RESOURCES

Create Tension and Find a Better Solution

Strategy

Several years ago, I read Roger Martin’s, The Opposable Mind, and immediately saw the need and opportunity for integrative thinking.  Martin proposes that we don’t have to choose between two unsatisfying paths but if we think deeply enough, we can identify a third path that captures the desired benefits of the other two.  After writing the book and promoting the concept, Martin realized  telling people they just needed to “think harder” didn’t help very much.  His latest book, Creating Great Choices, (co-authored with Jennifer Reil) provides the methodology to move beyond an interesting idea to an approach that helps…

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What am I Missing?

Leadership

Although I have enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell’s writings over the years, my initial reaction to his latest book, Talking to Strangers, was a bit lukewarm based completely on the title. It sounded like a self-help book for introverts. But after reading a few reviews, I realized the book had something to offer to the leadership conversation. Gladwell adds his voice to the chorus of writers reminding us we are not as competent as we think we are in some very important aspects of communication and decision making.

 

In Gladwell style, he illustrates his points with stories from the world of espionage,…

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Overcoming the Blame Game

Leadership

One of the leadership lessons learned in your first management assignment is the responsibility for the actions of others.  While team activities may be a big part of growing up, most academic and extra-curricular activities focus on your individual performance. Grades given by teachers are intended to reflect individual learning and performance.   The team may win or lose but the players generally know their personal statistics and remember well the coach’s feedback about their specific actions. So, the first time you receive negative feedback because someone else performed poorly can come as quite a shock.   

 

Some emerging leaders embrace…

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Don’t Let the Past Limit Today’s Options

Leadership

Failed military battles produce some of our best leadership lessons. In hindsight it becomes clear whether it was simply a lack of resources, a flawed strategy, a superior enemy or a series of unforced leadership errors.  Errors like a lack of preparation or poor decision making and communication can often be traced back to pride, overconfidence and fear.  Usually these errors are not the result of a single mistake in thinking or action, but a series of cascading miscalculations and leadership behaviors.

 

In David McCullough’s book, Pioneers,about the settling of the Ohio Valley after the American Revolutionary War, he chronicles a…

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Hoping For the Worst

Strategy

Most effective decision-making approaches seek to identify risks and to create some mitigation strategies. But what if you could design a solution so you actually do better under worsening conditions.  This is part of the premise behind the concept of “Antifragility” introduced by Nassem Taleb who also gave us “The Black Swan” concept. (A difficult to predict event that has catastrophic consequences). 

 

When we develop complicated systems with lots of interdependent parts we create greater probabilities that failure will occur. So, we create additional systems and processes to raise the level of resilience and robustness. Taleb draws a distinction between resilience and…

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