Category Archives: Decision Point

Patterns in the Sand

by admin | June 8, 2016

Human beings are pattern processors, not data processors.  This has enormous implications for how we perceive and incorporate information – and of course, how we perceive and incorporate information has a huge impact on how we make decisions. But what does it really mean to say that we are pattern processors?  Among other things, it … Continue reading Patterns in the Sand

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Never Waste a Crisis

by admin | March 22, 2016

If you think the energy industry is complex now, just wait. The downturn in oil price is just one of several challenges. In the past four months I’ve gone to the Energy for Tomorrow conference, the On Sustainability conference (at which I made a presentation), and the Green Biz conference. Only the truly delusional think that the energy mix twenty years or even ten years from now is going to be the same as it currently is.

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Normalization of Deviance

by admin | February 1, 2016

What causes people to stray on that first, small ethical issue? In many cases, it starts with an impossible commitment made at the top. 60 shuttle launches each year; a car that weighs less than 2000 lbs and costs less than $2000, ready for production in 25 months; a cheap, non-polluting, high-mileage diesel vehicle that will make the company the largest car manufacturer in the world.

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Energy for Tomorrow

by admin | December 16, 2015

It is time to stop eroding the balance sheet and go back to living off the income. Fortunately, we are in an excellent position to do just that, and many of the companies at the Energy for Tomorrow conference are leading the way.

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Metrics for a New Century

by admin | November 9, 2015

As we transition from the labor-constrained economy of the past several hundred years to the resource-constrained economy of the current century, we need better metrics for measuring corporate value. As a public service, I am putting forward the following straw man for consideration and feedback. It is qualitative at this point, so I’m cheating a bit by describing this as a system of “metrics.”

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The NOC Worldview vs. IOC Worldview – or, Homo Sapiens vs. Homo Economicus

by admin | September 28, 2015

It is unrealistic to expect the stock-buying public suddenly to stop considering the expected financial return from their investments. I do believe that a company that takes the lead in sustainable business practices will gain a loyal clientele and establish a strong reputation in the market. But they will still have to be profitable.

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An Inflection Point

by admin | August 5, 2015

We need to make a fundamental shift in how we think about industry and about progress. Labor productivity is no longer the key metric; resource productivity is. Successful companies over the next twenty to fifty years are not going to be the ones that figure out how to squeeze greater productivity out of an hour of labor.

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Foragers, Farmers, Fossil Fuels – and Face

by admin | July 6, 2015

It’s frightening how absent healthy debate has become in our public discourse. This is absolutely antithetical to good decision making. One of the characteristics of a good framing session is open give and take, creative conflict. People must be willing to consider ideas that are far removed from their own perspectives, and to challenge those ideas constructively.

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Groupthink and Mergers

by admin | June 2, 2015

When it comes to business mergers and acquisitions, I admit I do not have hard evidence supporting my assertion that many of those decisions are affected by groupthink, but I firmly believe they are. A merger is such a high-profile action, often apparently driven by egos; I sometimes think one might find it difficult to come up with one that was not affected by groupthink. AOL/Time Warner, HP/Compaq, Daimler-Benz/Chrysler – the list of disappointing mergers is a long one.

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When Do You Know Enough? – Part 2

by admin | April 22, 2015

We need to change the way we conduct commerce in order to ensure the long-term viability of our society; industry is the only entity with the power to change how we conduct commerce; therefore, it is up to industry to do so. I think I may have found that company that is stepping up and really leading the way toward a sustainable energy future. Not just paying lip service, and making a few investments in renewables to put into the annual report, but truly taking an active role in leading society towards sustainability.

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