Monthly Archives: October 2007

Enabling leaders to make effective decisions

Dave Snowden, founder of Cognitive Edgeco-authored (with Mary Boone) the front pagearticle of the latest edition of the Harvard Business Review.  For those of us who’ve been involved in Dave’s complexity and narrative work over the years, this is a key milestone – indicative of how our way of thinking is starting to make in-roads into mainstream thinking.


To quote Tom Stewart (HBR Editor), “Most leaders are told that it is important to be (or appear to be) decisive. Fair enough — but how is one to […]

Unconscious Incompetence

We all know them, people who think that they are experts on a certain topic (in extreme cases on all topics!) when in fact they know very little.  I recently found out that there is actually a name for this – it’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect which is defined as: “the phenomenon wherein people who have little knowledge think that they know more than others who have much more knowledge”

It’s named for Justin Kruger and David Dunning who first demonstrated the phenomenon […]

the Cynefin sense making framework explained

The Cynefin Sense-making framework is a model we use very often to explain the use of business narrative and complexity in organisations.  I came across this great explanation of it by Shawn Callahan from Anecdote in Australia on the Cognitive Edge guest blog

The Grameen bank and the First Emperor

Many people are familiar with the story of the Grameen bank.  Its founder (Mohammad Yunus) recently won a Nobel Peace prize for his pionering work in micro-credit and poverty alleviation.  In essence, what he did was to set up a self-regulating lending system.  Before the Grameen bank came into being it was virtually impossible for a poor person in Bangladesh to obtain credit.  Because of extremely poor debt repayment rates, banks found that the cost of lending made it not worth their […]

Entrepreneurial Leadership

Recently on Chris Gibbons’ program on Talk Radio 702, Jonathan Foster-Pedley of the UCT GSB, presented the results of a piece of research that was done at this university.

Further exploration led me to this article, which makes tremendous sense in the current leadership landscape.

The essence of the findings were that there are 7 “X-Factors” that
necessary for success as entrepreneurial leader. I note that these
factors were researched in the financial services sector, but it seems
reasonable to apply them to leaders in general:

Flexibility […]

Goodheart’s Law

If there is one piece of information I wish more decision makers knew about, it is this one.  It’s called Goodheart’s Law, and it states:

“The moment a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a measure”

So simple, but yet so profound.  I can think of many failed initiatives that could’ve been avoided if whoever decided on measurement criteria knew this.

I’ll give you a few examples:  a South African television news program recently did an expose on the apparent misshandling of […]

The Narrative Fallacy

One of the anecdotes I’ll tell in support of using narrative techniques within the organisational culture realm is this one, gathered from an anecdote circle in the banking sector:

A client relationship manager needed to meet face-to-face with a client regarding a query on his account. This client had a reputation in the business for being grumpy, insolent and very volatile. Knowing this, she asked her manager to accompany her into the meeting … for backup. During the course of […]

By |October 2nd, 2007|Narrative|0 Comments|