Tag Archive | WSJ

Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions?

We have seen and probably even experienced this first hand many times. We make certain decisions thinking that they will yield good results. We might have analyzed all the options available, rechecked all the data points and probably taken feedback from your peers and some experts. But still, in the end the result might have been very different than what we have expected. This might at times make you think whether you can be a good manager and whether you can trust yourself to make decisions in future.

Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it From Happening to You

Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it From Happening to You

We are seeing many reputed organizations making bee line to either file for bankruptcy. There is a Good Leader (s) who made a Bad Decision behind all these. Another reason I think that is leading us down this drain is greed. 

Here’s an excerpt from a WSJ interview of Mr. Sydney Finkelstein author of “Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it From Happening to You“,  titled “Why Good Managers Make Bad Decisions?” by Mr. Erin White on Wall Street Journal Online.


A few interesting reasons for making bad decisions:

  • Leaders make decisions based on their past experiences, which is not always the right decision. 
  • We act out of self-interest most of the times, but we may not know it as this happens at the subconscious level
  • We sometimes make pre-judgements and fail to read signals to the contrary, which will seem obvious later
  • Attachment to People, Places and Things will make leaders take decisions that are biased

What is the remedy?

  • Recognize that we are biased in one way or the other and enter the decision making process by recognizing this and try to identify and avoid these
  • Avoid the “Yes Man” trap, which means, build a team with individuals that question and not just people who would support your decision, despite it’s lack of objectivity

Reading the book probably would throw more light on some real life examples and remedies.  My Reading List is growing pretty fast. I need a life time to read all these. I guess I will read these excerpts and blog about them a bit to internalize some these ideas.


Transition in Today’s Economy

Economic slowdown and layoffs:

This is the worst economic slowdown that the world has seen in the past 50 years.  The forecasts and predictions are all gloomy every where.  Guess how many people got laid off so far in the Top 500 American Public companies since November 01 2008?  As per Forbes magazine’s “Layoff Tracker“, it is exactly 480,674 as of February 19, 2009. I do not want to scare the @#$! out of you, but this is really depressing. The usage of the “D” word is increasing every day. I was not born to see the Great D. But, this probably and hopefully the only Great D that I would see in my life time.

NC PMI Session:

I have posted about a NC PMI session where a gentleman named Doug Johnson did a session on transitioning in today’s economy.  He was an amazing speaker and had a good sense of humor. For the first time in my life,  I have seen a lady choked up and teary eyed in a professional session like this, when she was explaining her layoff story and how her 4 and 6 year old kids tried to help her  by selling their toys to friends at school and bring that money back to her. It was a very touching moment.

Six Phases of Grief:

Experts and studies say that people go through the following phases during grief. I think getting laid off is one such situation.

  1. Shock
  2. Denial and/or Bargaining
  3. Guilt
  4. Anger
  5. Depression
  6. Acceptance and Determination

Believe in yourself and bounce back:

One thing you should realize is the fact that “It’s not you who is responsible for what just happened”. There are a thousand different things and a thousands of other people who caused this. Also, the fact that you have been employed until a few minutes is a testimonial to your ability, skill and hard work. The last thing that you want to do is blame yourself or lose your self confidence. 

Here’s a list of things that experts recommend you should do to get out of the setback, get up on your feet again and get going.

  • Let your emotions out
  • Share your grief with your loved ones, Spouse, Kids (yes kids, they’ll understand)
  • Assess your financial situation
  • Plan and prepare for medium to long-term, for life without a job
  • Keep faith in yourself and plan the next steps. Prepare your resume, network with people, call that old friend of your whom you always wanted to but never did for a long time
  • Do all the things that you always wanted to do, while you were busy burning out in your job, but never did. 
  • Do not lose focus and get discouraged, keep trying

More Help:

Mr. Ben Parr, has written an article on Mashable about 30+ Websites to Visit When Youre Laid Off. He has given a step by step approach with a list of 30 websites that can help. Wall Street Journal has another article in it’s February 03 2008 issue, titled “Coping With Aftermath of Layoffs at your Firm“.

I hope none of you get into this situation. But, when you do, you can always get back on track. It’s just a matter of time.

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