Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review of Good Boss Bad Boss

 Professor Sutton has finally written a practical book about managing in the work place. Being a Purdue MBA grad I can vouch that the current MBA curriculum have overt theory and does not contain practical advise.

This  books contains gems like the list below which can be  readily applied in your next meeting.

12 Things Good Bosses Believe


1. I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to work for me.
   2. My success — and that of my people — depends largely on being the master of obvious and mundane things, not on magical, obscure, or breakthrough ideas or methods.
   3. Having ambitious and well-defined goals is important, but it is useless to think about them much. My job is to focus on the small wins that enable my people to make a little progress every day.
   4. One of the most important, and most difficult, parts of my job is to strike the delicate balance between being too assertive and not assertive enough.
   5. My job is to serve as a human shield, to protect my people from external intrusions, distractions, and idiocy of every stripe — and to avoid imposing my own idiocy on them as well.
   6. I strive to be confident enough to convince people that I am in charge, but humble enough to realize that I am often going to be wrong.
   7. I aim to fight as if I am right, and listen as if I am wrong — and to teach my people to do the same thing.
   8. One of the best tests of my leadership — and my organization — is "what happens after people make a mistake?"
   9. Innovation is crucial to every team and organization. So my job is to encourage my people to generate and test all kinds of new ideas. But it is also my job to help them kill off all the bad ideas we generate, and most of the good ideas, too.
  10. Bad is stronger than good. It is more important to eliminate the negative than to accentuate the positive.
  11. How I do things is as important as what I do.
  12. Because I wield power over others, I am at great risk of acting like an insensitive jerk — and not realizing it.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Fox vs Hedgehogs

Finally I hit the Holy grail of decision making when I accidentally listened to dr. Phil Tetlock give a presentation at

If are very interested like me in psychology of decision making then this is a great presentation. Iam a big fan of Nassim Taleb but unfortunately Taleb teaches about uncertainties but not how to deal with uncertainties except to say be safe and don't take risk.

Phil classifies people into two different categories Foxes and hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs are the visionaries and have one main theme in life or in markets or in politics.
Some Examples of hedgehog thinking are-

- We are going to see massive  deflation and Dow will fall below 5000.
- we are going to see hyper inflation and  gold is going to hit $5000 and oil $200 a barrel.
-USA has seen its final moments and is going to disintegrate.
- China is going to have revolution and communists will be thrown out.

Hedgehogs get married to their positions and can never change, even when their positions don't happen. They justify it by saying that it will happen in the long run.

 Foxes  take best of many worlds

- They do not have any entrenched positions but combine many positions.
- They change their positions  quite often when presented evidence.

Here are the results-

Foxes on average are better decision makers than hedgehogs
Foxes do not get as much attention like hedgehogs.
When hedgehogs are right they have fame come along with it.
Hedgehogs do not  even do better than basic computer algorithm.