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Leading above Mediocre Thinking

Slides I used during Chicago Camps presentation. I have included my speaker notes as part of the slides.

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Leading above Mediocre Thinking

  1. 1. Lead Above Mediocre Thinking @milouness
  2. 2. Apartheid had a design problem. I led team that analyzed events in South Africa. We were divided as to what we thought would happen. What follows are some of the lessons we learned about thinking.
  3. 3. Streetlights We knew a lot about South African whites. We didn’t know very much about the blacks. We just accepted the information we had as an accurate representation of reality, when in fact it poorly matched reality. Like the legendary drunk looking for his car keys under the streetlights cuz that’s the only place he could see.
  4. 4. Trends are only ever about the past!
  5. 5. I hate it when people say something happened by chance. It reflects sloppy thinking. Chance is a causality you don’t yet understand. Something unusual happens outside your model. You will tend to ascribe it to chance or quirkiness, when it should be a major red flag. There is something going on you do not understand and therefore are not accounting for.
  6. 6. But we also don’t understand what I call exponential causality. Each in
  7. 7. Worst Case We tend to conflate worst case scenario with unlikely. This is wrong. Impact and Probability operate on independent axes.
  8. 8. There are no solutions. Only trade-offs. ~Thomas Sowell My career taught me the the passage of time is the most reliable problem solver. The fact the there are no solutions, only tradeoffs, means that the value systems of the deciders come into play in a big way. You use your value system to determine the “best” tradeoff, to decide what is a benefit and what is not. To minimize the impact of bias and not-well-articulated or explored value systems, individuals and teams should have a conscious approach to thinking. One that you can explain to others so that they can understand and challenge. What follows are some steps to take!
  9. 9. Develop an Analytic Landscape. It’s useful to spend lots of time up front creating an analytic framework. Try to delineate all the aspects of a problem. To do this effectively, diversity of thought is key.
  10. 10. Cynefin Framework remains my favorite first step in thinking about a problem. Figure out where your situation sits on this chart. Note that expertise helps you on the right side and usually hurts you on the left side. The more complex the problem, the less traditional substantive expertise helps you. Articulate Thinking Strategy
  11. 11. Know your Thinking Style
  12. 12. Find Thinking Partner(s) Your thinking partner should be someone who challenges your style of thinking.
  13. 13. Think Together from the Start. Too often collaboration these days is really just deconfliction because it occurs too late in the process.
  14. 14. Respect your Intuition Intuition is your brain detecting a pattern and letting you know without the use of language.
  15. 15. And Emotions! We often do not spend enough time trying to anticipate how people will react emotionally to situations. This is ALWAYS a huge mistake.
  16. 16. der to encourage team members to speak up and offer great ideas. This gif illustrates
  17. 17. Thanks! @milouness carmen@rebelsatwork.com