent stuff you’ve seen, file each bit into one of your baskets. Limit your drivers to 10.

3. DECIDE ON YOUR METRICS
Identify the metrics you’ll use to measure how the problem and solution are evolving over time.
What are the right metrics?
What are the new information sources and metrics?
Compare your thought process to the training process of an Olympic sprinter who measures success in hundredths of a second. “If we don’t, the analysis we provide will suffer the same fate as a sprinter who thinks he’s great but has never owned a stopwatch: he enters an elite competition, and reality intervenes,” Metrics provide a “mind mirror”–a system for judging your decisions. It provides a foundation for coming back to the table and assessing the process for success.

4. COLLECT THE DATA
Once you’ve built the framework that will help you make the hard decision, it’s time to gather the data. Overcome data overload by plugging data into their driver categories and excising anything that doesn’t fit. “Too much data might provide a false sense of security, and it doesn’t necessarily lead to clearer analytic decision making,”

Avoud intuition. It’s dangerous. Aggressively question the validity of your data. Once you have your data sorted, give yourself a grade that represents your confidence in assessing your question.

5. LOOK FOR WHAT’S MISSING
Complex analysis isn’t easy. Assume that the process is flawed and check for gaps and errors. Three common stumbling blocks are:

Availability bias: The instinct to rely on what you know or what has been most recently in the news.
Halo effect: When you write off the negative characteristics because you’re mesmerized by the positive attributes.
Intuitive versus analytic methodologies: when you go with your gut. Relying on intuition is dangerous.

Mudd says making complex decisions is hard work. “It’s a lot of fun to be an expert who bases their ideas on history and not a lot of fun to be an analyst who must always be assessing potential scenarios,” he says. “Every time you go into a problem, and before you rip into data, ask yourself, ‘Am I sure where I’m heading?’”
asking_the_right_questions  availability_bias  biases  decision_making  false_sense_of_security  gut_feelings  halo_effects  hard_choices  intuition  intelligence_analysts  life-and-death  metrics  Philip_Mudd  problem_definition  organizing_data  problem_framing  sorting  thinking_backwards 
october 2017 by jerryking
From Diaper to Soda Makers, Big Brands Feel the Pinch of a Consumer Pullback - WSJ
By Sharon Terlep, Jennifer Maloney and Annie Gasparro
April 26, 2017

Some blamed the weak start of the year on higher gas prices, bad weather and other external factors, while other executives pointed to shifting consumer tastes. Analysts say some big brands, such as Gillette and Yoplait, are losing ground to upstarts. Overall purchases of consumer packaged goods in the U.S. declined 2.5% in unit terms in the first quarter, according to Nielsen.....consumers are cutting back purchases, aggressively seeking deals and drawing down supplies at home. At the same time, he said, a growing affinity for beards has played a big part in driving down razor sales, which contributed to a 6% organic sales decline for P&G’s grooming unit....PepsiCo, like big food rivals Kraft Heinz Co. and Nestlé, is struggling as consumers shift away from diet sodas and processed foods to fresher and healthier options. It has launched new products, such as a premium bottled water brand, to adjust to the shift.....For food and nonfood staples, big brands are struggling more than the overall industry. The 20 largest consumer packaged goods companies last year had flat sales while smaller ones posted sales growth of 2.4%, according to Nielsen.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., meantime, has been reducing inventories and slashing prices as it fights to compete with Amazon.com Inc. and European discounters moving into the U.S. Those cuts are eating into its own profit and, in turn, leading the world’s biggest retailer to put pressure on its vendors.........The dynamics are driving tough choices for companies as they are forced to decide between reducing prices and ceding market share. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola Co. have been shrinking packages and raising prices.
brands  hard_choices  large_companies  volatility  P&G  Gillette  Yoplait  CPG  PepsiCo  healthy_lifestyles  Kraft_Heinz  Nestlé  Wal-Mart  Coca-Cola  price-cutting  price_hikes  Fortune_500  upstarts  supply_chain_squeeze  shifting_tastes  Amazon  Big_Food 
april 2017 by jerryking
Overcoming the three objections to hiring you - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Sep. 02, 2016
there are three reasons an employer won’t hire you: pay, experience, and fit.
The method is simple, shared by James Clear recently on his blog:

1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write more than six tasks.

2. Prioritize those six items in order of importance.

3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second.

4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.

