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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Best Behavior

Jack and I were wasting time talking about how just when you create an overwhelming advantage, the game changes, rendering your advantage obsolete, from dinosaurs to asynchronous warfare. We looked at various leadership behaviors and the philosophies behind them, The Golden Rule, a little Game Theory, even Seth’s Game Theory.

Seems like the farther these theories get from practice, the more complicated they become. I suspect that is so when they don’t work, the inventor can say, “See, you missed paragraph 124, line 5!” as if that means anything.

We agreed that best behavior had to be small enough to be readily understood, easily applicable when we don’t know all of a situation, and communicable and believable by the winners in the organization.

Can’t be harnessed to a fantastic super-belief, has to make sense to the winners you meet.

Can’t be harnessed to a false ideal that doesn’t pay off regularly.

Can’t favor one side over another.

The success of this behavior has to be self evident to most observers.

Here’s our answer: Always behave as if a superior force is coming into play shortly.

When you have a process that works under those circumstances, you have something worth expanding.

Check out Blah, Blah Blog at the Web Managers Roundtable, on August 9, and BlogLab, coming August 16. 


Carol Covin said...

Interesting assumption, and close enough to the truth to be valuable. My son once played in a programming tournament where he won by going directly to the finish line instead of engaging the opponents. He considered it a double win when they rewrote the rules for the next year to forbid this kind of tactic. Sometimes the most obvious solution is missed by everyone else.

Unknown said...

A very good point. Juxtapose your answer to the prevailing opinion of many managers that there is no force superior to them. (And, by the way, if you really want to explore game theory, may I suggest "The Art of Strategy" by Avinash Dixit and Barry Nalebuff.)

Thoughthebrowser said...

Yow! I can tell a good post by the comments it collects!
Thank you, Joe and Carol!
Two wonderful applications of the idea in the post way beyond what I have experienced.
Thank you for commenting!

Unknown said...


Recent example of the behavior theory we observed -

Groupon was the fastest growing company in history for a while and the only game in town for unique local coupons. Now there are numerous knockoffs which are similar and compete in the same space that Groupon dominated just a short time ago.

Imaging their surprise!