Replied to Decision-making and ambiguity by Doug BelshawDoug Belshaw (

Instead of hierarchy or unspoken assumptions, progress happens by following a path between over-specifying the approach, and allowing chaos to ensue.

In practice, this often happens by one or a small number of people exerting moral authority on the group. This occurs through, for example:

  • Successfully having done this kind of thing before
  • Being very organised and diligent
  • Having the kind of personality that put everyone at ease
Doug, I really liked your point about progress through balance and negotiation. I am not sure if it was written in response to my question, if so, thank you.

As a side note, is the military always ‘hierarchical’?

Hierarchies are a form of organising that can work well in many situations. For example, high-stakes situations, times when execution is more important than thought, and the military.

David Marquetโ€™s Greatness makes the argument that there is nobody on a submarine who is across everything, otherwise it would not work.

I wonder if instead organisations like military run a dual-operating system?

Listened CM 115: Steven Johnson on Making Decisions that Matter the Most by Gayle Allen from Curious Minds Podcast

What if you could make better decisions? Even with the biggest, life-altering choices, such as where to live, who to marry, or whether to start a company?

Steven Johnson, author of the book, Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions that Matter the Most, thinks we often face decisions like this with little to no training and that we could use more tools in our decision-making toolbox.

I am always captivated by Steven Johnson’s work. In his discussion with Gayle Allen he provides a number of tips and reflections the act of making a decision.