12/21/05 - judgement and instincts

In today's excerpt - industry legend and pioneer Andrew Grove, Chairman of Intel, speaks to his belief that judgment and intuition—the artistic aspects of management—are more fundamental than the 'scientific' and analytical aspects of management. He addresses this in the context of what he calls 'inflection points'—unexpected full-scale changes in the way a particular business is conducted:

"Given the amorphous nature of inflection points, how do you know the right moment to take an appropriate action, to make the changes that will save your company or your career? Unfortunately, you don't.

"But you can't wait until you do know: Timing is everything. If you undertake these changes while your company is still healthy, while your ongoing business forms a protective bubble in which you can experiment with the new ways of doing business, you can save much more of your company's strength, your employees and your strategic position. But that means acting when not everything is known, when the data aren't yet in. Even those who believe in a scientific approach to management will have to rely on instinct and personal judgment. When you're caught in the turbulence of a strategic inflection point, the sad fact is that instinct and judgment are all you've got to guide you through."


Andrew S. Grove


Only The Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points the Challenge Every Company


Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.


Copyright 1996, 1999 by Andrew S. Grove


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