Blog Posts

Author Posts for: ‘Phil-admin’

RIP Robert M Pirsig – Why ‘Zen and the Art’ is a discourse on Quality that managers should read

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: in reality a discourse on quality. I was doubly disappointed to hear that Robert M Pirsig had died today. First because his book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance was one of the most influential that I read as a teen ager in the 1970s. Secondly, I was extremely disappointed to hear …

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Upside down organisational charts: insights and value from a different perspective

  Inverted or upside down organisational charts are drawn with a purpose: to invite executives to think differently about their organisation and their role.  This article explains how to draw them upside down (it is not simply turned upside down) and how the changed perspective alters how Executives and managers think about their role in the organisation. [Note I see examples …

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Why fly an untested strategy: Testing your organisation’s strategy against the external environment

You would not fly a plane  or drive a car that was untested – so why do we sometimes try to execute untested strategies? There are lots of ways to test a business strategy and check its validity.  Recently, I was running a strategy workshop for an Executive team of an international retail bank: I was delighted when the Executive team did one …

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Thinking fast and slow: How we really make executive decisions

Last year I wrote a couple of blog posts about “Thinking fast and slow with strategy” that became some of my most visited posts.  The posts were inspired by the book by Daniel Kanhemann, “Thinking Fast and Slow”.   I strongly recommend you get a copy and read it if you haven’t already, Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel prize for his …

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Decision Making and Decision Taking: Why do we not notice the difference

In some of my other blog posts I make a clear distinction between decision making and decision taking. When we make a decision we (literally) construct that decision: decision making is decision construction. When we take a decision we commit to action: decision taking is decision commitment. You can read about the difference in my six frogs post and the …

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The six frogs and decision making

Here is a question for you: There are six frogs on a wall.  Two frogs decide to jump off.  How many frogs are now on the wall? OK, I’ll save you the embarrassment: there are six. Why? The two frogs only decided to jump off; they did not actually jump off. Sorry! First, the difference between deciding – and acting …

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Helpfully stolen accountability – a lesson in delegation, accountability and decision making control

Let me tell you the story of the curious case of missing financial control. In one organisation we worked with, the objective was to develop the autonomy and capability of various business units, located in separate properties around the country.   The company ran multiple properties, around the country, where each property was designed to be a profit-making profit centre. …

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Strategy does not exist without tensions

Many years ago I realised something while working with clients on their strategy.  I realised that there were points in the strategy process and in strategy workshops, when the strategy, as explored, discussed and articulated, was clearly NOT complete.  We did not have the whole story.  Something important was missing. Then, we would reach a point, or go through a …

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Quick consensus suggests bad decisions

According to Peter Drucker, “all the first-rate decision makers I’ve observed had a very simple rule: “If you have quick consensus on an important matter, do not make the decision. Acclamation means nobody has done the homework”.  In my experience working with management teams this makes a lot of sense, for two reasons: It probably does mean that options and …

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Balanced Scorecards as steering wheels

As you browse the web or read articles you will come across various “Balanced Scorecards” that are represented as steering wheels or jigsaw puzzles or other symbolic pictures.  The most well known example of this is the Tesco Steering wheel (from around 20 years ago), though many others exist  (Just search Google for ‘Scorecard steering wheel images (google search – …

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