Negative Thinking to Avoid Negative Results

Quick Summary: We have to expect the unexpected; someone always seems to know --ask them.


Variations are standard or said another way; the unexpected often happens.  In many instances, after the fact, it becomes obvious that someone knew about it or its likelihood of occurrence.  In today’s business culture, most people are reluctant to offer negative perspectives.  By asking them non-judgemental questions, many potential issues can be avoided or plans put in place to minimize their impacts.  A simple technique and tool can be used to capture those issues and events.

A PowerPoint™ presentation with the same name as this article is available on the website.  Registered website users can download the presentation.  There is no cost for accessing the website or downloading any of its content.  Instructions on how to download this presentation or any other content are included at the end of this article. 

Paraphrased from the Introductory article in this chapter:

“What will become apparent when viewing this presentation is that the author has minimal artistic ability!  Hopefully, the user can get past the “visual impairment” of the slides and focus on the content.  The presentation is not a “sales” or “investor” slide show, nor is it intended to “sell” the subject.  Instead, it was created as an educational slide deck.  The accepted “presentation rules” of lots of pretty pictures, 40-point font, and ten words per slide were not followed – not by a long-shot!”

This presentation is based on articles 3.020506, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Assessment” and article 5.060601, “What Just Happened.”  Those articles describe the need for and a process to identify issues and events that could happen that could derail a company.  After the issues are identified, their impacts on the business and their likelihood of occurring are considered.  The presentation points out the difference between Black Swan events – those that are unexpected and unprecedented and those that can be foreseen – if someone is willing to come forward and openly put the potential issue or event on the table.

The presentation describes a process for collecting those events and presents a tool that can be used to capture them.  The tool is an Excel™ workbook.  Four versions of the tool are available and can be downloaded through article 8.020103, “Risk Assessment Tool.”  All four versions provide the same result regarding a numerical score consisting of the product of an issue’s impact severity and the likelihood of occurrence.  The tools vary in the data they capture and their data manipulation capabilities. 

Although an Excel tool is used, the methodology can be implemented manually with sticky notes or any other documentation method.

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Article Number : 8.040407   

A Handy Reference Guide for Executives and Managers at All Levels.

9 Volumes 42 Chapters ~689 Articles

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