The Lost Art of Thinking in Large Organizations

You are a manager in a large organization.
What is your typical decision-making process?

In an article published on the MIT Sloan Management Review (“The Lost Art of Thinking in Large Organizations”), Duncan Simester highlights how, when facing a strategic business problem, the focus of managers often narrows to proposing solutions. When asked why, many respond that they don’t have time to think. The answer reflects a relentless focus on execution in many large companies: to be promoted in such organizations requires action more than thinking!

However, once executives are promoted, these new business leaders must be able to think strategically! To think about strategy, start with a specific customer example and ask: how can we better satisfy the customer needs? Now change an assumption and see whether the answer changes. This is what good thinking involves: evaluating hypotheticals and pivoting from one hypothetical to another!

Starting with narrow examples implies the certainty that not every possibility will be exhausted: functional managers transitioning to become senior leaders must learn to embrace ambiguity and uncertainty!

Delegation is the key to finding time to think: executives must become strategic leaders who spend time thinking carefully about how best to deploy their teams, ceasing to be mere managers facilitating execution!

If your managers claim they do not have time to think, you have a problem! You need them to know that they are required to take time away from doing to think. A singular focus on what made your company big risks preventing it from sustaining that growth in the future.



[Complete article, “The Lost Art of Thinking in Large Organizations”, available at]


Altre news