Friday, March 10, 2006

Practicing Management

Art Hutchinson has an interesting blog on forecasting and strategic thinking. His contribution to the consulting scene is running planning seminars in which the corporate management teams run through scenarios to prepare to deal with a variety of unexpected and expected events. I read the blog partly because he occasionally has a good word to say about the role of prediction markets in running a resilient organization. Yesterday's post was about a conference he spoke at last month, and mainly discussed his own talk. He gives a really good argument for the value of scenario exercises. Most teams spend the vast majority of their time rehearsing. Not management teams.

Art points out that one of the factors that leads to good performance under pressure is familiarity with everyone's role, and knowing your own responsibilities well enough that you can act rather than having to spend precious time figuring out where you're supposed to be, or whether you should be digging out more information or telling someone what you already know. Sports teams practice all the time; orchestras spend 75% of their time in rehearsal; military units spend a significant amount of time in war games or sharpening skills; management teams don't.

If you're at all interested in resilient organizations, or sharpening the skills needed to help teams cope, I recommend reading Art Hutchinson.

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