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decisioni strategiche

How can we build a structured approach to strategic decisions?

April 29th, 2022 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “How can we build a structured approach to strategic decisions?”
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Reducing errors in judgement requires a disciplined process. All strategic decisions share a common feature: they are evaluative judgments.  To make such tough calls, people must boil down a large amount of complex information. Strategic decisions tend to involve the distillation of complexity into a single path forward.

Given how unreliable human judgement is, all evaluations are susceptible to errors that may come from known cognitive biases or random errors, sometimes called noise. Unreliability in judgement has long been recognised and studied, particularly in the context of decision-making about hiring. 

Researchers drew inspiration from that body of research and experience to suggest a practical, broadly applicable approach to reducing errors in strategic decision-making. Researchers call it the Mediating Assessments Protocol (MAP). MAP is a structured approach to grounding strategic decisions, like structured interviews, in mediating assessments. It has three core elements:

Define the assessments in advance

The decision maker must identify a handful of mediating assessments, that is, key attributes that are critical to the evaluation. In the decision to acquire a company, for example, the assessments could include anticipated revenue synergies or qualifications of the management team. This process is similar to one a hiring committee would follow when creating a job description that outlines the attributes required for success in the position.

Use fact-based, independently made assessments 

People who weigh in on one aspect of a strategic option should not be influenced by one another or by other dimensions of the option. Their opinions should be grounded in the evidence available. 

This approach is comparable to a wellorganised structured interview process, in which job seekers are scored on each key attribute solely on the basis of their answers to relevant questions, calibrated using predefined scales.

Make the final evaluation when the mediating assessments are complete

Unless a dealbreaker fact is uncovered (for instance, evidence of accounting fraud at the acquisition target), the final decision should be discussed only when all key attributes have been scored and a complete profile of assessments is available. 

This is similar to having a hiring committee review all the evaluations made by each interviewer on each key requirement of the job description before making a decision on a candidate. The use of mediating assessments reduces variability in decision-making because it seeks to address the limitations of mental model formation, even though it cannot eliminate them entirely. 

By delineating the assessments clearly and in a fact based, independent manner, and delaying final judgement until all assessments are finished, MAP tempers the effects of bias and increases the transparency of the process, as all the assessments are presented at one time to all decision makers. 

For example, because salient or recent pieces of information are not given undue weight, the process preempts the availability bias.  MAP also reduces the risk that a solution will be judged by its similarity with known categories or stereotypes (an error arising from the representativeness bias). When differentiated, independent facts are clearly laid out, logical errors are less likely. 

Some decision makers will have an initial dislike for MAP, just as many recruiters still resist structured interviewing. Structured decision making, based on mediating assessments, will be adopted only if it is viewed as offering a substantial improvement in decision-making quality. Accordingly, we next examine MAP’s application and benefits in two types of strategy decisions: large one-off decisions made by teams of executives or directors, and recurrent decisions made as part of formalised processes that, in aggregate, shape a company’s strategy.

Deliberately Developmental Organisation

Deliberately Developmental Organisation: turn your employees’ struggles into growth opportunities

April 12th, 2022 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Deliberately Developmental Organisation: turn your employees’ struggles into growth opportunities”
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Do you ever consider that most people at work are doing a second job that no one’s paying them to do? A job that includes preserving their reputations, putting their best selves forward and hiding their inadequacies?

Robert Kegan, Lisa Lahey, Andy Fleming and Matthew Miller, the authors of this research, believe that this could be the biggest cause of wasted resources in nearly every company today. 

Most people expend a lot of energy at work attempting to hide their inadequacies from colleagues.  But what if companies instead created a culture in which people could see their mistakes not as vulnerabilities but as prime opportunities for personal growth?

What if a company was set up in such a way that instead of hiding their weaknesses, employees used them as opportunities for both personal and business growth?

