An original post from John Caswell
I asked him what is the equation for avoiding stupidity in business. He grabbed a chalk and walked to the wall. “Ah the theory of everything! Damn it!” He seemed animated. “Vell we need to use logic and quantum physics. It is zimply complex. You von’t understand eet. Even I don’t quite get it yet.”
He scribbled madly as I tried to decipher the man’s obsession with calculus and his disdain for muesli. He didn’t stop for 35 minutes. I had 6 coffees – he was a blur with all that chalk and mumbling. He said – “The trouble eez we cannot accurately factor for all zis change at present.”
And then suddenly there was this ‘think’ of beauty on the wall. The great man was done. He left muttering something about a black whole. I was trying to photograph the man grappling with the elevator in my apartment.
Improving your chances in business probably means change right? Everyone is searching for the right answer. Getting this right is tough. Right? And everyone around has their view and those are all different so it makes your head hurt! What are you going to do?
Who are you going to trust? Three words of advice –
RIGOROUS IMPARTIALITY + GOAL CONGRUENCY
____________________________ = THE RIGHT ANSWER
Neutrality. Co-Creation. Rigor.
Now I would expect people to say WTF! What does that mean? Bullshit and jargon? I have never been able to find the right words for this so if it is bullshit then ‘whatever’. If you care about how that all adds up to a tin of beans then read on.
Neutrality. In my head ‘neutrality’ is all about having no dog in the fight. How can we discuss anything about anything complex like transformation or strategy with a fixed opinion or a preset agenda! Being rigorously impartial is a great place to be!
Co-Creation. And co-creation means working through stuff together. Emerging with fresh thoughts as a team. Surfacing insights as a collective. Sharing and then owning the outcomes. This is true alignment. And that adds up to Goal Congruency.
Rigor. Rigor means putting the work in. Risk is not a bad thing – in fact it’s an essential ingredient. But being lazy about the smart choices open to you by just not thinking it all through is unacceptable. Getting to a rigorous decision is imperative – we call this Decision Quality. Doh!
Thanks Albert – I hope you enjoyed breakfast.
Avoiding Stupidity. The Equation Principles:
1. Rigorous Impartiality. Having no vested interest in the outcome is a powerful place from which to ask the right questions. It means being interested in the correct solution to the puzzle. +
2. Goal Congruency. Alignment on the vision, mission and strategy is essential. Shared and coherent definitions on everything is essential for a high performance strategy. Over
3. Decision Quality. Making quality decisions means to reduce risk in the right outcome by knowing that all the data is as good as it can be and the correct choices are being made. =
4. The Right Answer. Every enterprise wants success. Whether it’s an overall strategy or vision, business plan or transformed business – having the correct, least risk strategy and plan is the challenge.
So, armed with a clear, agreed and compelling ‘exam question’ teams can ‘work’ this equation until the answers emerge logically through the right frameworks.
One of the ‘right’ frameworks to use is that associated with the Organization Optimizer.
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