When the First Step is a Misstep

Problem solving involves many steps, with each requiring decision-making before proceeding to the next toward ultimately resolving the issue. While each step is important, when problems are complex the most critical is the first because it is among the most difficult.  In simple or structured problem situations the issue is quite self-evident, but in complex or unstructured problem situations it is not readily apparent. Continue reading

Data Should Lead to Understanding

In a Baseline Scenario article titled Bad Data James Kwak stated,  “to make a vast generalization, we live in a society where quantitative data are becoming more and more important. Some of this is because of the vast increase in the availability of data, which is itself largely due to computers. Some is because of the vast increase in the capacity to process data, which is also largely due to computers.”  Although computers have made the collection and accumulation of data much easier, so much so that we can get overwhelmed with information, computers are not the reason we are unable to understand and use data appropriately. Continue reading

Leadership is Heroic

As many of the previous essays suggest leadership is a rather complex concept—not detail complex but dynamically complex.  That is, it is deeply and inextricably connected to our very nature.  Accordingly it is a notion that we have conceived to help us in fulfilling a distinctly human need we all share, the need for self-actualization.  That is to actualize our potential as human beings. Continue reading

Growing Out of Capability

As a business enterprise grows the more people it employs and correspondingly it comprises greater diversity in skill and knowledge. In short, the enterprise becomes more complex.  Unfortunately all too often as it grows a shift in the businesses’ purpose-in-practice occurs, especially if it becomes a publically traded business.  Yes of course Wall Street adds its requirements! The resultant organization will be quite different from the entrepreneurial enterprise from which it grew. Continue reading

A Matter of Results

It seems we are obsessed with results.  We conduct life as if results are the only things that matter. To most results by any means are results just the same.  We manage by results, we define problems by results, we define our job by results, we make individuals accountable for results, we cause harm to others in the pursuit of results, we cheat and lie to show results, and we even define our self by the results we get.  Just look around and you will see that results—and getting them now—are all that matters. Continue reading

Leading the Bottom from the Top

Leading from the top presents many challenges—you could also think of these as responsibilities—that have an impact on the viability of the enterprise. How do you maintain the energy that supported the growth of the business from its inception?  Whether the enterprise is new or old, this challenge is the same. Continue reading

Objects or Subjects

Newton’s laws of motion afford the quantification of the motion of matter (i.e. objects) and correspondingly by way of calculation the determination of the movement of the objects.   It is because of these laws we can determine the effect of two objects interacting (colliding), such as when a golf club hits a golf ball or what happens when we try to move a large object without applying an adequate external force.

Given that the conception of our system of economics was informed by Newtonian mechanics, it is not surprising to see J.B. Watson’s and B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism—the use of the stimulus-response—informing the methods of management. Just as Newton was able to precisely determine the movement of objects, management theorist and practitioners sought a similar result for the behavior of people. Continue reading