Analytics Strategist

March 13, 2007

On Leadership

Filed under: hbr review — Tags: — Huayin Wang @ 3:27 pm

Just what is need for a business leader, in fact, any leader? Two things: know the right things to do and has the ability to do it.

The knowing is more important than the ability of doing: if you do not know the right thing to do, the ability to do anything is irrelevant! While in case you do not have the ability to do thing right, the knowing may lead you to know how to get it done, maybe in a detoured way.

Game provides a great context to understand the basics of “knowing the right move”.

I used to play the game of Go, which is an ancient Chinese board game, popularized later in Japan, South Korea and China. The rules are simple to learn but the strategies are difficult to master. There are things I learned from playing Go, that I think are generally useful.

Recognizing that the heart of decision making is evaluating and balancing alternative strategies, evaluating the set of the following 4 questions has been my guide in many decision makings:

1) How big is the issue – scale/impact?
2) What’s the chance for success – each outcomes?
3) What’s the optimal measure – passive/aggressive, qty of investment?
4) When is the right timing?

The 4 questions must be seriously asked and played with, in that order.

The outcome strategy, when passed through the above process, will have less of the common problems which infect many organizations:

1) wasted resources working on small issues. While the results could be clear, convincing and even beautiful, it is nonetheless minor.
2) wrong estimations on potential outcomes caused by wishful thinking and others
3) over/under investing
4) wrong timings, prioritizing and sequencing

Coming back to the leadership quality. As I see it, the ability of the leader to intuitively grasp and making right judgment on the scale/impact of an issue is top most important.

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