Showing posts from 2022

Great leadership is about knowing what to optimise for & when.

I participated in a fantastic talk in May 2022 on “Ideological Polarization and Extremism in the 21st Century” led by Jonathan Leader Maynard who is a Lecturer in International Politics at King's College London.  The purpose here focuses on a though I took from Jonathan's talk and his new book, “ Ideology and Mass Killing: The Radicalized Security Politics of Genocides and Deadly Atrocities ,” published by Oxford University Press.   When I started thinking about writing about Peak Paradox, it was driven by a desire to answer a core question I asked myself, individuals, boards and teams; “ what are we/ you optimising for? ” .  It has become my go-to question when I want to explore the complexity of decision making and team dynamics as the timeframe (tactical vs strategic) is determined by the person answering the question. Ultimately individuals in a team, which give the team its capabilities, are driven by different purposes and ideals, which means incentives work differently

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

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.

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?

This post is about being lost — without realising it. source: 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?

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