Bootcamp for Guiding Complex Problem-Solving & Decision-Making Processes
Over 3.5 days, we will familiarize you with the several fundamental concepts that are at the root of problem-solving and decision-making, which will save you the pains of developing good judgment from experience alone. Some of the issues covered in this course include: – The Augmentation/Meta Process – Using and Defending Against Strategies of Conflict – Negotiations, Mediation, and Conflict Resolution – Excellence and Productivity – Assessing Risk and Dealing with Uncertainty – Elementary Concepts in Applied Maximizing – The Role of Values
What is this course about?
This course is for Public-Sector Professionals with Leadership Responsibilities This course does not deal with the technical issues of any specific discipline. Rather, this course deals with the leadership issues that all project managers earlier or later have to deal with; issues that can trip up, even destroy, many a technically qualified manager’s career.
Look at this 3.5-day course as a Crash-Course in Decision-Theory
This training exposes managers to all the major concepts that underlie leadership. The leadership that professionals provide – as opposed to political policy-makers whose job it is to lead on policy issues – has to do with leading . . . i.e. pointing the way (rather than blindly following) . . . at every step of the way as a project makes its way through a rigorous thought-process that gets to the bottom of:
- What the problem/opportunity at hand really is, . . . rather than just deal with its symptoms
- What all the relevant cause-and-effect relations are that are behind the problem and its possible solutions
- What all the consequences are – intended and unintended, direct and indirect, discreet and aggregate – for each of the possible solutions
Leadership issues covered in this course include:
They say that “good” judgment comes from experience. . . And, they say that “experience” comes from “bad” judgment. There is, however, another way: You can familiarize yourself with the several fundamental concepts that are at the root of problem-solving and decision-making. These concepts can – when you’re under the pressure of time, inadequate information, and conflicting opinions – help you develop a track record of making good judgment calls.
How can you develop “good judgment” from this course?
Again, this is a Decision-Theory crash-course. It is a Leadership boot-camp designed to do just that: familiarize you with virtually all of the fundamental concepts of Problem-Solving and Decision-Making. They include:
The Augmentation / Meta-Process
This is a practical, yet comprehensive, strategy for figuring out what to do next — especially when everything goes wrong — as you guide your team through both the technical Problem-Solving and the political Decision-Making process. The Augmentation / Meta-Process is the backbone of the whole Leadership course. It gives you the wherewithal to make sure your planning is rigorous, so it will stand up to even the most critical scrutiny. It does this by immunizing you, your team, your agency, and your project against the many possible mistakes that make their way into decision-making efforts. (As an aside: the Augmentation / Meta-Process is what Hans’ 1972 Ph.D. dissertation at MIT was all about.)
Crisis Management Strategies
There are two aspects to Crisis Management:
- Managing your project, your team, and your agency in the midst of a crisis, and
- Managing the crisis itself. Most management processes – even good management processes – break down during a crisis; they simply don’t function.
The acid test for any management process is to see how it performs in a crisis. Because a good way to make sure your project-management process won’t just hold up during good times – but will hold up when a crisis hits – is to make sure you incorporate the fundamentals of crisis management in the way you operate.
The SDIC / CPO Consent-Building Strategy
This is an abbreviated overview of Systematic Development of Informed Consent and Citizen Participation-by-Objectives . . . for attendees who have not had the SDIC/CPO training. Those who have had that training will get a finer understanding of how to bring all of the elements together.
