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Managing Entrepreneurial Teams

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  • Original post is here:http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/11/why_peter_drucker_distrusted_facts.html
    Management consulting is an industry built on facts. A "fact-based decision" (a phrase that returns 1.8 million Google results) requires legions of analysts to gather and crunch data, and it so happens that consulting firms supply precisely such people. Facts appear to de-politicize decisions, imposing objectivity and facilitating difficult choices. Who but an imbecile could be against reaching for data?
    Peter Drucker, arguably the greatest management scholar of the past century, was certainly no imbecile, yet one of his most important insights gets ignored in the rush for facts. As he wrote in 1973's Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices:
    "Most books on decision-making tell the reader: First find the facts. But executives who make effective decisions know that one does not start with facts. One starts with opinions...The understanding that underlies the right decision grows out of the clash and conflict of divergent opinions and out of serious consideration of competing alternatives. To get the facts first is impossible. There are no facts unless one has a criterion of relevance."
    Drucker provides several theses supporting this broad assertion:
    If we do not make opinions clear, we will simply find confirmatory facts. "No one has ever failed to find the facts they are looking for."
    An opinion provides an untested hypothesis. Once we have clarified the hypothesis, we can test it rather than argue it. "The effective person...insists that people who voice an opinion also take responsibility for defining what factual findings can be expected and should be looked for."
    Decisions are judgments, not a choice between right and wrong. Oftentimes they are "a choice between two courses of action neither of which is probably more right than the other." So we must understand the alternatives fully.
    Big decisions may require new criteria. "Whenever one analyzes the way a truly great, a truly right, decision has been reached, one finds that a great deal of work and thought went into finding the appropriate measurement. The effective decision-maker assumes that the traditional measurement is not the right measurement...The traditional measurement reflects yesterday's decision. That there is a need for a new one normally indicates that the measure is no longer relevant."
    Ironically, opinions break executives free of pre-conceptions and poor imagination. Disagreement is a safeguard against being a prisoner of the organization and seeing an issue just as underlings want. Drucker quotes the famed General Motors boss Alfred P. Sloan, who after hearing executives unanimously support a decision reportedly said, "I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give us time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about."
    Consider how Drucker's view contrasts with the typical corporate process. Decision makers may have a general sense of stakeholders' opinions, but in their eagerness to act and to avoid controversy they do not probe to understand these perspectives fully. Rather, they quickly make a decision and then marshal facts to support it. Indeed, one top consulting firm has boasted for decades of an approach that develops an early hypothesis and refines it over the course of an engagement — rather than testing many competing hypotheses in the search for the one that best represents the truth.
    A company channeling Drucker would tackle matters quite differently. It would surface opinions very clearly, possibly through anonymous questionnaires or structured interviews of key staff by a neutral party. The company would also push executives to state the measure of a good decision, pushing them to think about criteria for future success rather than historical metrics. It would insist that opinions be linked to fact-based tests that would validate or disprove the view. Then it would frame a decision as a true choice between well-elaborated and mutually exclusive alternatives. Rather than focus the process on getting the right answer, it would anchor on asking the right questions.
    Clearly, this approach is more valuable in some situations than others. If a decision is an operational one much like judgments the company has made effectively many times before, and there is little change in the external environment, then there is no reason to tinker with a successful process. However if the company is encountering rapid industry change, poorly understood competitors, or new types of customers, Drucker's view becomes invaluable. The right questions provide a clear compass heading, even if the right answers seem devilishly complex.
    In a time of major shifts in our economy, when disruptive forces seem to lurk around every corner, Drucker's insight of nearly 40 years ago is more pertinent than ever. By all means, find the facts and create agreement. But first know the opinions and seek dissent.
  • A few years ago the devil wanting a meet up with God to chat about what was going on.
    So whats this about
    First mover advantage and there want to have a go as unfair monoopoly
    What’s your big idea – God don’t exist – off you go
    Next review
    Change of tack not great progress, show I exist
    Next session
    Last chance – what your idea – think. I’ll say they can put it off until tomorrow….
    God said “ you may have something there”
    The point – being most of leadership comes don’t to not putting it off…..
  • Transcript

    • 1. tonyfish investor, entrepreneur and author
    • 2. Framing: insights on managing entrepreneurial teams
    • 3. Stand Up
    • 4. Stuff that Costs money Stuff that has to be bigger strategyconsulting trivia disruption Stuff that money cannot buy Love Presents for your wife Networking Faith
    • 5. “If we do not make opinions clear, we will simply find confirmatory facts. ….. No one has ever failed to find the facts they are looking for."
    • 6. “Fact” and stuff you can find anywhere “opinion” and stuff I can share
    • 7. insights on managing entrepreneurial teams
    • 8. Communication Life is a Negotiation Skills are Delivery Chemistry Matters Smarter not Smartest Adapt Agile/ Iterate Now Matters
    • 9. This is want I learnt
    • 10. It doesn’t matter…. I am not employed to be ‘d Do you really need more… socialnetwork
    • 11. Influencers decision fast skills passion “staffing” 7 21 37 77 Growing Pains and Hurdles “revenue” 1 2 5 10 PROJECT LIFESTYLE STRUCTURE GOVERANCE
    • 12. Take Away’s • Nobody knows everything! • Are you willing to stand up and be counted? • Why put it off; now ! • Your opinion matters !? • Simply just “er” • Sport….. • Passion !!!!!!!!
    • 13. Last thought…… next slide: is that repeat of an earlier one Why Why not You have your own reason Commitment to self It is now! Showing passion You want to look entrepreneurial It will not make you a leader For someone else Everyone else is Don’t’ want to stand alone Fear Belief Thinking about it You enjoyed this chat
    • 14. Tell someone why you stood up
    • 15. tony@tonyfish.com @tonyfish