A decision, to be effective, needs to
satisfy the boundary conditions.
A decision process requires clear
specifications as to what the decision has to accomplish. What are the
objectives the decision has to reach? In science these are known as 'boundary
conditions' a decision, to be effective, needs to be adequate to its purpose.
The more concisely and clearly boundary conditions are stated, the greater the
likelihood that the decision will indeed be an effective one and will accomplish
what it set out to do. Conversely, any serious shortfall in defining these
boundary conditions is almost certain to make a decision ineffectual, no matter
how brilliant it may seem.
"What is the minimum needed to
resolve this problem?" is the form in which the boundary conditions are
usually probed. "Can our needs be satisfied," Alfred P. Sloan
presumably asked himself when he took command of General Motors in 1922;
"by removing the autonomy of the division heads?" his answer was
clearly in the negative. The boundary conditions of his problem demanded
strength and responsibility in the chief operating positions. This was needed as
much as control at the center and unity. The boundary conditions demanded a
solution to a problem of structure, rather than an accommodation among
personalities. And this, in turn, made his solution last.
ACTION POINT: Take a decision you are
facing today. Clearly specify what purpose or need you want to fulfill by making
Start with what is right rather than
what is acceptable
One has to start out with what is right
rather than what is acceptable precisely because one always has to compromise
the end. But if one does not know what is right, one cannot distinguish between
the right compromise and the wrong compromise-and will end up by making the
wrong compromise. I was taught this when I started in 1944 on my first big
consulting assignment, a study of the management structure and management
policies of the General Motors Corporation. Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., who was then
chairman and chief executive officer of the company, called me to his office at
the start of my study and said: "I shall not tell you what to study, what
to write, or what conclusions to come to. My only instruction to you is to put
down what you think is right as you see it. Don't you worry about our reaction.
And don't you, above all, concern yourself with the compromises that might be
needed to make your recommendations acceptable. There is not one executive in
this company who does not know how to make a compromise with out any help from
you. But he can't make the right compromise unless you first tell him what
The executive thinking through a
decision might put this in front of him-or herself in neon lights.
ACTION POINT: Define an outcome for the
decision in the previous reading that would perfectly satisfy your requirements.
To win the battle for market share,
make the product the hero of your advertising.
Everybody knows good counsel except him
that has need of it.
Manners make the fortune of the
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, American philosopher, poet
The more things change, the more they
remain the same.
ALPHONSE KARR, French journalist and author.
Man is still the most extraordinary
computer of all.
JOHN F.KENNEDY, American statesman, and 35th
president of the United States of America.
Manners maketh the man.
Creative minds have always been known
to survive any kind of bad training.
Be often wrong but never in doubt.
KEITH B. MATHER, American academic and vice
chancellor for research & advanced study, university of Alaska.
Do not try to fly before you have
One of the keys to thinking big is
DONALD TRUMP, American entrepreneur,
developer and author.
To most people, the future is like
heaven- sounds great, but they're not ready for it yet.
Promise, large promise, is the soul of
SAMUEL JOHNSON, British poet, essayist, critic,
journalist and lexicographer.
I maintain that ideas are events.
GUSTAVE FLAUBERT, French novelist.
It is not enough to have a good mind;
the main thing is to use it well.
RENE DESCARTES, French philosopher and
Knowledge is power.
FRANCIS BACON, British statesman, philosopher
The real leader has no need to lead- he
is content to point the way.
HENRY MILLER, American author and artist.
A little learning is a dangerous thing.
ALEXANDER POPE, British poet and satirist.
An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of
ELBERT HUBBARD, American businessman, printer
Fortune favours the brave.
TERENCE. Roman playwright.