Monthly Archives: July 2014

What path to take?

When choosing which path to take, there are often several alternatives.

But how do you choose?

One way is use the tool of scenario planning. A framework for putting the issue of focus into perspective. But not just one perspective, it uses melds of ranges of impact and uncertainty to create four storylines.

The benefit of using this model is that you can see clearly what can happen if certain things occur.

Say you are looking to invest in expanding your manufacturing plant. The output from that plant is used by particular customer segment. In order to be satisfied that there will be a payoff for that investment you’ll need to be convinced that that customer segment will be around for the life of that investment.

So the key question is, what are the drivers of change for that particular customer segment? What is likely to happen to your current, and potential, customers throughout the years ahead?

So, by thinking about a range of events that could happen and the impact if they do, risks and opportunities with respect to that investment can be quantified.

 
For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.

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Can you see the whole picture?

Most times when looking for a response to a long term problem we approach it with the same frame of view. Its almost as if we perpetuate the problem we are trying to solve because of some type of limitation in our ability to see things from another perspective.

Well, there are frameworks and models to assist us in our thinking.

One such model is based on Ken Wilber’s “Integral Theory”. Where integral implies seeing the whole picture.

In essence Wilber argues that there are four perspectives to any phenomena:

  1. the systems we share (ie, the exterior collective, social)
  2. the beliefs we share (ie. the interior collective, cultural)
  3. the systems that are me (ie, the exterior individual, behaviours)
  4. the beliefs that are me (ie, the interior individual, intentions)

So, how does this apply in practice?

For example, a team seems to continually come up short with respect to its customer service KPI’s. All previous attempts at improving have been focused on training. Well, how about seeing if other actions would work?

How about reflecting upon the intentions of those in the group. How might those be aligned with what you are trying to achieve? What about considering the systems that the people are working with. Are the IT systems that the team are using fit for the job? And what about the culture of the group? What words and metaphors can you use to describe it?

So, by looking at the problem from a different vantage point the keys to unlocking that issue can be found.

 
For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.

Wrong Assumptions?

When undertaking any form of planning for the future, whether strategic planning, scenario planning, or even environmental scanning, we need to be aware of our assumptions. We need to be aware of our biases.

There’s a story about two European shoe salesmen sent to different parts of a remote
part of Africa to study sales potential. The first reported back that since no one wore shoes, there was zero sales potential. The second reported that since no one wore shoes, the potential was infinite. Both salesman had the same facts, but both viewed the data differently. There interpretations were quite different.

With their different assumptions about why the market conditions were as they were, their conclusions were wildly different.

Are your assumptions right, is your frame of reference the only one that counts, what biases do you bring to the table?

So, what are the range of potential biases that you can have:

  • availability bias: how do recent events impact your responses?
  • framing bias: do you always look at a situation “through the same window frame”?
  • hindsight bias: “I knew it all along” with respect to our previous (wrong) predictions
  • confirmation bias: we only remember the times when we were right

The “anti-dote” for this is to be aware of your limitations. To be aware of how you view things. To understand what your perspective is.

Although its trite, which one of the three outlooks do you see yourself fitting in well with?

“Is the glass half empty, half full, or twice as large as it needs to be?

For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.