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Thinking Backwards

Book Description

Companies are lousy problem solvers. There are fundamental flaws in the way managers and their advisers make crucial decisions, including: unclear or missing objectives; spending too much time on the problem rather than on the solution; lack of real facts and evidence; giving direction without recommending concrete interventions; misalignment with key stakeholders; or simply missing good alternatives.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Contents
  5. Introduction
    1. The Problem with Problem Solving in Business: It Is an Art
    2. Effective Problem Solving in Business
    3. The Structure of This Book
  6. Chapter 1: Setting Objectives: Turning Problems into Ambitions
    1. Turn Problems into Ambitions
    2. Don’t Get Bogged Down by the Problem
    3. Agree on a Concrete Ambition
    4. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
    5. The Art of Turning Problems into Ambitions
  7. Chapter 2: Building an Analytical Framework: Thinking Backwards
    1. Thinking Backwards
    2. The Question Approach
    3. The Solution Approach
    4. The Stepwise Approach
    5. Choosing an Analytical Framework
    6. The Art of Developing an Analytical Framework
  8. Chapter 3: Conducting Analyses: Going beyond Reasonable Doubt
    1. The Art of Good Analysis
    2. Use Your Analytical Framework
    3. Segment Your Efforts
    4. The Heavy Approach
    5. Be Fact Based
    6. Go to the Primary Source
    7. Challenge Your Assumptions through Multiple Sources
    8. Use Sensitivity and Scenario Analysis to Test the Outcomes
    9. The Light Approach
    10. The Art of Going beyond Reasonable Doubt
  9. Chapter 4: Developing Solutions: Decisions Are Nothing, Intervention Is Everything
    1. Decisions Are Nothing, Intervention Is Everything
    2. Always Have at least Two Good Solutions
    3. Think Intervention
    4. Match Ambitions with Capabilities
    5. Summarize the Trade-offs
    6. The Art of Developing Solutions
  10. Chapter 5: Reaching Stakeholder Alignment: How to Rock the Boat
    1. How to Rock the Boat
    2. Success Factor 1: Top Management Commitment
    3. Success Factor 2: Frontload Elephants
    4. Success Factor 3: Organize for Success
    5. The Art of Rocking the Boat
  11. Thinking Backwards: Looking Forwards
    1. Being Twice as Effective
    2. The Art of Thinking Backwards: Start Looking Forwards
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. About the Authors