The Heretic's Guide To Management: The Art of Harnessing Ambiguity

Heretics Guide Press
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Management techniques such as strategic planning, project management or operational budgeting, aim to reduce ambiguity and provide clarity. So it is one of the great ironies of modern corporate life that these techniques often end up doing the opposite: increasing ambiguity rather than reducing it. It is easy enough to understand why: organizations are complex entities and it is unreasonable to expect management models, such as those that fit neatly into a 2*2 matrix or a predetermined checklist, to work in the real world. Indeed, expecting them to work as advertised is akin to colouring a paint-by-numbers Mona Lisa with the expectation of recreating Da Vinci’s masterpiece. Ambiguity has not been tamed: reality will still impose itself no matter how alluring the model is. Unfortunately, most of us have a deep aversion to situations that involve even a hint of ambiguity. Recent research in neuroscience has revealed the reason for this: ambiguity is processed in the parts of the brain which regulate our emotional responses. As a result, many people associate ambiguity with feelings of anxiety. When kids feel anxious, they turn to transitional objects such as teddy bears or security blankets, providing them with a sense of stability when situations or events seem overwhelming. We contend that as grown-ups, we don’t actually stop using teddy bears - they take a different form. Backed by research, we illustrate that management models, fads and frameworks are akin to teddy bears . They provide the same sense of comfort and certainty to corporate managers and minions as real teddies do to distressed kids. This is not a problem in many cases. Children usually outgrow their need for a teddy, unless if development is disrupted or arrested in some way. If this happens, the transitional object can become a fetish – an object that is held on to with a pathological intensity, simply for the comfort that it offers in the face of ambiguity. The corporate reliance on simplistic solutions for the complex challenges faced is akin to little Johnny believing that everything will be OK provided he clings on to Teddy. Ambiguity is a primal force that drives much of our behaviour. It is typically viewed negatively - something to be avoided or to be controlled. The truth however, is that it is a force that can be used in positive ways too. The Force that gave the Dark Side their power in the Star Wars movies was harnessed by the Jedi in positive ways. Similarly, this new management book shows how ambiguous situations, so common in the corporate world, are processed by the brain, and the behaviours that often arise as a consequence. More importantly, though, it shows you how to harness that ambiguity to achieve outstanding results.
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About the author

Paul Culmsee (@paulculmsee) Paul is a management consultant, business strategist, sensemaker and award winning author with more than 25 years of experience. Based in Perth, Western Australia, he co-founded Seven Sigma Business Solutions (www.sevensigma.com.au) and specialises in sensemaking, helping organisations (re)discover their purpose, knowledge management, strategic planning, IT governance, facilitation and all facets of SharePoint and Office365 delivery. Paul is one of only four Cognexus Certified Dialogue Mappers in the world. He and his wife have the best two children in the world and live in Perth, Australia. Web: www.sevensigma.com.au Blog: www.cleverworkarounds.com Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/paulculmsee LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/paul-culmsee-business-strategist-sensemaker-3555853 Kailash Awati: (@kailashawati) Kailash is co-founder and principal of Sensanalytics, a consultancy specialising in sensemaking and analytics. Prior to this, he worked for a pharmaceutical multinational where he set up a global IT service centre specializing in business intelligence, while initiating and running data analytics projects across the business. Over the last several years, he has worked as a data and analytics geek; facilitator and sensemaker; data / information architect; project manager and engineering software developer in organisations ranging from startups to established firms. Earlier, in what seems to him like another life, he did research in fluid dynamics and other areas of physics and applied mathematics. Aside from sensemaking and analytics, his professional interests include knowledge management, project management, risk analysis and emergent (low risk, low cost) approaches to developing new capabilities in organisations. Kailash lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two wonderful children. Web: www.sensanalytics.com Blog: eight2late.wordpress.com Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kailashawati LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/kailash-awati-3517a711
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Additional Information

Publisher
Heretics Guide Press
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Published on
Jul 7, 2016
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Pages
260
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ISBN
9780994631404
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Decision-Making & Problem Solving
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Daniel Kahneman
Major New York Times bestseller
Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012
Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011
A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title
One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year
One of The Wall Street Journal's Best Nonfiction Books of the Year 2011
2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient
Kahneman's work with Amos Tversky is the subject of Michael Lewis's The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.

Brian Christian
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