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Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

Book Review: How The Wise Decide

Written by former McKinsey consultants, Bryn Zeckhauser and Aaron Sandoski, How The Wise Decide studies 21 business leaders and difficult decisions they had made to identify 6 strategies/ approaches/ tactics that underlie these critical leadership decisions:

  1. Go to the source
  2. Fill a room with barbarians
  3. Conquer the fear of risk
  4. Make vision your daily guide
  5. Listen with purpose
  6. Be transparent

The stories are terrific — it is always helpful to hear what others have accomplished and learned.  No need to reinvent the wheel, in classic consulting-speak (the authors would be proud).  That said, while I was riveted in the beginning, I was less interested towards the end.  The stories were still compelling but in an effort to tie them all together perhaps the 6 overarching lessons seemed thin.

That said, the lessons are important and easily overlooked in the daily grind.  “Go To The Source”, the first lesson which espouses going back to the raw data where you can (a healthcare CEO watches surgeries, for example) was my favorite and a great coaching lesson.  How many of you are going to read this or other review of the book, feel like you got enough, and never read it for yourself?  Maybe I needed to read Go To The Source because of my habits, but you need something else from the book that I won’t cover.  The coaching takeaway?  Look at the data, question your assumptions, realize that what you hear is already filtered by the lens from where the info came.  What are you assuming in the decisions that you have made and still need to make?  Go to the source first before deciding.


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