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Decision makers, who are used to depending on their past experiences, must make decisions and take actions in the rapidly changing world we face today. In this turbulent environment, the ability to successfully view the current situation through the traditional “good judgment” viewpoint is weakened through increasing external noise (a multitude of information sources on multiple topics) and changing paradigms of how we think about social, cultural, organizational and economic issues, creating internal noise within our prevailing mental models.

These noises skew our perception of what is really happening in the world. In addition to facing this constant flux, leaders are being asked to choose the path to the future as well as to explain exactly how they plan to get there. Before putting a stake in the sand, leaders begin by developing and testing hypotheses about possible scenarios, and then eliminate numerous courses of action until a small set of viable choices remain.

Once the decision to act is made, the communication of the new initiatives begins. The results of these initiatives usually produce some expected behavior, but almost always, much to our surprise, our actions produce unexpected behavior as well, that once again changes our situation. And so it goes…