Posts Tagged ‘decision making’

Getting Out of Your Own Way

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

What he had taught me was…that if I let myself go, did not slow myself down by thinking so much beforehand, I could achieve many things I would never have dreamed possible.

Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses

Recently, a successful CEO client told me, “I’m not good at decisions. I get caught up in possibilities.” Later that day, I ran across the above quote in Petterson’s remarkable novel, and I thought, “How often do we make ourselves our own biggest obstacle?”

Petterson’s character is talking about learning as a boy to become reckless, but his learning equally applies to becoming creative, decisive, empathetic, more communicative, a better listener – all the skills related to Leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons from Libya: When to Do Nothing

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Sometimes, your best choice of action is to do nothing, and sometimes that is not an easy decision. I was reminded of this during the world’s recent challenge to decide how to deal with Gadhafi in Libya.

Julie Straw in The 4-Dimensional Manager discusses when doing nothing is your best choice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Entrepreneurs, Where Can You Find Help?

Monday, December 20th, 2010

It’s a big bad world out there. Anyone who says they never need help is either lying or in denial. But when it’s your company, it is often difficult to know where to turn. Here is a brief list of thought-starters. Read the rest of this entry »

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Manage Your Priorities to Be More Effective

Monday, November 29th, 2010

[This post is excerpted from our new ebook, ROADMAPP]

The highest priority when discussing Priorities is recognizing that there’s not much to say about prioritizing. But what there is to say is important.

Inevitably, as you execute your business plan, you will find yourself overcommitted. Unexpected crises will demand attention. What looked simple will turn complicated. You will unexpectedly discover that your perfect money machine has too many moving parts, and you can’t keep them all oiled. You, the master juggler, will suddenly find there are too many balls in the air.

How to get back in control? If you can’t grow more hands, which balls should be dropped? Read the rest of this entry »

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How Can Leaders Manage the Unforeseeable?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

[The following is excerpted from our new ebook, ROADMAPP]

Great leaders have a bias towards Action. They plot their course, set their sails, and point their helm at their destination. They strike a noble pose, appearing to all as masters of their fate.

Except that even the best sailors get blown off course with great regularity.

The Bad News: No matter how good your preparation and decision making, plans never, ever, ever go according to plan. Build your plan knowing that something else will happen.

The Good News: You can correct your course. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our Innate Irrationality

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Think you make decisions rationally? Pride yourself on your control of logic? Think again. Science is against you. Decades of research support the view that humans, including you, are biased towards irrationality. Some scientists even argue that evolution favors irrationality.

How can leaders make the best decisions, given they have logical blind spots?

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Facts, Intuition, and Errors

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Leadership is the art of balancing multiple priorities and multiple stakeholders with multiple needs. How do you strike the right balance for any decision? Turns out that making balanced decisions requires … balancing.

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Black, White, Gray, & Something Completely Different

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

A core competency of leadership is the balancing of competing needs and constituencies. There is a right way to do this and a wrong way. To do it right, think like a painter: you need both black and white. If you do it wrong, you get a palette full of gray. There are three key skills needed to avoid gray in the quest for balance:

  • Cultivating diversity rather than  uniformity
  • Recognizing which of a range of ideas is most appropriate to the moment
  • Knowing how to build on opposing ideas to reach a superior solution

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Balance vs Extremism

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

“We’ll meet on edges soon, said I” – Bob Dylan

It sometimes seems that all organizations and movements are surrounded by powerful magnets pulling them off their centers. The French Revolution, which began with a Declaration of the Rights of Man, quickly devolved into the Reign of Terror. Recently Newsweek published an article by Jacob Weisberg about how Irving Kristol’s intellectual neocon movement of the ’70′s got hijacked by emotional ideologues. A recent WSJ article discussed how the GOP leadership’s strategy to rebuild after 2008 by attracting moderates was overwhelmed by tea party extremists. History is filled with similar examples.

I call it the Than Thou Syndrome. Read the rest of this entry »

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Incentives and Consequences

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Peter Drucker famously wrote, “What gets measured, gets managed.” A less noticed corollary is that, as Dr. Deming pointed out, what gets measured can drive unintended consequences.

This came to mind recently when several small business clients within a few weeks asked me how to reorganize as woman-owned businesses. It seems that the government, as part of a policy to encourage women entrepreneurship, incents them to form businesses by setting aside a percentage of some contracts for small companies that are 51% or more owned by women.

The policy has been apparently successful. From 1997 to 2006, the number of women-owned service businesses increased by 69% and retail businesses by 130%.

Only one problem. The numbers are suspect.

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Wisdom and Diversity

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, the admirable Peggy Noonan wrote that the age of youthful leaders should be brought to a close, and that the world needs more leadership built on the wisdom that only age and experience can bring. She’s part right – she just doesn’t take the thought far enough.

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Can’t Decide How to Decide? Here’s How – Part 2

Thursday, June 17th, 2010
Many leaders stumble when they need to make decisions. Some undermine team engagement by being too authoritative, thus endangering the quality of implementation. Others are so considerate to the feelings of others that decisions don’t get made at all or too slowly, or are dumbed down to the least objectionable compromise. Here we continue our series on How to Decide.

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Can’t Decide How To Decide? Here’s How – Part 1

Friday, May 7th, 2010

I have often received feedback that I am decisive to the point of sometimes being seen as impulsive. But then I have also often been told I am too cautious and analytical. Some have seen me as firm, resolute, and unwavering, others complain that I flipflop like a trout. How to reconcile these extremes? Easy. Here are my previously undisclosed decision-making secrets to those who struggle. Note to select former bosses: you know who you are. (This is Part 1, the framework for approaching a decision. Part 2 will review decision-making process).

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