top of page
  • Writer's pictureJeff Tu

🎧Podcast Notes: A Masterclass on Leadership | Stanley McChrystal | Knowledge Project 132

Guest: Stanley McChrystal

Podcast: The Knowledge Project #132

Transcript (Powered by my code)

Who is this for?

  1. Leaders who have to make difficult decisions.

  2. Folks who value and have a desire to improve their communications as a leader.

  3. Folks who want to be better decision-makers.

My Key Takeaways:

  1. Risk = Threats x Vulnerability. Threats are external and uncontrollable, and it's harder to manage with the increase of information or misinformation in the world. Vulnerability is the factor we leaders can try to control, which requires improved communication. Although getting prepared and being well-research is helpful to reduce risk, there is a massive risk of NOT making a decision.

  2. Communicating the decision-making process, especially showing the probabilistic reasoning and value alignment, increasing trust among different parties, welcoming inputs from multiple angles, helps to understand the whole story and thus reduce vulnerability.

  3. The decision-making process involves 2 phases: 1) Discussion; 2) Commitment. Leaders need to learn to be as open-minded as possible in phase 1, but when it is phase 2, those who follow need to commit regardless of their opinions.

  4. When we are unsure of the timing to make a hard decision, e.g., laying off someone, ask ourselves, "Does shortening or delaying the decision provide space for the person or situation to improve? If so, have I put the effort or resources to improve that adjustment?" When we procrastinate, we need to know there is no perfect decision and decide to face the pain, whereas when we tend to rush, we surround ourselves with more patient and research-oriented people to speak to us.

  5. One heuristic to decision making process timing is

  6. Find out what action would need to be executed to be effective.

  7. Work back to find out the time it takes to implement.

  8. This period is an ideal amount of time to research.

  9. Another heuristic to know when to stop gathering information research - "STOP, FLOP, or KNOW":

  10. When you STOP gathering helpful information.

  11. When you have a First Lost Opportunity (FLOP).

  12. When you KNOW what to do.

How did it help and intrigue me?

  1. It confirms that leadership is an art than science. For instance, different situations require a different definition of the line between the "Phase 1 and 2" decision-making process. As the book "Think Again" by Adam Grant suggested, people who are able to change their minds and re-process their beliefs, in a long term, find truths and make better decisions.

  2. It gave me a more practical guide to balance the tension between research and action. I tend to go from one extreme of procrastinating (read: worrying) to the other extreme of jumping into a decision too carelessly.

The podcast has many more nuggets on stress management, history, politics, and self-disciplines.

✍️ My humble mindmap doodle

19 views0 comments
bottom of page