The Benefits—and Limits—of Decision Models

Big data and models help overcome biases that cloud judgment, but many executive decisions also require bold action inspired by self-confidence. Here’s how to take charge in a clear-headed way.

Making Better Decisions over Time

The technique of deliberate practice can dramatically improve performance, but knowing its limits is as important as understanding its value.

Phil Rosenzweig, Peter Gollwitzer

Peter Gollwitzer, a psychologist at New York University, distinguishes between a deliberative mind-set and an implemental mind-set. The deliberative version suggests a detached and impartial attitude. We set aside emotions and focus on the facts. A deliberative attitude is appropriate when we assess the feasibility of a project, plan a strategic initiative, or decide on an appropriate course of action. By contrast, an implemental mind-set … [ Read more ]

Phil Rosenzweig

The great unspoken issue is about payoffs, and the degree to which payoffs are skewed in an industry. In an industry with many players, low barriers to entry and where only a small number will make a lot of money, the payoffs are highly skewed. If this is the case, you cannot afford to take a conservative approach. So winning is not about limiting the … [ Read more ]

Phil Rosenzweig

Over the years, I have found that most executives are smart and hardworking, and want to do the right thing. But they are terrible at critical thinking and analytical rigor — usually because they confuse the factors that lead to high performance with attributions based on that performance. They confuse drivers and results. We see this in everything from corporate culture to leadership to employee … [ Read more ]

Phil Rosenzweig

When we ask, “What works in all companies?” we’re looking for an absolute formula in a field — competition in a marketplace setting — that is inherently relative. The answer is, “There isn’t one formula.” If everybody in the industry follows the same prescription, they won’t all be successful. Once we accept this, we’re in the realm of making judgments under uncertainty that are different … [ Read more ]

Phil Rosenzweig

The test of a good story isn’t its respon­sibility to the facts as much as its ability to provide a satisfying explanation of events.

The Halo Effect, and Other Managerial Delusions

Companies cannot achieve superior and lasting business performance simply by following a specific set of steps.

The Halo Effect …and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers

This tart takedown of fashionable management theories is a refreshing antidote to the glut of simplistic books about achieving high performance. Rosenzweig, a veteran business manager turned professor, argues that most popular business ideas are no more than soothing platitudes that promise easy success to harried managers. Consultants, journalists and other pundits tap scientifically suspect methods to produce what he calls “business delusions”: deeply flawed … [ Read more ]