Decision Making: It’s not what you think (Part 3) – A Guest Blog by Henry Mintzberg

Posted by MarchFifteen & filed under Leadership Development.

Following is the third and final excerpt of the themed topic discussion workbook on Decision Making: It’s not what you think.  This new format for developing leaders and managers by Henry Mintzberg and Phil LeNir is based on the 70:20:10 framework.

There are no lectures, no disconnect from the workplace, just group of managers developing together during 90 minute sessions, guided by a CoachingOurselves topic such as this one below.  Make sure to read the first blog in the series for an introduction to the approach.

Characteristics of the Three Approaches

Thinking first features Seeing first features Doing first features
Science Art Craft
Planning, programming Visioning, imagining Venturing, learning
The verbal The visual The visceral
Facts Ideas Experiences


Thinking first works best when Seeing first works best when Doing first works best when
The issue is clear (as in established production process) Many elements have to be combined into creative solutions (as in new product development) The situation is novel and confusing (as in facing a new, disruptive technology)

Thinking, Seeing Doing – Your Decisions

With this in mind, let’s turn to your own decisions at work…

  1. Take a decision you are now struggling with, or revisit one you just made.  Ideally, it will be a decision common to all of you in the group, such as how you decide to prioritize your time on a daily or weekly basis.  Otherwise, try to pick one that you are all familiar with, or at least one that can be easily explained to the others.

Then go to the next question.

  1. Now, discuss how you have been approaching it or did approach it.  By thinking about it? By trying to see it more clearly? By doing things to learn about it?

(You can spend about 5 minutes on this before moving on.)

  1. Next, consider how you might use (or might have used) one of the other approaches instead.  First think individually for a few minutes and record your thoughts.  For example, how might you see first? Visit a customer, go see the problem yourself? Or maybe see together by doing a collage of the issue.  Or how might you do first? Maybe design an experiment or break the issue into little ones and attack certain parts first? Or how about acting it out?
  2. Share your thoughts as a group.

Moving Forward

Now: make an action plan.
Whoops – don’t do that. That’s thinking first! Maybe you should leave this session saying: “No action plan! Not this time. Today one of us is going to march straight over to _________and try_________.”

Or maybe you’re raring to go…
Do you act before thinking? Shed some light on the situation! Maybe you should leave this session saying: “It’s time to have a good look at ____________.”

Enough of plans and programs; it’s time for vision and actions!

Reflecting Ourselves

  1. What new perspectives on your approach to Decision Making resulted from the discussion during this session?
  2. What are your specific actions for follow-up?
  3. Was this a useful exercise?
  4. You may wish to explore the related CoachingOurselves topics: Dealing with the Pressures of Management, Management Styles: Art, Craft, Science, and The Platy of Analysis.

That’s it! You’ve finished this CoachingOurselves topic “Decision Making: It’s Not What You Think.”

About CoachingOurselves

CoachingOurselves was founded by Henry Mintzberg and Phil LeNir.  It is a novel approach to leadership and organizational development based in the 70:20:10 framework.  There is no lecturer.  There is no disconnect from the workplace.  CoachingOurselves is groups of managers learning and developing themselves and their organization during 90 minute sessions, guided by a topic workbook.  Our renowned authors include Edgar Schein, Henry Mintzberg, and Philip Kotler.  CoachingOurselves had been used by over 10,000 managers worldwide.

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