5. Repeat this process every working day.

Mr. Clear says the Ivy Lea method is effective because it’s simple, it forces you to make tough decisions about priorities, it removes the friction of getting started by dictating what you should be doing, and forces you to ‘single task’ rather than multitask. “Do the most important thing first every day. It’s the only productivity trick you need,” he concludes.
hard_choices  Harvey_Schachter  productivity  GTD  hiring  priorities  monotasking  think_threes 
september 2016 by jerryking
We must never censor ourselves for fear of offending the faithful - The Globe and Mail
ELIZABETH RENZETTI
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jan. 16 2015

The New York Times, along with the majority of North American newspapers, did not print the most inflammatory cartoons. The paper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, described a difficult decision made by executive editor Dean Baquet: “Ultimately he decided against it, he said, because he had to consider foremost the sensibilities of Times readers, especially its Muslim readers.”

But isn’t that defence not only self-serving, but insulting as well? Infantilizing, even. It assumes that all Muslim readers will react to the cartoons in the same way, as if they are incapable of filtering their opinions through any lens other than religion. A set of beliefs is just that; it is not a hive mind. The religious scholar Reza Aslan was all over television this week, repeating the idea that there is no one “Muslim world” – there are hundreds of millions of individuals who share some of the same beliefs. But not, by any means, all.

Self-censorship is a form of slow suicide for those of us in the news business, and a news outlet that tries to avoid giving offence will soon be printing one page a week
self-censorship  Charlie_Hebdo  hard_choices  identity_politics  religion  Elizabeth_Renzetti  free_speech 
january 2015 by jerryking
2014’s lessons for leaders: Don’t make assumptions, do make hard decisions - The Globe and Mail
BOB RAE
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Dec. 26 2014,

Life has a way of lifting you by the lapels and giving you a good shake. Stuff happens, and when it does, it can throw all the steady paths predicted by pundits, pollsters and economic forecasters into the trash heap....Canadians are fixated on who the winners and losers of the "where will oil prices head" game ...but we need to lift our heads a bit. Russia’s falling ruble and the debt crisis of its elites and their companies have rightly grabbed headlines. But a couple of countries, notably Nigeria and Venezuela, are now in political crisis, and their very stability is at risk in the days ahead.

One of the implications of the 2008 world economic crisis is that regional and world institutions have much less room to manoeuvre and help sort things out. it will be harder for those agencies (EU, IMF) to do as much as is required. Stability doesn’t come cheap....a healthy dose of reality and skepticism is always a good idea. In a useful piece of advice, Rudyard Kipling reminded us that triumph and disaster are both imposters. People draw too many conclusions from current trends. They fail to understand that those trends can change. And that above all, they forget that events can get in the way....One clear lesson is for leaders everywhere to learn the importance of listening and engagement. The path to resolution of even the thorniest of problems...involves less rhetoric and bluster and a greater capacity to understand underlying interests and grievances. ... Engagement should never mean appeasement.
Bob_Rae  pundits  decision_making  leaders  unintended_consequences  predictions  WWI  humility  Toronto  traffic_congestion  crisis  instability  listening  engagement  unpredictability  Rudyard_Kipling  petro-politics  imposters  short-sightedness  amnesia_bias  interests  grievances  appeasement  hard_choices 
december 2014 by jerryking
All he is saying is give war a chance: Democracy and world peace are really not such great ideas. Just ask author Robert Kaplan
11 Mar 2000| National Post pg B5 |Alexander Rose.

Whatever else journalist Robert D. Kaplan picked up during his sojourn in the Great Back of Beyond, it wasn't universal love, touch-feely harmony and a We-Are-The-World attitude. In this newspaper last weekend, reviewing The Coming Anarchy -- a collection of his recent assays he was in Canada to promote this week — Misha Glenny aptly remarked: "If you want to feel uplifted about the human condition, you should steer clear of Kaplan's work as a general rule." An example; The way to make this world a better place Kaplan casually proposes in his new collection of essays (named after his famous 1994 article in The Atlantic Monthly predicting cultural clashes, tribal and widespread environmental meltdown), is for Congress to reauthorize assassination as a political instrument to grasp that democracy is not suitable for everyone; and that world peace would actually make war likelier.

"I've spent a great deal of my life covering wars," he says. Moreover, "unlike a lot of journalists, I read -- I read a lot, a lot of history, a lot of philosophy.

Look at Livy (the ancient Roman historian)...'Drew him to classical philosophy. ''If you read the ancient Chinese, or Cicero, Machiavelli or Herodotus, these a strain running through them - which is that if you always think about might go wrong, things might start going right and you can avoid tragedy.'' Thus, ''tragedy is avoidable if you always maintain a sense of it.''

