Posts Tagged ‘decision making’

In 100 Words: When to Say No to Good Opportunities

Friday, January 1st, 2021 by Troy Schrock

Most organizations rarely experience a shortage of good opportunities. What is not rare, though, is a shortage of attention span, time, and resources. Despite these limitations, leaders hesitate to keep resources focused on developing the opportunities already in process and say NO to new opportunities.

We get excited and over-value potential returns of the new opportunities. This reveals the flip-side – we under-value the harvest to be gained by bringing our current BEST opportunity to fruition. Fully invest in the opportunity selected as BEST for now until it is mature. Once it is harvested, plenty of new opportunities will be waiting.

“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” Tony Blair

Click here if you would like “In 100 Words” delivered to your inbox twice each quarter.


In 100 Words: Success Anomalies

Thursday, November 1st, 2018 by Troy Schrock

Success anomalies are difficult, if not impossible, to replicate. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop leaders from attempting to repeat a success without first verifying a pattern exists. This over-confidence can result in large investments that don’t return. Organizations can have success anomalies and then stumble as leaders try to repeat past performance in important areas such as:

• Entering new markets
• Hiring senior level people
• Making acquisitions (statistically, the majority fail to deliver expected results).

Make significant investments only where there are clear patterns of positive outcomes. In other cases, make guarded resource commitments since you could be building on an anomaly.

“Everything has its limit – iron ore cannot be educated into gold.” Mark Twain

Click here if you would like “In 100 Words” delivered to your inbox twice each quarter.


In 100 Words: Debrief Discipline

Friday, August 2nd, 2013 by Troy Schrock

Leaders should step back to analyze success or failure at the end of a project or goal period.  “Did we achieve the objective?”  “Have we identified root causes?”  “What role, if any, did fortune play in the final results?”  The simple rigor of capturing lessons learned improves future decisions and actions.  Debriefs often prove to be our most fertile ground for adaptive learning.

We neglect debriefs because we are:

  • Forgetful… sad, but true.
  • Too Busy… we think.
  • Too Excited… by whatever new objective lies ahead.
  • Avoiding Reality… it’s difficult acknowledging failures.

Instead, nurture a debrief discipline for your future benefit.

“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”  (Benjamin Franklin)

Click here to have “In 100 Words” delivered to your inbox twice each quarter.


In 100 Words: Engorging at the Trough of Opportunity

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 by Troy Schrock

One thing that makes Apple CEO Steve Jobs unique is his reported ability to listen to three or four high quality ideas and very matter-of-factly say, “dumb idea…dumb idea…good idea!  That’s the one!”

In contrast, many entrepreneurs and executive teams, when faced with several worthy ideas, will want to pursue each one.  I call it engorging at the trough of opportunity.  There is lots of appealing food, it tastes good, but you walk away bloated and weighted down.

Businesses rarely suffer from lack of opportunity, but few have the discipline to choose the best opportunity and let the others go.

“It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires great strength to decide on what to do.”  (Elbert Hubbard)

Click here to have “In 100 Words” delivered straight to your inbox twice each quarter!


Don’t “Address” Problems; Solve Them!

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 by John Anderson

As an advisor, I frequently find teams who address and analyze problems yet are reluctant to hold one another accountable for solving problems. These teams consist of bright people, and in most cases, they enjoy addressing organizational issues. After all, that’s why they work in leadership positions. However, when it comes to investing the necessary time to tear apart an issue, consider multiple points of view, and garner the collective wisdom of the entire leadership team to implement a solution, they frequently fall short.

Here are some practical suggestions to help you and your team solve the actual problem rather than just address it:

1. Deliberately create a “container” (physically and mentally) in which you focus solely on the problem at hand. Daily huddles and weekly meetings are great times to identify problems, but you must reserve adequate time to drill down on one issue if you ever hope to solve it.

2. Before entering the session, mentally prepare yourself for constructive conflict. Titles, personal feelings, and biases must be checked at the door. Your purpose is to use the collective intelligence of the executive team to solve that one issue, and any conflict should be related to that issue, not personal qualities or abilities. If one team member had all the answers, you would not need to meet. This is not a “me” problem; it’s a “we” problem.

3. Stick to the subject. Straying off on various tangents will only raise additional issues that distract from the matter at hand. Once a problem is identified and defined, set aside a minimum of 20 minutes to focus on it before moving on. If you cannot commit 20 minutes to it, then you should probably table it for a later meeting.

4. At the conclusion of the problem solving meeting, the CEO must ask, “Have we done our best work?” and, “Can you all support this solution?” If anyone gives a “no” to either question, you need to further discuss it now or schedule another “container” when you can.  You are not seeking consensus; you are seeking honest debate followed by agreement to support the final decision, regardless of who initially agreed or disagreed with the idea.


In 100 Words: Inviting Dissent

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 by Troy Schrock

According to Winston Churchill, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary.  It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body.  It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”  The natural response to criticism is to fight back.  The effective response is to pause and consider.  You are not always right; don’t you want to know when you’re wrong so you can correct your course?

Disagreement is good.  Discipline yourself and your team to invite criticism and respond productively.  Choose to pursue the truth rather than defend your turf.

As with any discipline, it takes practice.

“The effective decision-maker, therefore, organizes disagreement.”  (Peter F. Drucker )

Click here to have “In 100 Words” delivered straight to your inbox twice each quarter!