All entries for Saturday 10 March 2012

March 10, 2012

The 1st follower

Attending the TEDx Warwick today, I had the opportunity to watch a video about leadership which enhanced my understanding of leader-follower behaviour. That particular video shows a man dancing alone in a park where a lot of people are hanging out. At the beginning he is the only one who dances. After a while a second person joins him. As the video points out that's the time when the leader has a meaning! As the time goes by more and more people joining the funny dancing and almost everyone follows the leader.

Although it is very logical that when the first follower appears the act of leadership is actually happening, I haven't thought about it. Indeed, if someone is at a park and starts dancing everyone thinks he's being crazy. But when the second person joins in, and then the third and so on, the whole deed seems like a movement!

Despite that I didn't totally agree with the definition of leadership that says that someone is a leader when (s)he has followers, that particular video made me reconsider the value of followers. Of course leadership is an act that involves more than a leader-follower relationship, but when the first follower appears the leadership can start happening!

Here's the video and I suggest those who haven't seen it should give it a try! And who knows, maybe we all can start a movement and become leaders in just a second!

Different use of decision tools

Based on yesterday's presentations of all teams, I was really surprised by the uniqueness of each one. We all had available the same data, but yet we approached the decisions differently and end up with different results. If we consider this fact, it's amazing, but completely understandable.

Although I do know that there wasn't a right or wrong answer in that particular task, I found myself wondering about the decision-making process that we all used. The most surprising thing for me though was that all teams were able to justify and 'defend' their choices and the use of the decision tools, despite the fact that each team had different things.

Therefore, when we will have to deal with a real situation and more complex decisions what should we do? As Jeff said reality is much more difficult and companies use softwares to deal with these choices. The fact is that people are the ones who put the data in the computer so that the decision can be made. But always the biases lurking and you can never be 100% sure that you made the best decision. If you believe that you are deluding yourself and thus, the rest of the company...

Decision making using game theory

prisonerMost people who have studied economics are familiar with game theory and the prisoner's dilemma, as a very well-known example of it. According to this example, the outcome of this decision is that both prisoners should not betray each other so that a win-win situation can exist and be sentenced for less years.

During the RDM module we didn't mention this way of making decisions although is not very difficult to understand. In the literature there are many articles that discuss this subject, where using game theory can help organisations make decisions. However, despite the very clear 'instructions' that game theory provides and especially when someone knows about this example, in fact people tend to make the wrong decision!And why is that? To my mind this happens so that anyone can protect itself, as most of us would do in a similar situation.

And a very illustrative situation of this can be seen at the 'Bank Job' (an English TV game show). At the final stage of it, the two remaining contestants have to decide about a great deal of money. Both of them are given two briefcases, one full of money and one full of newspapers. The two players then open slightly the briefcases so that they can know where the money are and then give each other whatever briefcase they think. In order to both win the money though, they have to give each other the briefcases with the money, otherwise if they give the newspapers the money goes to previous players who didn't make it to the final. What happened actually is that out of greediness probably both players gave each other the wrong briefcase. Thus, as we can see, although they knew what they should do, they actually did the wrong.

Therefore, imagine what happens in companies and situations that where a win-win outcome is absolutely achievable, but instead they fool themselves out of protection or whatever else reason.

March 2012

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