I am just finishing up Billion Dollar Lessons by Paul Carroll and Chunka Mui. The book at the end discusses why we make strategic business mistakes and how to avoid them. The why part is related to another rule I heard recently in regard to technology – The rule is that people value technology they have or use by a factor of 3 more than they are actual worth and discount technology that they don’t know or have by a factor of 3. The result is a factor of about 10 between technology we have and don’t have. This explains passionate differences people have between Macs and PCs or Linux and Windows! The book discusses how we are swayed to decisions based on what we already have, peers and leaders. We as humans have a really difficult time looking at anything objectively as we always have contextual bias. They discuss many ways to try to combat this and I break this down to four things to strive for in management and strategic decision making:
1. Conflict is good – Meetings need conflict otherwise you have false consensus, bad decisions and boring meetings!
2. If necessary, assign someone on the team to be the “devil’s advocate” and postpone the decision until some contrary points are found. Mine for conflict – seek it!
3. Create diverse teams so that you have many perspectives
4. Leadership is important however, be wary of over powerful leadership that squashes anyone who challenges their ideas –Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were great leaders!
I recommend reading the book if you have the time it is entertaining, easy to read and great information.
Here is my previous post on June 1, 2009 if you would like to look at it: