Tag Archives: success

Reviews reboot

7 Apr

I came across a really interesting site called The Page 99 Test with the subtitle “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” –Ford Madox Ford Definitely sounds intriguing and I will try it out in my reviews.

Above is a quote from my second post here. A good idea I am putting in place now. Subject is

Scaling up Excellence by Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao

Published by Random House Business Books

Page 99 title is CUT COGNITIVE LOAD. There are three paragraphs. Here is most of it:

scaling entails subjecting people to an onslaught of unfamiliar, difficult, and upsetting changes and chores. The sheer volume and complexity often overwhelms the “working memory” of individuals who do it, which produces blind spots and bad decisions and saps (individual’s) willpower.

Researchers call this condition “cognitive overload”, and it’s unfortunate effects are well documented.. An experiment is recounted claiming that extra mental effort required induces people to take the easy way out and gobble down the less healthy cake.

Seven is the “magic number” for memory researchers. In 1956 , psychologist George Miller showed that people could hold “seven, plus or minus two” numbers in short-term memory. Yet organizational designers rarely head the implications of Miller’s Law or thousands of subsequent studies on the hazards of overtaxing our brains. As organizations expand and mature, rather than rationing or subtracting load, leaders and teams often pile on so many metrics, procedures, and chores that people lose the capacity and willpower to do the right things. There follows example of Office Depot where the new president faced clashing facts: “mystery shoppers” evaluations were at all time high, yet store sales were falling. After many visits to stores Peters found that clerks and managers felt so pressured to do tasks like sweeping floors and stocking shelves that they routinely ignored customers’ questions and needs

Summary.. Too much information is bad for you and those who depend on your decisions. Designing systems in organizations to deal with complexity is essential but almost never done. It is no wonder people make choices that turn out to have effects opposite of the intended ones.
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