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Like thousands of people, I was stunned to see the recent announcement of Steve Job's resignation as Apple's CEO. Although we knew this was likely to happen given Jobs' very unfortunate health issues, it's hard to see such an industrial genius having to step aside. Browsing through the abundant press coverage, I ran into this enlightening video of his successor, Tim Cook (Auburn University, Class of 2010 Commencement keynote).
Two things which you may find particularly interesting in this video, with regard to Decision Management:
While highlighting the critical importance of intuition in some major decisions, Cook insists on the fact that it can only be a complement to rational and analytical thinking. This is one of the reasons why it is so strategic to work on Decision Management and Decision Support Systems, not just pure Decision Automation. Some decisions are definitely worth automating but, for others, what you want is to equip people with the right combination of techniques and data for them to make the right decision or, as the title of our blog says, the good decision.
The other key message is the importance of preparation. Decision Management is all about making the most out of data, know how, business goals and context, and technology, in order to prepare the organization making better decisions, faster. Not coming with last minute and poorly thought-out decisions but offering a platform to rationalize and streamline decisions, mixing anticipation and agility.
Tim Cook's video highlights. All 18 minutes are worth
watching, but you can skip to these relevant sound bites if you only have a few minutes:
[4:50] Cook's most significant decision of joining Apple (in the midst of Apple's then downturn).
[7:20] While it is usually right to make decisions analytically and without emotion, there are times when guts and intuition must take the lead.
[10:15] "Even if you can't plan, you can prepare."
[11:05] Abraham Lincoln's quote: "I will prepare and, some day, my chance will come." Which others have translated into "Success is 95% preparation and 5% luck" (or rather intuition for Cook). The difference between managed and ad-hoc or improvised decision making.
[11:50] "We rarely control the timing of opportunities, but we can control our preparation." This quote highlight the uniqueness of Apple in the consumer market. As Malcom Gladwell states in The Tipping Point, it is extremely challenging to reach the magic moment of starting a global trend and timing the massive adoption of a breakthrough invention or product in particular. But that's what Steve Jobs has been able to do consistently (Macs, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTune), so often that it is clearly not luck but constant preparation and sustained hard work, coupled with product design genius and intuition.
[13:34] "Make sure that your execution lives up to your preparation." This advice perfectly fits perfectly with the value proposition of Decision Management. The forward looking that you gain through predictive analytics in particular is only good if you have a robust and consistent translation into your operations with Business Rule and Business Process Management in particular.
[14:30] "Intuition is not a substitute for rigorous thinking." And what better platform than technology to make our thinking more rigorous in this rising ocean of information. Besides, better Decision Management helps you focusing on where to strategically apply intuition.
[15:15] "Intuition is critical in everything we do but, without relentless preparation and execution, it is meaningless."
By the way, I counted the word decision 16 times in Cook's speech but I may have actually missed one or two while I was paying attention to the depth of his message. Let me know if you get a different count.
So, in closing, here are three toasts:
First, to Jobs, that he can fulfill his wish to remain involved in the continuation of Apple's odyssey for many more years(*).
To Cook, for his new challenge as Apple's CEO and many more well managed and good decisions.
And, to the rest of us, that we can leverage Cook's wisdom and experience to improve Decision Management in our own organizations -- minimizing the reliance on luck and maximizing the relevance of the instrumentation of our decisions to improve them.
(*) Excerpt from Jobs' resignation letter: "I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board
sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee."