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Mary Jo Asmus

Love this Steve. I too find way to much action BEFORE reflection and conversation. This results in a lot of waste. I understand the reasons for it - taking action is so satisfying. And our businesses and organizations, with their quarter-by-quarter mindset have encouraged quick action. We all need to slow down a bit.

Best wishes with your speaking engagement today - even with the final preposition in the title.

Don Perkins

Steve

I've seen so much of this in business and it always makes me shake my head in wonder; it's a wonder businesses manage to stay afloat with such poor decision making processes! For some program management has begun to stem the tide, but adds an additional layer of sludge and expense. What your proposing makes good sense. On your last point, this would definitely weed out the dreamers if managers were on the hook for meeting metrics for new projects.

Don F Perkins

http://donfperkins.blogspot.com

Rodney Johnson

Steve, unfortunately there is a "if I tell you, I'd have to kill you" mentality that too often surfaces when it comes to strategy research. For instance, we can't do market research because the competition might catch wind of what we're thinking. In essence, we do a head fake, where we commonly are the faker and the fakee.

To attack some of these issues on a proactive, I've started to conduct organizational audits in search of silent problems and the truth. I'm amazed what is found inside the organization with a brief 30 minute conversation. Too many companies underestimate the knowledge of their employees. By simply asking, they will tell you what is really going on.

Steve

Hear hear! For some, doing the wrong thing is better than doing nothing. I think the decision to do something will be far better thought out if the "stake your job on the outcome" type of thinking is applyed. My only caution is not to swing the metronome to far the other way and kill off potentially great ideas out of fear of failure.

Melanie Kissell

Interesting analogy, Steve! I've been a medical professional for over a quarter of a century and I would have to give you a thumbs up here. A prognosis is what's likely to happen, but not necessarily what will happen -- a guess.timation

It's foolish to concoct a prognosis without first performing all the diagnostics.

Shawn Murphy

Thank you for advocating the prognosis "phase" before diagnosing a situation. I've seen managers, leaders, and fellow consultants overly rely on their gut, experiences, and/or large egos and jump immediately to solutions. It's good to have passion about an idea, but as you point out, back it up with data.

Steve Roesler

Hi, Mary Jo,

Appreciate the good wishes. It went well, even with the preposition someplace other than where it was supposed to be at:-)

Speed kills; so does prognosis without diagnosis. We are indeed in a time where "fast" seems to trump all else. Which is a bit baffling, since *quality* and *value* are both highly touted but seldom come as a result of warp speed.

Steve Roesler

Steve,

I've always liked the question, "Would you bet your job on your decision?"

But you interject a powerful point. If decisions are second-guessed and every "wrong" decision turns into some kind of punitive reaction, nothing of consequence will be brought forth in the future.

Most places with which I work are pretty open about decision making. That is: "Make a good case, roll with it, and if it doesn't work out, it's not because you didn't think it through and we didn't see the merit. Not everything will work all the time."

Thanks for weighing in. . .

Steve Roesler

Melanie,

I now feel upgraded, having been anointed by an official medical professional:-)

I don't mind a guesstimate if I'm sneezing and have a fever. I'd really prefer a full diagnostic, though, if I had a headache for three days running.

Steve Roesler

Hi, Shawn,

I'm glad you mentioned consultants. I believe our role is to do a solid diagnostic regardless of what a prospective client says on the phone call about the situation. It's the responsible path to take, it adds real value--even if it affirms the client/customer observation--and is the only way to know what action is the right action.

Steve Roesler

Hello, Don,

Yes, the program management approach is deliberate but the "sludge and expense" may not be worth it all the time.

There was a period of time that lasted for about, oh, 20 years, when just about every manager in any company of consequence was taught systematic questioning designed to do accurate situation analysis. Recently, I've noticed that what was once considered a "must do" investment in employee development has almost disappeared. That is one area of professional development that gives a measurable payoff; I'm sorry to see it shoved aside and hope that it will be resurrected.

Steve Roesler

Rodney, you are on to it. Keep it up.

One of the reasons that I wrote this post was due to a recent similar experience, which is actually quite normal in my line of work. A series of half-hour interviews yielded a depth of truth re: a situation that has plagued a particular organization. Had anyone inside the company kicked back and said, "So, here's what we think is going on, what do you see?", they would have gotten the same information.

That seems to be an approach that is difficult for many organizations to take and has enabled me to put our daughter through college:-)

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