brainroads-toward-tomorrows mental patterns


pyramid to dna

Executive responsibilities: decisions

“To know something,
to really understand something important,
one must look at it from sixteen different angles.

People are perceptually slow,
and there is no shortcut to understanding;
it takes a great deal of time.” read more


“Decision-making is a time machine that synchronizes into a single time — the present — a great number of divergent time spans” Chapter 11, Strategic Planning, Management, Revised Edition


Decisions take place in time: the changing social and economic picture


Thinking Broad and Thinking Detailed by Edward de Bono


Individual decisions: see the questions raised in Career and Life Guidance from Peter Drucker. For example what do you want to put into life and what do you want to get out of it? calls for some decisions.

Day-to-day flow of events

bbx Six Action Shoes

bbx Practical Thinking (applies to all thinking and deciding)

Basic decision thinking by Edward de Bono

bbx de Bono’s Thinking Course

bbx Teach Your Child How to Think

bbx Teach Yourself to Think


bbx The Six Thinking Hats

bbx The Six Value Medals

bbx Information

bbx Six Frames For Thinking about Information

bbx Management Challenges for the 21st Century

bbx Information challenges

bbx Water Logic







The Effective Decision (chapter 37, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices)

Executives do many things in addition to making decisions.

But only executives make decisions.

The first managerial skill is, therefore, the making of effective decisions.

There are countless books on the techniques of decision-making.

Complex logical and mathematical tools have been developed for the decision-making process.

But there is little concern with the essential process itself.

What is a “decision"?

What are the important elements in it?

The only people who have developed a systematic and standardized approach to decision-making are the Japanese.

Their decisions are highly effective.

Yet their approach violates every rule in the books on decision-making.

Indeed, according to the books, the Japanese should never be able to arrive at a decision, let alone an effective one.

It might, therefore, be fruitful to take a look at the Japanese way of decision-making in order to find out what the elements of the process are.

What are the advantages of this process?

And what can we learn from it?

… snip, snip …

In the first place, it makes for very effective decisions.

While it takes much longer in Japan to reach a decision than it takes in the West, from that point on they do better than we do.

After making a decision, we in the West spend much time “selling” it and getting people to act on it.

Only too often either the decision is sabotaged by the organization or, what may be worse, it takes so long to make the decision truly effective that it becomes obsolete, if not outright wrong, by the time the people in the organization actually make it operational.

The Japanese, by contrast, need to spend absolutely no time on selling a decision.

Everybody has been pre-sold.

Also, their process makes it clear where in the organization a certain answer to a question will be welcomed and where it will be resisted.

Therefore, there is plenty of time to work on persuading the dissenters, or on making small concessions to them which will win them over without destroying the integrity of the decision.

… snip, snip …

The Japanese process is focused on understanding the problem.

The desired end result is action and behavior on the part of people.

This almost guarantees that all the alternatives will be considered.

It rivets management attention to essentials.

It does not permit commitment until management has decided what the decision is all about.

Japanese managers may come up with the wrong answer to the problem (as was the decision to go to war against the United States in 1941), but they rarely come up with the right answer to the wrong problem.

And that, as all decision-makers learn, is the most dangerous course, the irretrievably wrong decision.

Above all, their system forces the Japanese to make big decisions.

It is much too cumbersome to be put to work on minor matters.

It takes far too many people far too long to be wasted on anything but truly important matters leading to real changes in policies and behavior.

Small decisions, even when obviously needed, are very often not being made at all in Japan for that reason.

With us it is the small decisions which are easy to make—decisions about things that do not greatly matter.

Anyone who knows Western businesses, government agencies, or educational institutions knows that their managers make far too many small decisions as a rule.

And nothing causes as much trouble in an organization as a lot of small decisions.

Whether the decision concerns moving the water cooler from one end of the hail to the other or the phasing out of one’s oldest business makes little emotional difference.

One decision takes as much time and generates as much heat as the other.

… snip, snip …

What are the essentials of the Japanese method of decision-making?

First the focus is on deciding what the decision is all about.

The Japanese do not focus on giving an answer; they focus on defining the question.

The Japanese, second, bring out dissenting opinions; because there is no discussion of the answer till there is consensus, a wide variety of opinions and approaches is being explored.

Third, the focus is on alternatives rather than on the “right solution.”

The process further brings out at what level and by whom a certain decision should be made.

And finally, it eliminates selling a decision.

It builds effective execution into the decision-making process.

The specific Japanese system is, indeed, sui generis.

It could not be used elsewhere but presupposes the unique social organization of Japan and of Japanese institutions.

But the principles which the Japanese put to work in their decision-making process are generally applicable.

They are the essentials of effective decision-making.




From The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

Effective executives make effective decisions as a systematic process with clearly defined elements and in a distinct sequence of steps.

They do not make a great many decisions.

They concentrate on the important ones.

They are not overly impressed by speed in decision-making.

They want to know what the decision is all about and what the underlying realities are which it has to satisfy.

They want impact rather than technique; they want to be sound rather than clever.

They are not content with doctoring the symptom alone.

They know when a decision has to be based on principle and when it should be made on the merits of the case and pragmatically.

They know that the trickiest decision is that between the right and the wrong compromises and have learned how to tell one from the other.

They know that the most time-consuming step in the process is not making the decision but putting it into effect




Other Drucker Books containing chapters on Effective Decisions:

bbx The Practice of Management

bbx Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices

bbx Managing the Non-Profit Organization

bbx The Effective Executive in Action

bbx The Daily Drucker

bbx Management, Revised Edition

bbx The Definitive Drucker

You might want to harvest and calendarize the key points and steps from several of the above.

This will provide a useful work guide.

Also you might want to employ TEC-PISCO, or TO/LOPOSO/GO during the decision thinking process.




Areas in which decisions may be required are explored below … ↓


Peter Drucker: Conceptual Resources

The Über Mentor

A political / social ecologist
a different way of seeing and thinking about
the big picture
— lead to his top-of-the-food-chain reputation

drucker business week

about Management (a shock to the system)


“I am not a ‘theoretician’; through my consulting practice I am in daily touch with the concrete opportunities and problems of a fairly large number of institutions, foremost among them businesses but also hospitals, government agencies and public-service institutions such as museums and universities.

And I am working with such institutions on several continents: North America, including Canada and Mexico; Latin America; Europe; Japan and South East Asia.” — PFD




List of his books


Large combined outline of Drucker’s books — useful for topic searching.




High tech is living in the nineteenth century,
the pre-management world.
They believe that people pay for technology.
They have a romance with technology.
But people don't pay for technology:
they pay for what they get out of technology.” —
The Frontiers of Management

List of topics in this Folder


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself (PDF) is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world continuing to move toward unimagined futures.



What’s the next effective action on the road ahead


It’s up to you to figure out what to harvest and calendarize
working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then working out a plan for coping with what you’ve rejected.

Your future is between your ears and our future is between our collective ears — it can’t be otherwise. A site exploration starting pointThe memo THEY don't want you to see



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