Ron Adner

The value of most frameworks lies not in changing a manager’s initial intuition but in clarifying the issues that arise when managers with different instincts try to debate the right course of action. A structured framework can transform the debate from a battle of guts, ultimately resolved on the basis of reputation, power, and eloquence (often in that order), into a comparison of the assumptions being made about a given situation’s fundamental structure.

A framework presents elements and relationships that provide a grammar for the debate. These debates tend to be productive in that they are fine grained-people can move past areas of agreement, focus on areas of disagreement, and analyze why they hold different beliefs. They either achieve a consensus or make a decision knowing precisely where and why they disagree. In the case of disagreement, the debate will highlight critical assumptions that managers should be particularly mindful of as the venture progresses.

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