Make Better Decisions

Make Better Decisions

Like almost everything else, decision making is a skill that we can improve with practice. The biggest problem is that with hindsight, we tend to judge our decisions by the outcome rather than the process we used [if there even was one!]. The first stage is to look at where we might be going wrong. In their book ‘Decisive’, Chip and Dan Heath find four common ‘villains’ in our decision making process – and offer solutions to each: VILLAINSOLUTIONNARROW FRAMINGWe haven’t fully understood the problemWIDEN YOUR OPTIONSExpand your understanding and choicesCONFIRMATION BIASSeeking information that confirms existing beliefsTEST YOUR ASSUMPTIONSFind people who disagree with the suggested solution(s)SHORT-TERM EMOTION“This solution takes away […]

Silence Is Dangerous

Silence Is Dangerous

Studies across the world have repeatedly shown that in around 85% of businesses, people are aware that there are problems but are afraid to raise them. In her book and TED talks, Margaret Heffernan calls this ‘Willful Blindness’ – the point where we have chosen to ignore something because that seems like the easier path. Why don’t we speak up? What is it that we are afraid of? Most often, we are worried about the conflict that will result from pointing out a problem. This is a very human response, and one that we don’t just see in business – we see it in our personal lives too. In order […]

Disappointment v Regret

Disappointment v Regret

What’s the difference between disappointment and regret? And why does it matter? During challenging times for our business, we may find ourselves feeling down about the things that happen – or don’t happen. This is entirely understandable – and it’s important to recognise and acknowledge our emotions, but how we frame things is vitally important. REGRET can be a useful emotion. We feel it when we look back and can see how we might have acted differently. This rumination is an opportunity to improve ourselves by learning from our mistakes. DISAPPOINTMENT is what we feel when we miss out on something for reasons beyond our control. The crucial difference is […]

Questions To Ask In Challenging Times

Questions To Ask In Challenging Times

All businesses face challenges, and when they catch us by surprise, or are especially large, it can be hard to figure out what action to take. When crisis hits, we usually have to be reactive. We adapt to a new situation, perhaps a new world view – potentially even a new normal. Then as the dust settles, we can shift back into being proactive. When that time comes, it can help to ask ourselves three questions: What am I spreading?What do I want to look back on?What am I looking forward to? 1 :: What am I spreading? Almost everything spreads – viruses, great ideas, fake news, cat pictures. Emotions. […]

Saying No Is Generous

Saying No Is Generous

It’s hard to say no to things … Invitations. Opportunities. Cake. Most of us know we should decline more often than we do, so why do we keep saying Yes? Leaving the cake to one side, we say Yes in business for a variety of reasons – we don’t want to let people down, we’re worried about losing a potential customer, or perhaps we could simply do with the income this month. Our intentions are good – we convince ourselves we can deliver what they need, but when we say Yes to something that doesn’t align with our experience and expertise, we end up having the opposite effect. We don’t […]

Planning » Preparation » Progress

Planning » Preparation » Progress

First, you make a plan.Then you prepare to execute.Then you take the action needed to progress. It’s a fairly obvious sequence. Ready … Aim … Fire I’ve done things where I tried to move too fast. Ready … Ai -FIRE! Fire again! FIIIIIRREE! It didn’t end well. I tried to learn from that. Ready … Aim … OK, left a bit – now up a bit … yeah, I think that’s it … Fi – no, wait – I think it’s down a bit … And so on. That didn’t get me very far, either. Ready … Aim … Fire Like so many things, it sounds simple – but simple […]

Effective Optimism

Effective Optimism

Pessimists just aren’t nice to be around. All that doom and gloom drags you down. The attitude of helplessness is draining. On the other hand, excessive optimism can be just as frustrating – particularly when it ignores the fact that there’s work to be done. Where’s the balance? It’s not about thinking everything will work out, but we do need to continually believe in the possibility of finding a solution. What we need is persistent, realistic optimism.

Who Do You Trust?

Who Do You Trust?

“In a shocking finding, scientist discovered a herd of unicorns living in a remote, previously unexplored valley, in the Andes Mountains. Even more surprising to the researchers was the fact that the unicorns spoke perfect English. The scientist named the population, after their distinctive horn, Ovid’s Unicorn. These four-horned, silver-white unicorns were previously unknown to science.” Read the rest of this remarkable story here. Assuming you read the article, how long was it before you started to smell a rat? To be clear, the first two sentences were written by a human being, the rest was generated by GPT-2, an AI trained on 8 billion webpages. What GPT-2 produces is […]

It’s Not Just A Jacket

It’s Not Just A Jacket

In early October 2019, I was one of the lucky 300 to get one of the Batch No.2 Paynter jackets. It arrived just before Christmas, and has quickly become one of my favourite items of clothing. Anyone who has met me will quickly realise I’m not that interested in ‘fashion’ – but I care deeply about the story behind the clothes I wear. When you order from Paynter, it’s not just a jacket – it’s a journey … they share details of the design process, where the fabric comes from, the factory in Portugal where each jacket is hand made, the illustrator who designs the labels, why they chose the […]

Resolutions v Habits

Resolutions v Habits

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habitWill Durant, American author It’s that time of year when many of us start to feel guilty because we’ve already given up on our New Year’s Resolutions. If that sounds like you, then I have a suggestion – try thinking about establishing new habits, rather than setting bold resolutions. Almost everything we do is a habit. Some of them do us good, like brushing our teeth, and some of them are maybe not so helpful – like having biscuits with every cup of tea you drink (guilty as charged!). Our brain is an incredible thing. Every […]