Researchers suggest that it’s possible to meld business growth with personal growth in every employee’s day-to-day work. Researchers found only a handful of firms where people see their mistakes not as vulnerabilities but as prime opportunities for growth.

Two stood out: Bridgewater Associates, an East Coast investment firm and the Decurion Corporation, a West Coast real estate manager, cinema operator, and senior living centre owner. Both companies are committed to developing every one of their people by weaving personal growth into daily work and both are highly successful businesses. The authors spent hundreds of hours observing their practices and interviewing employees at all levels. 

What they saw was people working together, in meetings, in one-on-one sessions, and in the course of their everyday work, to get at the root causes of problems and devise more productive ways of doing things. 

Many companies conduct root cause analysis but stop short of crossing into an employee’s interior world, where so many problems begin; for example, a tendency to avoid confrontation, to act before thinking things through, to be overly aggressive if one’s ideas are criticised, and other counterproductive thinking and behaviour. If you are a leader who wants to build a DDO, you should understand that you can’t want it just for the company.

You must want it for yourself. You must be prepared to participate fully and even go first in making your own limitations public. You must also not just want it to generate extraordinary business results. You must put equal value on leading a company that contributes to the flourishing of its people as an end in itself. 

At Decurion and Bridgewater, everyone from the CEOs on down to the teenage ushers works on identifying and overcoming these patterns as part of doing the job well.

Adapted from “Making Business Personal” by Robert Kegan, Lisa Lahey, Andy Fleming and Matthew Miller – HBR 201404

test della personalità

Why might personality tests be useless in assessing potential?

March 31st, 2022 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Why might personality tests be useless in assessing potential?”
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The most recent review of a century’s worth of research on selection methods, found that tests of general mental ability  are the best available predictors of job performance, especially when paired with an integrity test. Yet, assessing candidates’ and employees’ potential presents significant challenges. People Metrics Are Hard to Get Right. For all the promise these techniques hold, it’s difficult to measure something as complex as a person for several reasons.

Multiple valid and reliable personality tests have been carefully calibrated to measure one or more character traits. These traditional psychological assessments are usually designed to help figure out whether a person is more or less intelligent or extraverted than their peers, for example. In other words, the assessments are meant to capture differences between people. 

But several studies have found that, during a two-week period, there can be even more variation within one individual’s personality than there is from person to person.

People change, and not always when you expect them to. The allure of aptitude, intelligence, and personality tests is that they purport to tell us something stable and enduring about who people are and what they are capable of. Test makers (usually) go to great lengths to make sure people who take the test more than once get a similar score the second time around. 

Yet compelling evidence suggests that people can learn how to learn, sometimes in ways we didn’t anticipate. We can also shift our personalities in one direction or another (at least to some degree, though not always without cost) for both near-term benefits and longer-term goals. 

Interestingly, one recent study with more than 13,000 participants found that people tend to become more conscientious right before getting a new job, which is conveniently around the time a hiring manager would be trying to figure out how hard they would work if they landed the role.

The nature of the task can matter more than the nature of the person. Most of us have heard the theory that we each have a preferred learning style, and the more we can use the one that fits, the more we’ll remember. Unfortunately, virtually no evidence supports that theory. That doesn’t mean that all approaches to studying are equally effective, it’s just that the strategy that works best often depends more on the task than on the person. 

Similarly, different parts of our personalities can serve different types of goals. We act extraverted when we want to connect with others or seize an opportunity, and we become disciplined when we want to get something done or avoid mistakes.

Given the findings mentioned above about how much people’s behaviour can change from one situation to the next, it might seem paradoxical to even try to find something enduring about a person’s character. 

But just because personality is dynamic does not mean it is not definable or not worth exploring. Some researchers have proposed using if-then questionnaires to detect nuanced patterns in each person’s personality profile, although such techniques have yet to be well-tested in the workplace.

