Analysis and Communication

Much of management is analysis, because a good map of the territory is a pre-requisite to making good choices about where to go next in business. After the decision, much of good management consists of communicating well so we can effectively share a vision of where we are going and keep checking in with each other on progress and new-found issues with the plan.

They are very different modes of work - in some important respects they are opposites.

Good communication is usually based on clearly understanding what you want to say. When you have that clarity then all the rest falls into place: reaching for the right metaphor, the illustrative stories, the right emotional cues. Easy. When you don't have a clear narrative, then you are trying to explain and search all at the same time. That can be done with a friend or colleague in a think session but it does not inspire confidence when people have to commit their careers and businesses to your care. There is a threshold of confidence required. Of course, you have to listen to what is said back, and then you may need to switch mode:

Analysis requires us to set aside certainty and have the courage to review the world afresh, take in new information and even to actively seek to disprove long-held conceptual ideas - because that's the best way to test a hypothesis. Analysis often requires us to create new explanations for how the world is working and then seek ways to test those new ideas. Often it requires seeking out people with very different viewpoints because it is hard to see past my own experiences as the lens through which new information is processed. If I am not getting challenged, I am probably not in a very analytical context - because if I am only seeing things I agree with, I am probably not seeing enough new information. 

Why does this matter so much? Because the most valuable things I can discover in business are inflection points - the moment at which things change direct and the future is different to the past. Everyone is more or less ready for what has already happened. What we need to know more about is how things will work in the future. That takes effort. 

Fortunately, conferences are a great place to get lots of different viewpoints - especially the FSC conference this week where we have an incredible array of speakers. Log in and join us. If you don't know how, ask me.