Fundamentals of Communicating
Effective communication is integral to effective leadership; after all, how are you going to “lead” if you’re not understood? It’s actually rare that we are really, really understood! And, it’s just as rare that we really, really understand others! This is about how to get through to people. Key elements:
- the role of Credibility
- how to nurture it and how to lose it
- sharing data versus using data to persuade
- DOs and DON’Ts of dealing with the media
- how to use the mass media to create an informed public
Using – and Defending Against – Strategies of Conflict
We’ll give you an introduction to important and related topics:
- Game Theory
- the Science of Developing Winning Strategies
- Zero-Sum Games vs. Non-Zero-Sum Games (i.e. the world of Thomas Schelling, Henry Kissinger, Machiavelli, and others)
- We’ll concentrate on the contribution of Thomas Schelling (2006 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics) and its ramifications for public officials who have to deal with the unavoidable fact that there will always be some special interests who will get hurt by what it is your duty to propose
Negotiations, Mediation, and Conflict Resolution
This is one of the most important elements. It, all by itself, deserves a couple of years of graduate study! We’ll cover the concepts of:
- Constructive vs. Non-Constructive conflict
- Alternative Dispute Resolution, and
- Distributive vs. Integrative Negotiation
We’ll explore how you can put these concepts to work, not just in overt negotiations situations, but in your day-to-day functioning.
Dealing with Extremist Opponents including Domestic Terrorists
While most managers should not have a need for the tactics we cover in this element, some of our clients do have honest-to-goodness domestic terrorists among their potentially affected interests. There are things you MUST do to get these folks back on a more rational track. As a minimum, you’ll want to make sure you won’t ever contribute to creating such extremist opponents for your agency. Extremist opponents often are created by government agencies who – inadvertently – violate some people’s Process-Values and Meta-Values. We will give you very practical DOs and DON’Ts for fulfilling, rather than violating those values. You will leave the training with tactics that you can use to prevent – and even HEAL – extremist opponents’ views and bring them back to a more reasonable and rational level. (We do not try to deal with the phenomenon of foreign terrorism.)
Professional Ethics and You
When it comes to Professional Ethics, an ounce of Prevention is worth a ton of Cures. Making one single mistake — after years of distinguished public service — can ruin your entire career. The trouble is: the rules of Professional Ethics are not necessarily written rules; people tell you the rules after you have violated them. And, it’s not as if it’s a game; society generally can’t tell you the rules before. The people who – retroactively – enforce ethics rules on you don’t know what those rules are themselves until they see them violated. It’s your violation of one of those unwritten rules that makes people realize that they do have a rule about that specific behavior.
How can I learn the rules if society can’t articulate them?
The good news is: you don’t have to become a victim of this situation. In our module on Professional Ethics, we’ll show you that while society doesn’t seem to be able to tell you what their unwritten rules are in advance, we can. It’s complex but not rocket science! As a leader you owe it to yourself, and to the professionals you supervise, to learn how you can anticipate ethics issues that are inherent in your particular profession, role, or position. And, most importantly, you’ll learn how to immunize yourself – and your colleagues — against making bad judgment calls on ethics issues that can be career terminators.
Commission / Staff Relations
In this country we tend to elect Boards and Commissions; some of these elected bodies in turn can — and do – appoint other Boards and Commissions. The role of Board and Commissions is to make policy; they are decision-makers. They hire a staff of experts who do the necessary legwork to develop policy and to put those policies, once adopted, into effect.That’s how we construct organizations, not only in the public sector but even in the private sector. Board members tend to be lay people; their staffs are – and/or use — experts. One duty of the staff leader (the highest ranking staff member . . . that professional who doesn’t report to another professional but to the political policy-makers) is to design and manage the Commission / Staff relationship. How well you do this, can make or break the organization! In fact, there is no other duty that is more important as an organizational leader than the design and management of this interface. If you do it well, you can go goofing off the rest of the time (we’re not recommending you do that!), and still be a great leader. You do it poorly, and you can work 24 / 7 and still be a walking disaster of a leader!
Managing for Excellence and Productivity
One of your greatest Leadership Challenges of every supervisor is to be a great supervisor
- one who motivates your people
- one who brings out the best in your people
Getting extraordinary performance from ordinary people is what phenomenally good leaders do — consistently! You don’t have to be a motivational genius; just learn – and then use – their methods!
