Chapter 5. Dealing with Dilemmas, or Not?

Ever notice that "what the hell" is always the right decision?

Marilyn Monroe

Strategic dilemmas can be predicted; they are deeply rooted in most organization's business models. In fact, we can even classify a number of them. Long term or short term, listen or lead, and optimize or innovate are all "now-versus-later" dilemmas that require creating options. Value or profit, inside out or outside in, and top down or bottom up are "you-versus-me" dilemmas and you should seek synthesis. These dilemmas are universal. Next to these predictable dilemmas, there are always one-time strategic "this-or-that" decisions to be taken that require a clear choice or a certain trade-off.

But how? Everyone seems to agree that the genius of the and is important. However, how can that genius be embraced? We all understand that conflicting requirements need to be reconciled to create a win-win situation, but that seems to be more art than science. Or is it? What is the right course of action? There are many ways to deal with dilemmas.

How Not to Deal with Dilemmas

"What the hell" may have worked for Marilyn Monroe. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin preaches, "screw it, let's do it."[118] The famous Peters and Waterman describe a "bias for action" as one of the key principles of successful management in In Search of Excellence.[119] These are all examples of the current Western management culture not really helping in recognizing and dealing with dilemmas. This way of ...

Get Dealing with Dilemmas: Where Business Analytics Fall Short now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.