The problem, however, is that "the times we live in are so prosperous for us that it's hard to think tragically." And, most alarmingly, "Revolutions and upheavals happen when things are getting better, not worse."

...When Mr. Kaplan speaks of "realists" he is describing the Hobbesian view that man has a rapacious, brutal, selfish nature. On the world stage, this translates as furiously competing sovereign states battling over their respective interests, many of which are intractable. Realists therefore believe eternal and armed vigilance, not highfalutin UN declarations, are the key to ensuring "human security". ...Kaplan believes that there are three strands of "realism" battle for supremacy...."You don't have to believe in global warming, but we're entering a world in which there will be six billion of us and you have to realize that there are now enough of us living in urbanized conditions that we're occupying zones which are climatically and tectonically fragile. "Now, we've got 70% of the Chinese population producing two-thirds of the industrial output living in flood zones. Forget about Mozambique -- that's a sideshow."...So what advice would he give our Department of Foreign Affairs so that Canada could punch above its weight in the world?

Says Kaplan, without skipping a beat: "It's hard for a country of 30 million to have a pivotal impact. So the way to do it is to get behind an idea everyone knows is smart but nobody has the time or the inclination to push."

Is Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy's position on human rights and human security one such "smart idea"? Mr. Kaplan gives it short shrift (actually, no shrift at all). "It's far too flaccid and formless to be taken seriously because all he's really stating is a kind of easy truth. Tough truths, on the other hand, are things like when and where you intervene and under what circumstances.

"So, I would say Canada needs to go on fast forward to a Global Constabulary Force. NATO, with all its problems, worked well in Kosovo and Bosnia. So, we [i.e., Canada] will create an out-of-area military branch of NATO with some non-European members -- such as Japan, Australia, India, Brazil -- to form the core of the GCF." Then "we'll have a wider range of options during the next Rwanda, or next time something happens in a place with no strategic interest to anyone but where there's an overwhelming sense that we should 'do something.' But just talking about human security ... The minute you have something that everyone agrees with you know it's useless."

A lesson from the master himself.
floodplains  Greek  hard_choices  hard_power  hard_questions  hard_truths  history  human_rights  human_security  journalists  middle-powers  Niccolò_Machiavelli  political_theory  punch-above-its-weight  rapaciousness  realism  realpolitik  Robert_Kaplan  Romans  thinking_tragically  the_human_condition  world_stage  worst-case 
july 2012 by jerryking
Being Clear or Being Tough
In other words, you do not have to be a tough guy. You can, but it’s not required. What you do need to be is clear. Clear on your rules; clear on your objectives; clear on your decisions; and clear on whom you surround yourself with. You must have a Code of Honor that spells out the context of your business, your relationships and your life. Your Code of Honor ensures you remain “clear.”

In all of my businesses, I have had to make tough decisions, but I did not always have to be tough. Just clear that it either works or it doesn’t...it either supports the mission and team or it doesn’t...it either operates by the Code or it doesn’t.

When faced with choices, you have to have more than a ‘gut’ feeling in order to make them. Part of the problem is that most people cannot distinguish between their intuition and their emotional reaction. (Subject for next article!)

You have to have clear guidelines or a Code. Does that mean that every decision, choice or action is black and white? Of course not. But it gives you clarity of purpose, intention and direction.
Communicating_&_Connecting  decision_making  clarity  Code_of_Honor  values  hard_choices  intuition  emotions  gut_feelings 
march 2012 by jerryking
Why You Should Stop Being a Wimp
Aug. 3, 2011 |BNET|By Suzanne Lucas |Ever met a successful
wimp? No such thing. The person who succeeds in the world of work isn't
the person that refuses to take chances. Business owners must take
financial & personal risks, evaluate mkts. & spot gaps which
they try to fill. Sometimes they commit to paying other people’s
salaries before knowing for sure if they’ll bring in enough $ to pay
their own. Successful sales people go out every day & risk rejection
in order to sell their products. You can't expect customers to
call. SVPs didn’t get there by keeping their head down & doing
precisely what their bosses asked of them. They looked for new
opportunities, suggested new paths for the biz, made difficult
decisions..This isn’t advice to be irrational, nor rude. Be politely
firm. Think through your plans–you must have plans in the 1st. place.
Do take risks where there is potential for payoff, do speak up in
meetings, do work your ass off and do ask for the recognition you
deserve.
advice  chutzpah  financial_risk  hard_choices  hustle  independent_viewpoints  indispensable  individual_initiative  intrinsically_motivated  It's_up_to_me  jck  ksfs  opportunities  overlooked_opportunities  owners  personal_payoffs  personal_risk  recognition  rejections  risk-taking  self-starters  speaking_up  uncharted_problems 
august 2011 by jerryking
Hard Choices: Betting on China's Startups
July 8, 2010 | BusinessWeek | Kai-Fu Lee, the founding
president of Google China talks about leaving fertile Silicon Valley to
invest in promising new Chinese companies. As told to Diane Brady
China  start_ups  silicon_valley  innovation  venture_capital  Google  hard_choices  Kai-Fu_Lee 
september 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - The Alternate History - NYTimes.com
September 2, 2010 | New York Times | By DAVID BROOKS. " At
about that time, General Motors and Chrysler started teetering. Obama
decided to help the companies if they were willing to make the tough
choices that would boost long-term competitiveness. It occurred to him
that this was the template for the whole country. For decades, Obama
told the nation, America had squandered its advantages and now the
crisis had come. There would be no quick fixes. But in this winter of
recession, America could rebuild its foundations. It could lay the
groundwork for real and lasting prosperity. Obama put signs around the
White House: “No Quick Fixes.” Administration officials were forbidden
from promising a short-term summer of recovery. They talked incessantly
about long-term productivity. Democrats were going to define themselves
as the economic Back to Basics Party. They wouldn’t let Republicans
define them as somehow “alien” or “socialist.” "
David_Brooks  competitiveness_of_nations  hard_choices  Obama  productivity 
september 2010 by jerryking
Gates Seeks to Slash Military Bureaucracy - WSJ.com
MAY 10, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By YOCHI J. DREAZEN.
Gates Talks of Tough Choices Ahead . Defense Secretary Robert Gates said
the U.S.'s worsening economic problems meant the Pentagon had to slash
its bloated bureaucracy and purchase cheaper weapons systems, moves that
would dramatically change the DoD's normal ways of doing business.
Gates warned that the long run-up in defense spending in the aftermath
of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was coming to an end, forcing
the Pentagon and the nation's military services to become far more
disciplined about how they spent money on manpower and materiel.
Pentagon  Robert_Gates  cutbacks  bureaucracies  SecDef  hard_choices  military-industrial_complex 
may 2010 by jerryking
Insults are our chief export
Feb 4, 2003 | The Globe and Mail. pg. A.19 | Norman Spector. "Understand that to govern is to choose."

A visitor to Washington finds a capital fixated on the coming war in Iraq. As is Ottawa, judging from Question Period recently. With one difference: In Washington, the discussion has real consequences, including the possibility Saddam Hussein will use chemical weapons against U.S. troops. On Parliament Hill, the debate unfolds like a faculty seminar, or a convention of the federal New Democrats.

Rookie Foreign Minister Bill Graham -- himself a former professor -- also seems not to understand that to govern is to choose. He travelled to Washington last week to warn Colin Powell, a battle-scarred ex-general of dovish persuasion, that war could have untold consequences in the Mideast. If that's all there is, he could have saved the air fare.

Now, it's the turn of Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew -- headed to Washington today on a "charm offensive" -- to discover how irrelevant we've become.

During my Washington visit, even former Clinton administration officials were embarrassed to ask about Jean Chrétien's position on Iraq. Instead, hoping I'd take the hint and steer discussion to parallels in the Great White North, they lampooned the "Euro-weenies" -- feckless leaders of people who consider themselves morally superior to Americans.
Norman_Spector  governance  hard_choices  choices 
november 2009 by jerryking
Preparing for the Next Crisis: Preventing the Next Fire While This One Blazes
MARCH 12, 2009 WSJ column by by DAVID WESSEL. Identifies some
fundamental questions that should be addressed as officials think
through improvements to the financial regulatory framework.

Preventing all future crises is not the goal. That would be the equivalent of banning stoves and furnaces: We'd have fewer destructive fires but we'd be cold and miserable. The goal is to prevent mishaps from burning down the world economy. Here are three of the threshold questions that need pondering:

(1) Who shall be saved, and who shall be allowed to die?

(2) How paternalistic should regulation be, and who should be the parent?

(3) Can we install air bags in the financial system that deploy automatically?
financial_institutions  frameworks  regulation  David_Wessel  hard_choices  think_threes  financial_system  regulators  questions  crisis  preparation  circuit_breakers  hard_questions 
march 2009 by jerryking

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