Assessing Risk and Dealing with Uncertainty
Decisions invariably involve uncertainty. No matter how much analysis your team does as it develops solutions to problems, you don’t have a crystal ball; you can’t foresee the future with certainty. That’s why you’re forced to stick your neck out and accept risks every time you make a decision or recommend a decision. We all learn to deal with this challenge . . . We manage to choose a college, a career, a spouse, a recommended medical procedure, an investment, . . . or whatever. In our everyday lives, we do most of this risk analysis by the seat-of-the-pants. However, there actually are clever – even brilliant – mechanisms to take the various degrees of uncertainty into account.Yes, we know, mastering these tools can fill an entire graduate curriculum. For you though, as a leader of teams of professionals who do problem-solving and decision-making for a living, you owe it to them, to yourself, and to your employer to at least familiarize yourself with these tools. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Probability Theory in Decision-Making
- Quantification of Risk
- Risk Aversion
- Expected Value (its uses and its abuses)
- Expected Utility and its uses
- Quantification of Qualitatively Different Outcomes
- Decision-trees (how to construct them and how to analyze them)
Elementary Concepts in Applied Maximizing
Decision-making is about making choices. It always has to do with trying to figure out what to do, which of two or more alternative courses of action to choose, and figuring out how to bring about the best possible outcome. But, things aren’t always what they appear to be. Unless you know when to apply – and when not to apply – the following concepts, you’ll be fooled into making some terrible decisions:
- Benefit/Cost Analysis
- Marginal Benefit/Cost Analysis
- Minimizing Regret
- and how to use “Process Cost” to prevent “Paralysis-by-Analysis”
The Role of Values
- The Nature of Values
- Why Values are so important to all of us
- The Values most relevant to Personal Relationships
- The Values most relevant to Providing Leadership
Individual and Corporate Decision-Making vs. Community Decision-Making
- The central role of values in Decision-Making
- The ubiquitous Algorithm for Decision-Making
- The absolutely key role of Higher Values in Community Decision-Making, Consent-Building, Negotiations, Mediation, Conflict-Resolution, and Conflict Prevention
This course constitutes a virtual leadership boot-camp for people who are in positions – or are aspiring to positions – where they are responsible for making judgment calls. What differentiates “good” leadership from disastrous leadership is the how good or bad the judgment calls are that are made. Professionals in senior management positions cannot escape making judgment calls; the only question is how good – or how bad — their judgment calls will look after the dust has settled . . . after history has played out . . . after the media investigations and the Congressional inquiries are over. If you’re a project manger, you will have to make judgment calls: under time-pressure, without adequate information, in the face of conflicting advice from your lawyers, your technical experts, and your policy-makers — about what to do next. You do this as your project makes its way through the Problem-Solving and Decision-Making process — from initial head-scratching, through all the analytical steps, to the final execution and implementation of your plan.
This Leadership Bootcamp Training is designed to help managers develop their judgment-making skills.
The course does this by preparing them to anticipate most of the challenging issues that will confront them in their leadership positions.
When people say: “We need leadership,” what they really mean is that we need good leadership.
Let’s face it; poor leadership happens, and it usually has terrible consequences. Poor leadership happens when managers make bad judgment calls. It benefits no one. Everyone loses when professionals responsible for guiding a planning / decision-making process drop the ball by exercises poor judgment. Excellent leadership, which means decision-making guidance that consistently exercising good judgment, is what everyone is looking for. That’s what they mean when they call for “Leadership”. We are dedicated to making professionals with management responsibilities, especially public-sector managers, better leaders. We have spent our lives working to help such professionals become better at accomplishing their missions. Although it does not lend itself to quick fixes, leadership skills for professionals in management positions are more learnable than people think.
Depending on your needs and time constraints, we are prepared to conduct shorter or longer versions of this course.
It is a crash-course; there is so much material in there, we have to make short shrift with some of it even in the 3.5-day format. For shorter versions, we work with clients to make sure we don’t cut out elements that are critical for their staff.