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by Alan Hargreaves

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Using diversity to make better decisions

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The case for agnostic management

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Do you really know that you could be wrong?

How confusing is the outlook for this year? With so many odd predictions it’s impossible to identify reliable forecasts.  

History tells us most will be wrong. Early last year Amazon announced it would start selling groceries. Some say that’s why Amazon’s share price rose about 40% by Christmas. Yet if you were asked to name a stock that would do even better and you answered old-school grocer Walmart, you’d be right. Amazon had the hype but the facts were that Walmart wasn’t in too bad a shape either.

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The Power of the Near-Deadline Experience

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Why accountability works

Accountability certainly gets results. People often complete tasks when they know they must, but even more so when they know someone is watching — whether it’s their manager, shareholders, customers or friends, not to mention spouses. 

It would be nice if we could always couple superior organisational skills with personal integrity and consistently deliver unwatched.

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The simplest growth strategy

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Copy and paste

My feet are abnormal. They’re flat, wide, and aging. I use orthotics to ease the pain. Shoe shopping is difficult but I’ve narrowed my choice of stores to Athlete’s Foot and Skechers. There may be others but these two have what I want.  

What’s more, they're international. If I forget to pack my ideal shoes, I can buy them in most countries. My needs can’t be that abnormal because both chains are global successes. There are 1,700 Skechers in 160 countries. The equivalent numbers for Athlete’s Foot are 483 across 27 nations.

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Spotting Opportunities

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Harnessing the value of difference

Leave aside politics for a moment and look at what diversity actually means. It’s a range of experience, abilities, knowledge, strengths and personality. It’s like a variety performance. You might not like every act but collectively it can put on a good show.

I breed horses. In our paddocks there are heavy eaters, pretty trotters and well-conformed athletes. There are feisty stallions and quality broodmares. Some of these horses like humans. Others don’t. Some will be sprinters, others stayers. A few will be flash equestrians. Others will simply be good paddock buddies. Together, they form a herd. 

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Beware the Big Wins

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Successful learning

Recently published research suggests smiling excessively in victory can lead to defeat in the next round. 

There may be something to it. The results, yet to be widely repeated, touch a nerve. I do know that in business the after-effects of a big win can be dangerous.

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