In a public speech he gave in 1971 he warned:
“The wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”
And he went further. In his 1973 paper titled, “Applying Information Technology to Organizational Design”, Prof. Simon wrote:
“The information-processing systems of our contemporary world swim in an exceedingly rich soup of information. In a world of this kind, the scarce resource is not information; it is processing capacity to attend to information. Attention is the chief bottleneck in organizational activity, and the bottleneck becomes narrower and narrower as we move to the top of organizations.”
Reading that ^:
1. I enjoyed it, helps articulate some ideas that aligned with my own experience. Insight porn.
2. But I find myself holding back from absorbing or copying the mindset because it feels too theoretical and I don’t want to train / wire my brain to follow that pattern / goes too deep into that style of thinking.
Got these open:
- https://elischragenheim.com/2019/09/20/preparing-for-a-recession/ (Sept 2019 btw)
- https://elischragenheim.com/2016/01/09/never-say-i-know-and-the-limitations-of-our-reasonable-knowledge/ # verbose, seemingly complex, nice insight porn. The way to think about “knowing”. decisions, uncertainty, assumptions, known x unknown. But so what?
- https://elischragenheim.com/2017/08/18/developing-the-most-difficult-managerial-skill/ # a 1,000 word version of saying “develop empathy“
- https://elischragenheim.com/2018/01/21/raw-thoughts-on-the-management-attention-constraint/ # a 1,000 word version of saying “attention is scarce, learn to think about and then communicate what to prioritise well“.
- https://elischragenheim.com/2019/09/20/preparing-for-a-recession/ # Aren’t these common sense? Analyse impact, cut costs, maximise earning potentials, manage cashflow. It’s a long version of those simple ideas.
- And it’s obvious no? Anyone who’s run a business knows what they should do in these cases (heck even I do). No one needs to tell them.
- So management / operational consulting is essentially saying “water is wet”?
- OK perhaps a better question would be: what’s the value in management consulting?
- Aside from saying water is wet, perhaps also to say / identify if this is water vs ice vs gas. And where the leak is from?
- Fresh pair of eyes?
- is there genuine value in an outsider telling you obvious things, giving you the common sensical ideal plan, and handing you big fat check?
Btw this is completely the skill / mindset I’ve picked up during and now trying to replicate to the whole team in SA. The consulting mindset:
A possibility to evaporate the conflict is to radiate your real views, but be careful with the style of your answer/explanation. If you are not able to estimate without knowing more, then give an estimate based on certain assumptions, BUT RADIATE THOSE ASSUMPTIONS CLEARLY. For instance, “If we assume the current economical situation stays as it is today, then I estimate the potential between X and Y, however, if there is a change then the difference might be much larger.” Now, if the client does not accept such a careful answer, then the chance of giving him value are very low.
Or a wordy way of saying: notice and state all your assumptions
Haven’t read these two: