recentpopularlog in

jerryking : unsentimental   11

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
The Angst of Endangered CEOs: ‘How Much Time Do I Have?’ - WSJ
By Vanessa Fuhrmans and Joann S. Lublin
Updated July 5, 2017

An array of challenges—from increasing impatience on Wall Street and in boardrooms to a corporate landscape rapidly transformed by new technologies and rival upstarts—have made the top job tougher and more precarious than just a few years ago, top executives say.
CEOs  turnover  boards_&_directors_&_governance  unsentimental  Joann_S._Lublin  endangered 
july 2017 by jerryking
Peter Mansbridge anchors his final edition of CBC’s The National - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 30, 2017

Last September, when Mansbridge announced his retirement, I wrote a column with the headline It’s About Time: We’ve Put Up With Mansbridge And His Pompous Ilk For Too Long. It acknowledged at the start that it might seem ungracious and harsh.

It argued against the traditional anchor position, which Mansbridge has embodied, and declared that the reverence for the job is outdated and, essentially, redundant.

About half the readers thought it too harsh and about half applauded the content. It caused some hurt feelings. Sometimes a critic does that, expressing the unsentimental view.

Oddly enough, CBC seems to be agreeing with the views expressed about the traditional anchor role and is moving away, post-Mansbridge, to a multihost format rather than anchoring The National in one middle-aged man who delivers the news.

Whatever the new format might be, Peter Mansbridge will be missed by many. Understandably, given his skills and achievements.

Cheers, Pastor, and may the retirement be pleasant and fruitful.
Peter_Mansbridge  farewells  retirement  CBC  unsentimental  television  journalists  Canada150  John_Doyle 
july 2017 by jerryking
Wilbur Ross brings art of restructuring to Team Trump
JANUARY 21, 2017 | FT| by: Philip Delves Broughton.

“When you start out with your adversary understanding that he or she is going to have to make concessions, that’s a pretty good background to begin.”

So all this stuff about tariffs and walls and protectionism turns out to be pure gamesmanship.......In his career as an investment banker at NM Rothschild and then running his own business, WL Ross & Co, he has shown repeatedly how he can dive into an industrial dung heap and emerge with a fistful of dollars and not a speck on his silk tie......... Working on his own account, Mr Ross’s most famous deal was his purchase of an ailing group of US steelmakers in 2002, shortly before President George W Bush imposed tariffs on imports of steel. Mr Ross used the protection to fix the operations, cut debt and draft new contracts with workers. He was able to take the company public in 2003 and sell it two years later to the Indian steel mogul Lakshmi Mittal.

He has pulled off similar tricks, mostly successfully in coal mining, textiles and banking, immersing himself again and again in new industries and the minutiae of the laws, trade rules and contracts that govern them.

As a student at Harvard Business School, Mr Ross was mentored by Georges Doriot, a pioneering advocate for venture capital, who said: “People who do well in life understand things that other people don’t understand.”
For bothering to understand things that most people don’t, Mr Ross deserves more credit than he gets. He is often easily dismissed as a vulture or someone who buys low and sells high. But what he has done is hard. The devil in restructuring is in the grinding detail of voluminous contracts and difficult, often highly emotional negotiations.
arcane_knowledge  bankruptcy  contracts  detail_oriented  dispassion  emotions  gamesmanship  Georges_Doriot  hard_work  imports  HBS  inequality_of_information  Lakshmi_Mittal  leverage  messiness  minutiae  moguls  negotiations  new_industries  Philip_Delves_Broughton  preparation  protectionism  restructurings  sophisticated  steel  tariffs  thinking_tragically  unsentimental  vulture_investing  Wilbur_Ross 
january 2017 by jerryking
The Money Letter That Every Parent Should Write - The New York Times
By RON LIEBER JUNE 17, 2016

"....consider the old-fashioned letter. It’s long enough to tell some tales to bolster your advice, and if it’s written with enough soul, there’s a good chance the recipient will keep it for a long time. Plus, it’s a literal conversation piece, since the good letters will inspire more curiosity about how the writers oversee their own financial affairs....A good letter, according to Ms. Palmer, should include at least one story about a large financial challenge and another one about a big money triumph. Then, include a list of crucial habits and the tangible things they have helped the family achieve.

HEED YOUR IGNORANCE Quite often, the best stories and takeaways come from the biggest mistakes.
BEWARE OF GENIUS: Don’t trust the person who claims to be omniscient either.
STICK TO YOUR SELLING PLANS We can be blinded by flattery from the seats of power,” “Be aware of this in your business lives.” Selling something that is still valuable is the hardest part of any trade, he added. So if you can’t name three good reasons to continue owning something, then it’s time to sell.
BUDGETS ARE ABOUT VALUES. What you spend says a lot about what you stand for, and if you don’t like what your own notebook says about you, try to make it look different next month.
personal_finance  parenting  Communicating_&_Connecting  writing  investing  investors  mentoring  values  budgets  advice  self-discipline  lessons_learned  wisdom  habits  financial_planning  ownership  ignorance  origin_story  takeaways  family  storytelling  financial_challenges  family_office  generational_wealth  soul-enriching  coverletters  unsentimental 
june 2016 by jerryking
Eight steps to making better decisions as a manager - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, May 08, 2016

Write down the key facts that need to be considered. Too often we jump into decisions and ignore the obvious.

