Strategy. Innovation. Brand.

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I want to be a team player, but....

Managing Agreement: The Abilene Paradox.

I used to think it was difficult to manage conflict. Now I wonder if it isn’t more difficult to manage agreement. A conflicted organization is fairly easy to analyze. The signs are abundant. You can quickly identify the conflicting groups as well as the members of each. You can identify grievances simply by talking with people. You can figure out who is “us” and who is “them”. Solving the problem may prove challenging but, ...

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Loss aversion bias? Or maybe I'm just satisficing?

Debiasing and Corporate Performance

Over the past several years, I’ve written several articles about cognitive biases. I hope I have alerted my readers to the causes and consequences of these biases. My general approach is simple: forewarned is forearmed. I didn’t realize that I was participating in a more general trend known as debiasing. As Wikipedia notes, “Debiasing is the reduction of bias, particularly with respect to judgment and decision making.” The basic idea is that we can ...

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Houston we have a problem .. but we'd rather not talk about it.

Failure Is An Option

The movie Apollo 13 came out in 1995 and popularized the phrase “Failure is not an option”. The flight director, Gene Kranz (played by Ed Harris), repeated the phrase to motivate engineers to find a solution immediately. It worked. I bet that Kranz’s signature phrase caused more failures in American organizations than any other single sentence in business history. I know it caused myriad failures – and a culture of fear – in my ...

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Persuasion is more important than physics.

Physics Versus Rhetoric

Most social sciences have a bad case of physics envy. They covet physics’ certainty, precision, and predictability. That’s certainly the case with rhetoric, the discipline that deals with the art and science of persuasion. Physics allows us to make precise this-then-that statements. If we do this, then that is certain to happen. Those of us who teach rhetoric would love to have the same certainty. We would love to say, “If we arrange our ...

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Too Much Rhetoric? Or Not Enough?

Too Much Rhetoric? Or Not Enough?

In the Western world, the art of persuasion (aka rhetoric), appeared first in ancient Athens. We might well ask, why did it emerge there and then, as opposed to another place and another time? In his book, Words Like Loaded Pistols, Sam Leith argues that rhetoric blossomed first in Greece because that's where democracy emerged. Prior to that, we didn't need to argue or persuade or create ideas -- at least not in the public sphere. We just ...

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Now that's risky.

Are Men Bigger Risk Takers Than Women?

Most people (in America at least) would probably agree with the following statement: Men are bigger risk takers than women. Several research studies seem to have documented this. Researchers have asked people what risky behaviors they engage in (or would like to engage in). For instance, they might ask a randomly selected group of men and women whether they would like to jump out of an airplane (with a parachute). Men – more often than ...

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The content on this website is divided into four areas: Strategy, Innovation, Brand, and Critical Thinking

  • Strategy — materials in this section focus on the definition of strategy, how to plan your strategy and achieve a consensus around it, and how to execute on your strategy.
  • Innovation — what is innovation and how does it differ from invention? How can you stimulate sustaining innovation? How can you spot a disruptive innovation and defend against it before it kills your business?
  • Brand — brand is in the eye of the beholder. You’ll need to communicate simple, consistent messages make the image crystal clear. You’ll also need to be persuasive. The materials in this section teach you all about it.
  • Critical Thinking – before you can improve your strategy and brand or stimulate innovation, you often need to improve your thinking. The materials in this section help you think about your thinking so you can improve it.
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