More decisions made - and discussed

Jack Vinson, KM Forum, Decision-Making, Oct 2010, L2Well, that was fun.  As I mentioned yesterday, I spoke today at the Boston KM Forum meeting as a follow-on to the symposium a couple weeks ago (my notes).  Here are some thoughts about the discussion, the picture of the mind map that we didn't get anywhere close to finishing, and some links that I mentioned.  I threw in references from Theory of Constraints, change management, decision making, and some knowledge management of course.  I hoped to get in some more fun bits, like a picture of Homer Simpson's brain but that did not come to pass.

As you can see from the mind map here, my intention was to cover a broad swath of the topic of "decision making," including a summary of the symposium.  I was hoping for some interesting discussion to fill in the many blanks I had in the materials, and I certainly got that! 

I managed to cover only one of the elements from the Symposium Overview before we started some interesting conversations about change management that took us over to the "Making It Stick" section that I was expecting to discuss last.  And within that section, I completely missed another topic that came up around the decision-making models that people have.  In other words: how do groups actually decide once they have the right tools and all the background material needed for the decision?  There are plenty of decision models that range from the strictly analytical (Kepner-Tregoe) or logical (Theory of Constraints) to the more qualitative and gut feel. 

Larry Chait provided another decision-disaster interlude, as he did during the symposium.  This time it was on the Titanic disaster and the people involved and a dozen "deadly decisions" that added up to over 1000 people dead.  The themes were very familiar from two weeks ago: cognitive biases and decisions that ended up making for disaster.  And that fed back into more discussion around the room. 

Some of the links I referenced in the discussion:

  • Christopher Burns' book website: Deadly Decisions.
  • The "PQ" example is from Eli Goldratt's The Haystack Syndrome and can be found on the Management and Accounting Web (Chapter 12) with more of the thinking behind the problem.
  • One place where the TOC "Layers of Buy-In" model is discussed: Focused Performance.
  • The Kotter International (John Kotter) site has references to his 8 Step Change Model and to his new book, Buy-In.

This list would have been much longer if we covered that whole mind map.  I guess I was overly aggressive.

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