A better approach might be to take repeated measures from the same employees over time. That is often easier said than done, given the challenges many organisations face in getting employees to fill out even a single survey. If the participation problem can be overcome, however, repeated measures can lead to insights about what people are like in general and the ways in which they vary that one time surveys simply can’t generate.

Adapted by “Can We Really Test People for Potential?” By Reb Rebele – MIT Sloan Management Review 201903 – Spring 2019 

intelligenza artificiale

Could your job be done by artificial intelligence?

March 24th, 2022 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Could your job be done by artificial intelligence?”
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Even if your job is high paying, it is wise to ask yourself whether it is common and repetitive enough to be done by a machine. If you conclude that it is, maybe it’s time to look for or create less commoditised work!

For many organisations today, the next big driver of job commoditisation is automation driven by smart machines.

Simply put, if a job is viewed as a commodity, it won’t be long before it is automated. 

Thomas H. Davenport’s research on automation through artificial intelligence (AI) or cognitive technologies suggests that, if a job with fairly routine duties can be outsourced, many of the tasks typically performed by the worker can probably be automated, even by relatively dumb technologies like robotic process automation. 

As an example, financial services is ripe for automation, given that many activities are relatively structured and there is relatively little product differentiation. Given this, there are both low-value and high-value commodity jobs in the financial industry and some of the lower-value ones, such as bank tellers, have been disappearing for a while, even if slowly. According to Hedge Fund Research Inc. in Chicago, Illinois some of the high-value jobs are being commoditised as well.

Sophisticated algorithms have begun to replace financial traders and hedge fund managers and about one-third of hedge fund assets are managed in that way. The result is that a robo-adviser, a machine that recommends investments to customers, has begun to replace human financial advisers. 

As customers turn to mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other passive investments, it’s relatively easy to determine an appropriate portfolio for consumers, rebalance it for asset allocation preferences, and harvest tax losses, all with little or no human intervention.

Since most financial markets are digital, machines can easily determine which investments perform best. Intuition and personal experience in picking investments count for little. So, even traditionally well-paid financial jobs are becoming commoditised and, as a consequence, automated.  Despite this, automation often takes longer than we expect because organisational inertia can be high, because all jobs are slightly different from one another, and because people find ways to differentiate themselves.

So, how can we protect our work from becoming a commoditised job?

Start to focus on the most human aspects of your tasks, those that are most difficult to automate. In the financial world, for example, this often involves understanding human beings and the poor financial decisions they frequently make.  One of Thomas H. Davenport’s students defined this as “financial psychiatry,” but a more academically respectable name is “behavioural finance.” 

Financial advisers who understand behavioural finance can focus not on selecting investments for their clients, but on talking them off the cliff when they’re ready to “sell everything” after a market decline, or other careless financial decisions.

Or they can address the tricky problem of reconciling the differing risk tolerances of husbands and wives. Tackling such complex and emotional issues is not likely to be taken over by machines anytime soon!

Paradoxically, workers in finance and other industries that have high paying, specialised jobs can also make themselves less commoditised by helping with the commoditisation process. If they’re good at structuring decisions and understanding how those are represented in computers, they will have jobs for quite a while.

They’ll be able to monitor machine-based decisions, pick up the ball when the machines drop it (because of missing data, for example) and perhaps even improve machines’ decision making over time. It’s very difficult to predict how quickly jobs of various types will become commodities and how quickly the humans who perform them will be replaced by machines. 

Jobs are comprised of a set of tasks, only some of which are usually automated. 

Automation often takes longer than we expect because organisational inertia can be high, because all jobs are slightly different from one another, and because people find ways to differentiate themselves. 

But no matter what your field, it pays to ask yourself whether your job is common and repetitive enough to be done by a machine. If you conclude that it is, it’s time to look for or create less commoditised work.

