Simple Rules for complex choices


Professor Don Sull has a series of interesting posts at his always stimulating FT Blog on the topic of Simple Rules.

As he notes in his first post on the subject you can tackle issues with lots of detailed procedures or:-

Simple rules represent a powerful approach to structure choices without constraining them in a straight-jacket. A decade ago, my colleague Kathy Eisenhardt and I studied how companies in turbulent markets, such as Intel, Yahoo, and Cisco decided which opportunities to pursue. What we found surprised us.  These companies did not make complex choices using complicated frameworks. Instead, they tackled complexity with simplicity. Specifically they articulated a small set of hard-and-fast rules that helped them allocate limited resources to their most promising use.

Professor Sull set his comments in the context of the current recession, but suggests I infere that the techniques should be applied in times of boom as well as bust. He notes that the boom allowed many to avoid taking hard decisions and making tough choices. From my perspective that factor may well have caused more pain in the recession, than if the tough decisions had been made when they should have been.

Other posts in the series were:-

Interesting thoughts well worth thinking about.

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