No matter how technical your project is, its success depends on other people. Therefore, it is in your best interest to proactively manage your key stakeholders.
Many seemingly unrelated problems share a similar structure. Being able to recognize these similarities and knowing a few standard framework, such as the saturation framework, can help you solve those more efficiently and effectively.
Recently, I had a conversation with a dean of engineering. He was looking for a big idea—one to take his school from here (top 30 nationwide) to there—the ultra-nerd stratosphere. I offered that he promoted training his students and faculty to think strategically. This is what I sell, so I’m […]
A central aspect of my approach to solving complex problems builds on the widespread agreement that effective problem solvers are T-shaped, with both depth and breadth of knowledge. Develop a breadth of skills & knowledge The breadth of knowledge—what I call strategic thinking—includes having sufficient exposure to other fields so that you can […]
I live in Houston and I bike to work. That makes me part of a very, very small minority. It also puts me at risk. Close calls with car drivers are frequent (although mine are not as bad as some), and they invariably trigger a spike in my heart rate. […]
My upcoming book, Strategic Thinking in Complex Problem Solving, is available for pre-order. It will ship on August 3, 2016. Get it from Amazon. Get it from Oxford University Press. Get it from Barnes & Noble. The book includes many of the ideas covered on this site with a deeper treatment and […]
Confronted with a problem most of us are quick to think of solutions as ways to eliminate it. But those aren’t the only solutions. At times, you may be better off with a solution that helps you control how the problem unfolds, so also consider solutions that manage the problem. Manage the […]
What do movie producers, presidents of football clubs, symphony orchestra directors, university presidents, and managers of rock bands have in common? They are all in charge of highly talented and independent people whose potential, when they work together, amounts to more than the sum of their parts. As managers, they […]
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” as Chinese philosopher Laozi said. In corporate jargon, this translates to: think big, start small, scale fast. Making quick progress / establishing a positive foundation is important There is a strong case for not striving for perfection from the […]
Some problems require complex solutions. Others don’t. It’s important that you recognize the situation you’re in and find a solution that is as simple as possible. That is, don’t overdesign solutions. To illustrate, let’s make fun of the French like we’re a Republican running for office in 2003. Designing solutions, more isn’t necessarily […]