Write down five pre-existing goals or priorities that will be affected by the decision.

Write down realistic alternatives – at least three, but ideally four or more.

Write down what’s missing. Information used to be scarce. Now it’s so abundant it can distract us from checking what’s missing (jk: i.e. the commoditization of information)

Write down the impact your decision will have one year in the future. By thinking a year out, you are separating yourself from the immediate moment, lessening emotions. [Reminiscent of Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 rule. When you’re about to make a decision, ask yourself how you will feel about it 10 minutes from now? 10 months from now? and 10 years from now? People are overly biased by the immediate pain of some choice, but they can put the short-term pain in long-term perspective by asking these questions].

Involve at least two more people in the decision but no more than six additional team members. This ensures less bias, more perspectives, and since more people contributed to the decision, increased buy-in when implementing it.

Write down what was decided, as well as why and how much the team supports the decision.

Schedule a follow-up in one to two months.
Harvey_Schachter  decision_making  goals  buy-in  options  unknowns  following_up  note_taking  dissension  perspectives  biases  information_gaps  long-term  dispassion  alternatives  think_threes  unsentimental  Suzy_Welch  commoditization_of_information  process-orientation 
may 2016 by jerryking
If I was...setting out to be an entrepreneur - FT.com
January 15, 2014 | FT | By Daniel Isenberg.

“Worthless Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value”.

...If I were setting out as an entrepreneur today, I would buy an existing company to scale up rather than build a start-up from scratch. I would make incremental tweaks of improvement rather than innovate, exercise cool judgment rather than hot passion and build my departure plan from day one...a lot of great businesses, such as PayPal [the online payments system] and Kaspersky [the internet security company] are carved out of, or combined from, existing assets, or are family businesses taken sky-high by the second or third generation...Rather than start a new company, I would buy a rusty old business to fix up and grow as fast as I could. I want a discarded company that is undervalued but can be dusted off, refurbished with vision and talent, and scaled up. I would be talking to venture capitalists....I know that proprietary technology is not a market maker by itself. Great marketing and management almost always trump big innovation.

Minnovation – small tweaks on existing products – is what moves the ball of economic growth forward. Neither Facebook nor Google, for example, were technology pioneers.

Big innovations are few and far between and are often the stuff of large companies with long patience and deep pockets....Next, I would drain my venture of passion and replace it with commitment, hard work and realistic and relentless self-assessment....start with a stark test of harsh neon lights, exposing every flaw and crack long before the market does so that I can fix them before the customers vote with their feet....plan one's passionless departure from the start, creating a platform to allow the talented people and partners I hire to outperform me very soon.
entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  rules_of_the_game  unglamorous  books  Daniel_Isenberg  advice  howto  passions  exits  lessons_learned  turnarounds  contrarians  scaling  minnovation  undervalued  under-performing  carveouts  family_business  proprietary  incrementalism  self-assessment  customer_risk  breakthroughs  large_companies  vision  refurbished  spin-offs  hard_work  dispassion  marketing  management  commitments  marginal_improvements  unsentimental  outperformance 
january 2014 by jerryking
The Young & Restless of Technology Finance
November 1993| The Red Herring | Anthony B. Perkins.

We think that marketing is everything. We try to help our companies figure out what is going to set them apart. We encourage companies to define their biggest risks-up front, work hard to put the risks behind them, and then move forward with very innovative marketing...During the interview process, you see whether entrepreneurs have passion and tenacity. The hardest thing to determine is their ability to stick-to-it. Entrepreneurs need to be very dynamic, wi11ing to adjust. And that's why an important part of our process is checking references, we have to be convinced the entrepreneur has never give up, even when things get tough. In other words, when Plan A work, because Plan A never works, we like to hear entrepreneurs say "That's O.K.,Plan B is on its way. I've twisted this valve and turned this knob and I really think we've figured it out." What we don't like to hear is "Well,it didn't work out...sorry." We also like to see entrepreneurs who are singularly focused on building -great products that fill distinct market needs. We are less interested in people who like nice digs, hype,and PR.

Moritz: ‘We have a very tight on making sure there is a sizable market opportunity in front. of us before we make an investment. We are much more focused on market growth potential and the ability for a company to reach a market successfully and profitably. We have also demonstrated as a firm and individually the ability to get companies off the ground with a small amount of fuel. We like to start wicked infernos with a single match rather than two million gallons of kerosene. This is clearly a differentiated way of getting a company put together. This approach has terrific benefits for the people who start the companies and for all our limited partners. You might say that we have a morbid fascination with our ROI, as opposed no the amount of dollars we put to work. And this is a very different message than you get from a lot of other venture firms.
The: HERRING: How often does a Sequoia partner actually go in and help operate a company?

