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Game Theory

“The key lesson of game theory is to put yourself in the other player’s shoes.”  Dixit and Nalebuff, The Art of Strategy.

Need a new strategy, appoint a new leader?

The appointment of a new leader, especially one from outside the organization, triggers a comprehensive review and a transformational update of existing strategy. New leaders frequently are summoned to deal with burning platforms, but leadership changes have become the norm in organizations, including the public sector, where new civilian leaders are appointed after elections, and in the military, where leaders have limited-term tenure. From the Execution Premium, Robert Kaplan and David Norton, 2008 p. 63.

Leaders that have different beliefs and values to that of the organization they lead may no longer be a fit. As organizations evolve a once good fit can change. This often is the fate of the transformational leader. To often today, boards will change the leader rather than do the hard work to asses the shift that is occurring in the organization’s culture or environment. We increasingly live in a toss it away for new world.

Difference of opinion

As Mark Twain observed, it is difference of opinion that makes a horse race. It underpins many other human pursuits too.

Success and failure

Success has ruined more people than failure.

Define your wildly important goal

Lessons form The 4 Disciplines of Execution, McChesney, Covey, Huling.

In determining your wildly important goal don’t ask “What’s most important?” Instead, begin by asking “if every other area of our operation remained at its current level of performance, what is the one area where change would have the greatest impact?” This question changes the way you think and lets you clearly identify the focus that would make all the difference. p 32

Once the top level goal is chosen, the next question is critical. Instead of asking, “what are all the things we can do to win the war?” – a common mistake that results in a long to do list – ask. “What are the fewest number of battles necessary to win this war?”  Doing this will assist you to clarify and simplify your strategy. p 36

A WIG( wildly important goal) is a tactical goal with a limited time frame.  One of the best WIGs of all time came from President John F. Kennedy when he pronounced “our goal is to land a man on the moon and return him safely before the end of the decade.” p 38

When a team moves from having a dozen we-really-hope goals to one or two no-matter-what goals, the effects on morale is dramatic. It’s as though a switch exists in every team member’s head called ”Game On!” p 41

Every one wants to feel that they are winning and that they are contributing to something meaningful. And when times are tough they want it even more. p 41

When you think about it, the principle of focusing on the vital few goals is common sense; it’s just not common practice. p. 43



The Sweet Spot Between Planning and Execution

The “sweet spot” on a baseball bat is the unique position on the bat that makes the ball fly the fastest. The same is true of the planning and execution challenge. The failure to execute a plan fully or or well results in limited success. Manager’s Guide to Business Planning, Peter J. Capezio, 2010, page 15.


Everything should be made as simple as possible…but not simpler. Albert Einstein


There are very few monsters that merit the fears we have of them. Andre’ Gide


Learn to bloom where you are planted.


To be simple is the best thing in the world. G. K. Chesterton