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Will decision making improve if we understand the bias in the decision making unit?

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As a human I know we all have biases, and we all have different biases. We expose certain biases based on context, time, and people. We know that bias forms because of experience, and we are sure that social context reinforces perceived inconstancy.  Bias is like a mirror and can show our good and bad sides. As a director, you have to have experience before taking on the role, even as a founder director. This thought-piece asks if we know where our business biases start from and what direction of travel they create. Business bias is the bias you have right now that affects your choice, judgment and decision making. Business bais is something that our data cannot tell us. Data can tell me if your incentive removes choice or aligns with an outcome.  At the most superficial level, we know that the expectations of board members drive decisions.  The decisions we take link to incentives, rewards and motivations and our shared values .  If we unpack this simple model, we can follow (the b

Ethics, maturity and incentives: plotting on Peak Paradox.

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Ethics, maturity and incentives may not appear obvious or natural bedfellows.  However, if someone else’s incentives drive you, you are likely on a journey from immaturity to Peak Paradox.  A road from Peak Paradox towards a purpose looks like maturity as your own incentives drive you. Of note, ethics change depending on the direction of travel.   ---- In psychology, maturity can be operationally defined as the level of psychological functioning one can attain, after which the level of psychological functioning no longer increases with age.  Maturity is the state, fact, or period of being mature . Whilst immature is not fully developed or has an emotional or intellectual development appropriate to someone younger, I want to use the state of immaturity , which is the state where one is not fully mature.  Incentives are a thing that motivates or encourages someone to do something. Peak Paradox is where you try to optimise for everything but cannot achieve anything as you do not know wh

How do you recognise when your north star has become a black hole?

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This post is about being lost — without realising it. source: https://earthsky.org/space/x9-47-tucanae-closest-star-to-black-hole/ I have my NorthStar, and I am heading for it, but somehow the gravitational pull of a black hole we did not know existed got me without realising it! I am writing about becoming lost on a journey as I emerge from working from home, travel restrictions, lockdowns and masks; to find nothing has changed, but everything has changed. The hope of a shake or wake up call from something so dramatic as a global pandemic is immediately lost as we re-focus on how to pay for the next meal, drink, ticket, bill, rent, mortgage, school fee or luxury item. Have you become so wedded to an economic model that we cannot see that we will not get to our imagined NorthStar? I feel right now that I have gone into a culdesac and cannot find the exit. The road I was following had a shortcut, but my journey planner had a shortcut that assumed I was walking and could hop over the ga

Hostile environments going in the right direction; might be the best place to work?

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Whilst our universe is full of hostile places, and they are engaging in their own right, I want to unpack the thinking and use naturally occurring hostile environments as an analogy to help unpack complex decision making in hostile to non-hostile work environments. ---- I enjoyed reading Anti-Fragile in 2013; it is the book about things that gain from disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb . " Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness , disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk , and uncertainty . Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better. " When writing this, I have the same problem looking for a direct opposite of a Hostile Environment, as in an extreme ecosystem (ecology),   and whilst I have opted for a

Why is being data Savvy not the right goal?

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It is suggested that all which glitters is gold when it comes to data: the more data, the better. I have challenged this thinking that more data is better on numerous occasions, and essentially they all come to the same point. Data volume does not lead to better decisions.    A “simplistic” graph is doing the rounds (again) and is copied below. The two-axis links the quality of a decision and the person's capability with data.  It infers that boards, executives and senior leadership need to be “data-savvy” if they are to make better decisions. Data Savvy is a position between being “data-naive or data-devoid” and “drunk on data.”  The former has no data or skills; the latter is too much data or cannot use the tools. Data Savvy means you are skilled with the correct data and the right tools. This thinking is driven by those trying to sell data training by simplifying a concept to such a point its becomes meaningless but is easy to sell/ buy and looks great as a visual.  When you do

"Hard & Fast" Vs "Late & Slow"

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The title might sound like a movie but this article is about unpacking decision making. We need leaders to be confident in their decisions so we can hold them accountable. We desire leaders to lead, wanting them to be early. They achieve this by listening to the signals and reacting before is is obvious to the casual observer. However, those in leadership who we hold accountable do not want to make the “wrong” decisions. A wrong decision can mean liability, loss of reputation or perceived to be too risky. A long senior leadership career requires navigating a careful path between not takingtoo much risk by going too “early”, which leads to failure, and not being late such that anyone could have made the decision earlier and looking incompetent. Easy leadership does not look like leadership as it finds a path of not being early or late (the majority) When we unpack leadership trends over the past 100 years that include ideas such as improving margin, diversification, reduction, spee

Optimising for “performance” is directional #cop26

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In the week where the worlds “leaders” meet to discuss and agree on the future of our climate at  #COP26 , I remain sceptical about agreements.  At #COP22 there was an agreement to halve deforestation by 2020 ; we missed it, so we have moved the target out.   Here is a review of all the past COP meetings and outcomes. It is hard to find any resources to compare previous agreements with achievements.  Below is from the UN.  The reason I remain doubtful and sceptical is that the decision of 1.5 degrees is framed.  We are optimising for a goal.  In this case, we do not want to increase our global temperature beyond 1.5 degrees.  Have you ever tried to heat water and stop the heating process such that a temperature target was reached. Critically you only have one go.    Try it. Fill a pan with ice and set a target, say 38.4 degrees, use a thermometer and switch off the pan when you think the final temperature will be your target. Did you manage to get within 1.5 degrees of your target?