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Signs of weak analysis and advice

by Mark P. McDonald  |  March 3, 2012  |  Comments Off on Signs of weak analysis and advice

If information is power, then information is more equal than others. It can be difficult to separate the strong from the weak, particularly in todays modern media world where everyone is an expert and every media outlook is looking for a talking head.

What follows are some examples of concepts, responses and way of thinking that I have heard that more often than not reflect weak analysis or advice.   These phrases and frameworks should indicate the need to scrutinize the information and the people closely.

  • Build a better relationship
  • It’s a journey
  • It works, only if you do it right or do it better
  • You cannot do it with executive support
  • You need the right people
  • You need new skills
  • It is not you, it is someone else
  • You need a new solution, our solution because its a perfect fit for the situation
  • Everything you know is wrong
  • You need a new role
  • Integration is the answer
  • It depends

These are analysis frameworks and patterns of advice that are indicators of weak analysis or advice.  We all recognize these arguments when they are put into a list, but that does not keep us from failing to recognize specific applications of these models to the advice and analysis we consume in our jobs.

This is important as the points above are illustrations of the situation where the description of the underlying situation, its forces, causes, and direction is less complex than the reality we all recognize.  That is a situation where it sounds too good to be true, to simple to work, etc.

Alarm bells should go off in our heads whenever the recommended prescription is patently less complex than the situation it supposedly addresses.  That is the mold in which silver bullets are cast.  It is the domain of expedient thinking, and quasi-professional marketing.

Periodically the blog will take a look at each of these frameworks highlighting examples and the reasons why they weaken the value of the information they contain.  In case you are wondering, I have fallen prey to these simplifications from time to time, but that is the reason for this post — to remind us what valuable advice looks like.

Information gains its power based on how we use it to make decisions and create results.  That process starts with the way information is packaged, the frameworks and models that are the basis and bias for what they contain.  Knowing the signs of weak analysis and advice is a foundational element that separates those that are equal from those that are more equal than others.

What frameworks or models or examples would you like to add to the list?


Related posts

Signs of weak management – post that links to other posts detailing various signs of weak business management

Working in three dimensions is a sign of a weak idea


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Category: leadership  management  personal-observation  signs-of-weak-management  

Tags: personal-musing  personal-observation  signs-of-weak-management  strategy  stupid-management-tricks  

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Fellow Emeritus in Gartner for General Managers Program.

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