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Frameworks and Sherlock Holmes

B2B Frameworks is dedicated to figuring out the best templates and models to improve business efficiency. These frameworks do not stand alone. Their effectiveness depends on the managers that implement them. This requires skills and judgement.

Skills and judgement are different. Skills are the capabilities we acquire through the regular repetition of a task. Malcolm Gladwell believes we need 10,000 hours of repetition to become an expert in a given field. I don't want to decry the importance of skills, they definitely help in decision-making. The problem is that people with skills don't always have judgement.

Judgement is the process by which we synthesise information, work out what matters, check on various alternatives and then make a decision. Judgement, as well as skill, is crucial in business decisions and using business frameworks.

The importance of judgement increases with the importance of the decision. We would hope that every CEO is blessed with good judgement. Whereas skills are learned over 10,000 hours, good judgement has an element of innate ability. Good judgement comes from listening to people and reacting to what they say. It requires intellectual skills but also empathy and emotional intelligence.

Bad judgements are made because the decision maker filters out things they may not like or want to hear. Judgements inevitably involve critical analysis which may well require some heart searching – such as "could I be wrong?".

This is where artificial intelligence (AI) could be a boon in choosing and working with frameworks. Yes, I know that some judgements are driven by hunch and intuition but many times these can be wrong. IBM has developed artificial intelligence software called Watson. Watson diagnoses heart disease better than cardiologists. Algorithms identify eye disease just as well as physicians. AI will take all intelligence into consideration and not filter out things because it is biased. That said, I think most of us would prefer to have a diagnosis made by a human being rather than a software program even though we are told that the software could be more accurate.

We will keep an eye on this subject. There is a very good chance that in the future we won’t need to agonise as to which framework to use and how to apply it. In the future perhaps the greatest judgement will be required in deciding when AI should take a decision and when to leave it to a human being.

The earlier mention of Watson prompts me to end with a quote from the famous detective. In the book, "The sign of the Four", Sherlock Holmes made the perceptive point to Dr Watson - "How often have I said to you (Watson) that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?". Sherlock sounds like he would be in favour of AI. He cautions us to not be afraid of the improbable because that may be where the answer lies. AI rather than judgement may be better at getting us to that truth.


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