Abductive Reasoning, abstract thinking, antifragility, Art, business schools, Categorization, complexity, Daniel Pink, Dave Snowden, hierarchy, integrative thinking, management consulting, Management Theory, mental models, Nassim Taleb, right brain thinking, Roger Martin, Sense Making, statistical analysis, strategy, weak-signals
As I have recently argued, the world’s top strategists agree that strategy in complex, cause-and-effect blurred environments requires a unique mindset.
According to Snowden and others, in complex environments cause and effect relationships do not repeat and a categorization mindset where data is fit to preconceived notions about reality (i.e. models, frameworks, etc.) is ineffective. This by the way rules out most of the consultants who provide precisely this: prescription style, a-la-carte frameworks and models. What works are sense-making models (to understand the distinction between categorization and sense-making in the words of the world’s top strategists, see my related blog). Categorization models are fast and efficient, but may miss so called “weak signals”, comparatively insignificant data points that are simply part of the average in normal situations, but which can be the source of new emergent patterns in complex circumstances – fat tails and Black Swans respectively in Nassim Taleb parlance.
From Harvard Business Review articles on entrepreneurship, to New York Times bestsellers on leadership and innovation, to the top management consulting firms’ whitepapers on effective change and transformation, management knowledge is a labyrinth more daunting than the discipline itself. One could probably fill an entire career with sorting the knowledge available on management, with no guarantee that at the end one would master the discipline of management.
And so, is there a twenty minute read that would capture the essence of what Gary Hamel appropriately calls the “technology of human accomplishment”?