Adapted by an article written by Thomas H. Davenport President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College in Babson Park, Massachusetts, as well as a fellow at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy – MIT Sloan Management Review 201804

Come la tecnica delle affermazioni può migliorare la tua vita

January 10th, 2022 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Come la tecnica delle affermazioni può migliorare la tua vita”
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Jim McCarthy definisce le affermazioni come dichiarazioni specifiche e positive al tempo presente in prima persona su ciò che in un certo momento amiamo o vorremmo amare di noi stessi. È un modo per visualizzare e concentrarsi sulle nostre aspirazioni e i nostri obiettivi riguardo all’essere e poi pensare ripetutamente a quello stato desiderato, perché si determini. Le affermazioni sono un modo diretto e pratico per collegare prima il cervello e poi i comportamenti alla felicità e al successo.

Se ci  svegliamo ogni mattina e diciamo a noi stessi: “Sono brutto. Sono sempre malato. Io sono stupido. Alla gente non piaccio. I miei colleghi mi odiano. Il mio capo è un incapace. Odio prendere l’autobus. Questa città fa schifo. Il sistema è viziato”, come risultato della neuroplasticità, i nostri circuiti cerebrali si collegheranno, si rafforzeranno e accelereranno per rafforzare questi messaggi.

D’altra parte, svegliarsi ogni mattina e dirsi: “Sono bello. Sono sano. Sono brillante. Mi trovo benissimo con le persone. Mi diverto con i miei colleghi. Faccio un lavoro di qualità per il mio capo. Apprezzo vivere qui. Vedo la bellezza nelle cose più semplici della vita. Faccio del mio meglio in questa società. Anzi, sono felice di essere vivo… altri neuroni specifici nel nostro cervello si attiveranno e rafforzeranno esattamente quei messaggi.

Il ciclo è semplice:

  1. Il modo in cui pensiamo influisce su come ci  sentiamo.
  2. Come ci sentiamom influenza il modo in cui ci comportiamo.
  3. Il modo in cui ci comportiamo continua a influenzare 1) come pensiamo, poi 2) come ci sentiamo, e il ciclo continua”.

“Quando ti suggerisco di fare affermazioni, non ti sto chiedendo di diventare un egocentrico narcisista, ce ne sono già troppi nella nostra società!” Scrive Mc Carthy. “Invece, ti sto incoraggiando ad acquisire un’umile fiducia – o un’umiltà fiduciosa – che ti dia il permesso di superare le tue negatività e ti aiuti a concentrarti su te stesso.”

Per fare affermazioni, prima dobbiamo essere in grado di definire ciò che amiamo di noi stessi. Oppure, a cosa aspiriamo. La formulazione è molto importante se vogliamo che la neuroplasticità del nostro cervello funzioni a nostro favore.

Ecco alcuni esempi, sempre dal libro di Jim McCarthy “Live Every Day: A Surprisingly Simple Guide to Happiness”:

 

Potresti dire:

“Posso essere promosso quest’anno”.

Ma è meglio dire:

“Io sono il nuovo manager”

È più efficace, perché stai affermando questo come un dato di fatto, piuttosto che qualcosa che “può” accadere.

 

Potresti dire:

“Voglio essere un a sorella (o un fratello) migliore”.

Ma è più forte se dici:

“Sono una sorella (o un fratello) comprensiva”.

Potresti anche dire

“Chiamo i miei fratelli ogni dieci giorni”,

Il che è eccellente, perché ti spinge a creare un promemoria ricorrente per farlo. Potrebbe essere difficile sapere sarai veramente comprensiva o meno. Ma se chiami i tuoi fratelli regolarmente, probabilmente diventerai una sorella o fratello migliore.

 

Potresti dire:

“Perderò 2 chili.”

“Ma la “volontà” è più una promessa o una speranza e meno una constatazione di fatto.

Forse è meglio scrivere:

“Faccio scelte salutari”

… dal momento che puoi agire in base a questo in qualsiasi momento della giornata e hai meno probabilità di sentirti frustrato se non hai ancora perso quei 15 chili.