Moritz: Pierre is the great unsung hero of Cisco Systems. He spent a tremendous amount of time at the company. working behind the scenes helping to make sure the engineering department was designing and getting new products to market. People don't realize the significant contribution Pierre made to Cisco because Don's name is on the hubcaps as the chairman of the company. The ability we have to help operate companies is a useful tool in our arsenal.

The HERRING: Sequoia's image on the streets of Silicon Valley is that you are the Los Angeles Raiders of venture capital--the tough guys who are quicker than the other firms to boot the CEO or pull the financial plug.
Moritz: We are congenitally incapable of pouring good money after bad. Some people. for their own will thrust us into a position to be harbingers of bad new to management, which is all right. But we do not want to continue propping up a company if we think its chances for success have evaporated. We would be wasting our money as individuals and wasting the money of our limited partners. There have been very few instances where we decided to stop funding a company and have regretted it.
The HERRING: What ’s the hardest part of your job?
Moritz: We usually don't make mistakes when it comes to assessing market opportunity. And we are reasonably accurate in predicting how long it will take to bring a product to market. The great imponderable is to judge accurately and predict how well a president is going to be able to run the business. It is easy to mistake the facade for reality
The HERRING: ‘What characteristics does Sequoia look for in a company president?
Moritz: Frugality, competitiveness. confidence, and paranoia.
venture_capital  vc  howto  Kleiner_Perkins  Sequoia  career_paths  Michael_Moritz  no_regrets  endurance  frugality  competitiveness  paranoia  self-confidence  market_sizing  market_windows  team_risk  market_opportunities  ambitions  large_markets  sticktoitiveness  entrepreneur  perseverance  indispensable  Plan_B  off-plan  champions  reference-checking  unknowns  assessments_&_evaluations  opportunities  unsentimental  wishful_thinking  illusions  overambitious 
july 2012 by jerryking
Due diligence
Apr. 1997 | CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine. 71.3 (): p17.| James G. Webster.

...Woodgate's own process of due diligence started with market conditions and customers, and then worked back through the product line to manufacturing and technology issues and, finally, to detailed financial information, which he believes was the right sequence for someone coming in from the outside.

They conducted an in-depth analysis of the market, sales history, channels of distribution, competition, customer base, and growth opportunities. The profitability and cash flow generated by each product line was analysed, as was the need for product rationalization and investment in technology....After comparing the company's products with those of the competition and interviewing four of Allanson's customers, it was concluded that the company's products were competitive in terms of quality, cost and technology. In fact, Allanson dominated the Canadian market and had a significant share of the U.S. market....Analysis of the size and dynamics of the electric sign industry was based mainly on a detailed report contained in Woodgate's business plan. The report's findings indicated that the market for the company's electric sign products had stabilized and there was reasonable growth potential for Allanson. The statistics and premises of this report were confirmed by independent sources....Woodgate says his most important asset throughout the process was his team of consultants. "Perhaps the greatest test of their skills lies in the last five per cent [JCK: i.e. last_minute] of the due diligence process when important problems sometimes arise with the potential to kill the deal. The buyer, at this stage, has become emotionally committed to the deal and is in no position to assess danger in a balanced, thoughtful way.
buying_a_business  cash_flows  dispassion  due_diligence  emotional_commitment  emotional_connections  howto  last_minute  product_portfolios  product_profitability  RoyNat  unsentimental 
november 2011 by jerryking
Lessons from Private-Equity Masters
June 2002 | Harvard Business Review| by Paul Rogers, Tom Holland, and Dan Haas.

The Four Disciplines of Top Private-Equity Firms

Define an Investment Thesis

Have a three- to five-year plan

Stress two or three key success levers

Focus on growth, not just cost reductions

Don’t Measure Too Much

Prune to essential metrics

Focus on cash and value, not earnings

Use the right performance measures for each business

Link incentives to unit performance

Work the Balance Sheet

Redeploy or eliminate unproductive capital—both fixed assets and working capital

Treat equity capital as scarce

Use debt to gain leverage and focus, but match risk with return

Make the Center the Shareholder

Focus on optimizing each business

Don’t hesitate to sell when the price is right

Act as unsentimental owners

Get involved in the hiring and firing decisions in portfolio companies

Appoint a senior person to be the contact between the corporate center and a business
HBR  Bain  lessons_learned  private_equity  metrics  investment_thesis  measurements  dispassion  incentives  constraints  leverage  focus  sweating_the_assets  unsentimental  debt  owners 
november 2011 by jerryking
Obama’s Man on the Budget - Just 40 and Going Like 60 - NYTimes.com
March 27, 2009 | New York Times| By JODI KANTOR

Profile of OMB director, Peter Orszag, who keeps two books on his desk:
the teachings of Epictetus, a Greek Stoic philosopher who espoused
dispassion and self-discipline, and “The Strenuous Life,” by Theodore
Roosevelt, an ode to pushing oneself as hard as possible.
profile  orszag  books  dispassion  Greek  self-discipline  Stoics  Theodore_Roosevelt  unsentimental 
march 2009 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read