Based on over 10 years of executive teaching, experience at world-leading universities and business schools, and top-published research, I provide workshops, coaching, analysis and consulting. Email me for details.
- Make Bias-Free Strategic Decisions
- Bias-Free Behavioural Finance
- Design Effective Incentives in Organisations
- Minimise your Organisation, Maximise Efficiency
Make Bias-Free Strategic Decisions
Top-level hiring, acquisitions, IPOs, geographical expansion, restructuring… high-stakes decisions are full of cognitive traps and potential for disastrous mistakes. Strategic blind spots, short-termism, conformism make you miss opportunities, take unnecessary risks and stifle innovation.
You will learn to identify and avoid many biases in executive decision-making, including availability bias (thinking in boxes), confirmation bias (only see what you want to see), endowment bias (escalation of commitment, mission creep) and others. You will encounter biased decisions in planning (illusion of control, planning fallacy), in individual decision-making, in group decisions (false consensus…), and in negotiation and bargaining situations (persuasion techniques).
Through a series of M&A-themed simulations you will explore different ingenious tools and techniques to examine your tacit assumptions, to create a group atmosphere that welcomes controversial and innovative ideas, to build genuine, trusting and lasting relations between negotiation partners, to avoid being manipulated in bargaining, to plan for and manage unexpected issues, and to remain open to revising your decisions and to distinguish between bad outcomes and bad decisions.
Bias-Free Behavioural Finance
The Nobel Prizes for Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler have confirmed what everybody knew already: financial markets are weird. Runaway animal spirits seem to come from nowhere and drive delirious bubbles and bottomless crashes. Traders and managers will persistently make the same mistakes, no matter how experienced they are. They hang on to losers for too long and sell winners too early; they are not able to integrate new information into what they already know.
You will learn about different glitches in the brain’s wetware that have disastrous consequences for financial decision-making, like loss aversion, present bias, status quo bias, overconfidence, hedonic treadmill, and our mind’s utter inability to do maths and statistics right (base rate neglect, correlation neglect, hot-hand fallacy etc.).
In hands-on market simulations and games you will learn why we have these inbuilt cognitive biases, when they become a problem, and how to identify them. You will learn about important concepts such as fast and frugal heuristics, prospect theory, and hyperbolic discounting, and you will learn practical tools and tricks to avoid them or make them work in your favor. In the end, you may even feel the perks at home, when you try to quit smoking or stick to your diet.
Design Effective Incentives in Organisations
Monetary incentive schemes are everywhere: hourly wages, piece rates, annual bonuses, stock options… They serve many different purposes: attract high-potentials with perks; smoothen conflicts of interest of bosses (“Work harder!”) and employees (“I would prefer not to.”); transfer risk from those who hate it to those who like it; satisfy different time preferences (money now vs money later); etc.
With so many purposes, it seems inevitable that incentive schemes are rife with problems: hourly wages lead to shirking; employees competing for the same promotion may sabotage each other; workers paid in piece rates will increase quantity by quality shading; team incentives get diluted and create free-riding incentives; when the wrong performance is measured, incentives may even backfire; high-powered incentives may lead to choking under pressure; etc.
You will explore these topics using insights from management, economics, and psychology. Fascinating business cases and scientific experiments expose the root causes of these problems: You will learn about moral hazard, adverse selection, ratcheting, rat races and Cobra effects, monitoring and multitasking, the psychology of social comparison, of motivation crowding-out, and the hidden costs of control. You will know which other factors beyond money are important for motivation, such as purpose, autonomy, trust and appreciation, so that you will be able to create optimised, integrated incentive systems that incorporate the full suite of monetary and non-monetary incentives.
Minimise your Organisation, Maximise Efficiency
Every organisation becomes sclerotic with time: mounting bureaucracy slows down internal processes and makes communication a hassle; hierarchies become complicated, multi-layered management confuses decision-making while different departments grow into warring fiefdoms. Turf wars, information silos, politicking, and distrust end up stifling creativity and dynamism, render much of the work unproductive and meaningless, and transform the entire organisation into a sitting duck, unable to navigate an increasingly changing and chaotic environment.
In all areas of life, we claim freedom and autonomy. In economics, we demand free, decentralised markets, in politics, we champion free, democratic procedures: politicians are the servants of their citizens, and the state should keep its fingers out of their affairs. Yet, despite many attempts at making companies “lean”, “agile”, “disruptive” etc., the results are often unspectacular and short-lived. The reason is that, under the hood, the pyramid hierarchy remains.
To truly transform your business, you must change the culture and mindset that produces hierarchies and bureaucracy. By radically decentralising, by abolishing subordinate relationships and strict procedures, organisations can unleash the full potential of all members, maximising creativity, initiative, motivation, and responsibility. You will learn how international business leaders like Patagonia, Spotify, Handelsbanken, Haier, RedHat and Zappos can do without a power pyramid, without middle management, centralised HR, sales departments, even without budgets or job titles and descriptions, they have transformed monolithic companies into federations of teams, and their employees into partners and entrepreneurs. Simulations and case studies will teach you diverse methods to bring about this change in your organization.