TITLE: Clarify roles or kill performance

Clarify Roles or Kill Performance—Your Choice

E. Forrest Christian Change Leave a Comment

Dr. Eduardo Salas is the Trustee Chair and Pegasus Professor of Psychology at the University of Central Florida, and the author or coauthor of a slew of articles and books on teamwork performance. His findings seem entirely counterintuitive to what many people in software believe. Eschewing roles, they advocate keeping everything completely informal, with everyone cross-training to be able to …

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How Bad Is Oil? A Brief Historical Analysis

E. Forrest Christian Uncategorized 1 Comment

We keep hearing about oil prices and how they have plummeted. But what do you really know about them? If you’re like me — living in a non-oil producing region, getting most of your exposure from price of gas and roofing — it’s high time to take a look. This is strictly from an American point of view, mostly because …

Man thinking at typewriter. (c) everett225. Depositphoto.com

Let Them Eat Their Desks: IT’s New Contractors

E. Forrest Christian Managing Leave a Comment

“Hell, this is brilliant!” he said. “I wish I was still an executive so I could push this Task idea onto people.” I was surprised. My companion, an ex-executive for a large US corporation, normally took a dim view of Modern Human Resources. And the Internet economy. I had just mentioned ______’s ideas about going from role-based staffing to tasks-based. …

Acrobats dangline in the sky. © 2008 Sergio from Spain (CC BY 2.0). Via Wikimedia Commons.

Uncertainty Love bringing Garlands of Success

E. Forrest Christian Decision-making Leave a Comment

All work involves managing uncertainty, and all decisions are made in the face of it. As Michael Raynor pointed out in The Strategy Paradox: Why committing to success leads to failure (and what to do about it), uncertainty gets larger the higher that you go in the business. At lower levels, I’m still worried about uncertainty but I’m trying to …

Black man working large electric phosphate smelting furnace make elemental phosphorus, TVA chemical plant Muscle Shoals, AL). 1942 by Alfred T. Palmer (via LOC)

Managerials Decisions Requiring ESP?

E. Forrest Christian Decision-making Leave a Comment

You may have gotten the impression that Gary Klein’s Recognition-Primed Decision Model (PDF) was based on intuition. You would be in good company. Lots of people who write about RPD infer that it’s all about intuition, about gut feelings, about making fast decisions. That’s not really true. It may have been the many firefighter stories. The chief at the kitchen …

Acrobats dangline in the sky. © 2008 Sergio from Spain (CC BY 2.0). Via Wikimedia Commons.

Less Really Is More For Making Good Decisions

E. Forrest Christian Decision-making Leave a Comment

On the Commutecast this week, I talked about how Gerg Gigerenzer and colleagues have shown that a simple algorithm can out-perform a complex one in predicting future events (PDF). It’s not just that getting the information is expensive — whether you are hunting it down or finding it, collecting data costs you effort and often resources. It’s that even where …

Imploding CRT photographed with high speed air-gap flash. c 2012 Niels Noordhoek (CC BY-SA 3.0) Via Wikimedia Commons

Why Flat Organization Implodes

E. Forrest Christian Organizations Leave a Comment

As Mark Nichols describes in “Flat Will Kill You, Eventually: Why Every Company Needs Structure“, flat seems like such a great idea when we start out. It works so well and things go so smoothly. Then everything slides downhill on a runaway shopping cart into hell of recrimination, anger and mistrust. What in the world just happened? Why did the …

Defense.gov News Photo 120324-M-AV740-001 by Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook, U.S. Marine Corps (2012)

Make A Better Decision Using Intuition—With Data!

E. Forrest Christian Decision-making Leave a Comment

As I said in Just Make A Decision!, my father was an advocate of “Just make a decision!” You might have thought that this meant that he didn’t think that data and information could help you make better decisions. You wouldn’t be farther from the truth. My father was a Statistical Process Control expert, which became Quality Control which became …

Men of Fort Story operate an azimuth instrument, to measure the angle of splash in sea-target practice. 1942. (reversed)

Learn Decisional Due Date and Build Dynamic, Decision-Driven Organizations

E. Forrest Christian Decision-making Leave a Comment

Elliott Jaques is rightly praised for many things: first one to apply the ideas of social culture to the life inside organizations; identified and named the “mid-life crisis” (sorry Gail Sheehy!); led the longest on-site social research efforts at Glacier Metal Company, running some 25 years; and developing a method for building the requisite organizational structure for any managerial endeavor. …

Oklahoma Land Rushm 1893 by William S Prettyman

“Just make a decision!”

E. Forrest Christian Decision-making Leave a Comment

Last time we heard from Danny Fleming, the banking executive, who said that his success was in a large part due to his ability to make decisions when others would dither. This time I’m going to a Danny closer to home: my late father, “Danny” Christian. I was reminded of his thinking on decision making recently when a relative told …