Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Analogy of the Day: MBAs and EAWs

I have read these bits of advice over and over again for development types - expat aid workers, academics, and all the rest. Maybe we should remind ourselves of the kind of company we're keeping the longer we keep these bad habits up:
Top 5 problem-solving mistakes by MBA's
  • “Avoid jargon” ...  
  •  “What about the organizational design?” ... A lot of papers identified a bad decision, and then suggested reversing it. But they neglected to address the issue of why the bad decision was made, and how to make sure the same mistakes wouldn’t be made in the future. 
  • “Don’t define the problem as the lack of your solution.” For example, if the problem is “the lack of centralized purchasing,” then you are locked into a solution of “centralized purchasing.” Instead, define the problem as “high acquisition cost” and then examine “centralized purchasing” vs. “decentralized purchasing” (or some other alternative) as two solutions to the problem. 
  • “What is the trade-off?” Every solution has costs as well as benefits. ...
  • “Which language is this?” I write this when I get gobbledygook written in the passive voice with big words that don't mean anything. ... 
(HT: Newmark)

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