 

La tua affermazione può essere:

“Vorrei essere felice”.

Ma “vorrei” non è un dato di fatto.

“Merito di essere felice” è un’alternativa migliore, che ti apre un intero mondo di affermazioni per le cose buone che meriti.

 

Ricorda che non dovresti formulare un’affermazione con una negazione, altrimenti rafforzerai proprio ciò che non vuoi si avveri.

Quindi invece di affermare:

“Non sono arrabbiato per il passato”,

… molto meglio:

“Sono grato per tutte le esperienze della mia vita”

Il cervello prende la forma su cui poggia la mente. Ad esempio, appoggi regolarmente la tua mente sulle preoccupazioni, l’autocritica e la rabbia, quindi il tuo cervello prenderà gradualmente la forma – e cioè svilupperà strutture e dinamiche neurali – di ansia, bassa autostima e reattività verso gli altri. Invece, se appoggi regolarmente la mente, sul fatto che stai bene in un certo momento, vedi il buono in te stesso e sul lasciar perdere ciò che non ti piace… allora il tuo cervello prenderà gradualmente la forma di calma, forza, fiducia in te stesso e pace interiore.

Adattato da: Jim McCarthy, Live Every Day: A Sorprendentemente Semplice Guida alla Felicità, Happiness Media LLC

How your inner speech shapes your thoughts and decisions

December 29th, 2021 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “How your inner speech shapes your thoughts and decisions”
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Charles Fernyhough is a writer and psychologist at Durham University. He directs Hearing the Voice (hearingthevoice.org), a project on voice-hearing and inner speech funded by the Wellcome Trust. 

In his study, conducted in 2011 at Durham University, UK, Dr. Fernyhough and his colleague Simon McCarthy-Jones found that 60 per cent of people report that their inner speech has the same  quality of a conversation. Inner speech has some very special properties. Much of modern research has been inspired by the long-neglected theories of L. S. Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist whose career unfolded in the early days of the Soviet Union.

Starting with observations of children talking to themselves while playing, Vygotsky hypothesised that this “private speech” develops out of social dialogue with parents and caregivers. Over time, these private mutterings become further internalised to form inner speech.

Vygotsky proposed that inner speech undergoes some important transformations as it becomes internalised, such as becoming abbreviated or condensed relative to external speech. For instance, when hearing a loud metallic sound outside at night and realising that the cat is to blame, you probably wouldn’t say to yourself, “The cat has knocked the dustbin over.” Instead, you might just say, “The cat,” since that utterance contains all the information you need to express to yourself.

Because it develops from social interactions, self talk takes on some of the qualities of a dialogue, an exchange between different points of view.

Vygotsky’s theory also suggests some possibilities about the way inner speech is created in the brain. If it is derived from external speech, as he proposed, both might be expected to activate the same neural networks. 

One of Vygotsky’s most important finding was that private and inner speech give us a way of taking control of our own behaviour, by using words to direct our actions. While driving up to a roundabout in busy traffic, for example says Dr. Fernyhough, I’ll still tell myself, “Give way to the right”. 

Therefore, improving our inner speech means improving our behaviour.

Inner speech can foster our personal growth when used to make plans and improve self awareness.

People with autism, meanwhile, who often have problems with linguistic communication, seem not to use inner speech for planning, although they do use it for other purposes such as short-term memory. A more dramatic difficulty comes from damage to the language areas of the brain, which can silence some people’s inner voices. One such individual, neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, reported a lack of self-awareness after a stroke that damaged her language system – supporting the view that verbal thinking may be important for self-understanding and self control.

Adapted by Life in the chatter box, New Scientist, June 2013

habits

The 3 most common career-limiting habits

May 19th, 2021 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “The 3 most common career-limiting habits”
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One study conducted by VitalSmarts (a corporate training and leadership development firm) discovered that 97% of us have at least one career-limiting habit, something that keeps us from greater success or enjoyment in our career.

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