• Claudine Motto

    Enjoyed reading this post, Greg.

    A low tolerance for ambiguity is not only paralyzing (not wanting to make any decision until every single factor is covered), but also mentally draining. Our nature leads us to the choices we make in education, which then further cements that nature. Those who like “concrete” rules seek out concrete-type careers (i.e., accounting, IT) – where there's a low margin for “error.” I suspect that perfectionism also plays a role…

    I found that what's also helpful is to surround yourself with people (or seek out mentors) who have built their ambiguity muscle, and to purposely practice making decisions without 100% of the information.

    Claudine

  • http://gregstrosaker.com Greg Strosaker

    Thanks for your comment Claudine. It is difficult to strike the balance
    between seeking more data and knowing when to act. In today's fast-paced
    world, the bias needs to shift more towards action as by the time data is
    collected, situations can change. Certainly there are some professions and
    industries where precision is important (one could argue that the housing
    bubble was inflated by bankers' routine decisions to ignore information on
    credit quality, etc.), but that will become more and more the exception than
    the norm.

    Greg

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  • http://www.jeffreyjdavis.com JeffreyJDavis

    Great Post Greg. As General Colin Powell said “Part I: “Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probably of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired.” Part II: “Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut.”

    Don't be afraid to make a decision even if you don't have ALL the data (because you will never have ALL the data, and some of the data you have is almost always incorrect or outdated by the time you have to make your decision.)

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  • johnribbler

    Tell me if I understand you correctly. By following the process you describe, an intuitive response becomes far more than just guess work.

    Good stuff.

    http://media-proinc.com

  • http://gregstrosaker.com Greg Strosaker

    John – thanks for your comment. What you state is largely correct, though I am still allowing for some degree of “guess” work (or, at least the ability to build off of incomplete or uncertain information). The argument is that at some point pursuing further information or data becomes counterproductive, and it is time to act; any gaps in necessary information should be filled with well-reasoned assumptions, which should then be reviewed (depending on the risk in those assumptions) on a regular basis.

  • http://gregstrosaker.com Greg Strosaker

    Coming from a military officer, that is a particularly strong endorsement of the approach. In a profession where errors are critical, acknowledging that there is a limit to collecting data is certainly strong evidence that the philosophy should certainly apply in business situations.

  • http://gregstrosaker.com Greg Strosaker

    Coming from a military officer, that is a particularly strong endorsement of the approach. In a profession where errors are critical, acknowledging that there is a limit to collecting data is certainly strong evidence that the philosophy should certainly apply in business situations.

  • http://ellenjantsch.com/ Ellen Jantsch

    Hi Greg, 

    I know I am joining this conversation over two years late, but I like what you have here and feel like it applies to my situation today. I graduated from college last week with my degree in marketing and don’t start work until the end of June. I decided to start collecting ideas about marketing on my site, ellenjantsch.com. In my very first post (yesterday) I talk about ambiguity and how for me, the goal of my site is a little ambiguous. 

    In this process you describe, you talk about gathering data and making sure you have explored your resources. As a new member of the blogging world, could you share any advice on what has helped you be successful on this site and what you wish you would have known at 22? 

    (I’m a runner too…the best ideas come to me when I am out for a run!)

  • http://predawnrunner.com Greg Strosaker

    Hi Ellen and thanks for your comment. I wouldn’t necessarily call this site “successful” as I violate a few of the suggestions I’m going to make below. More of my effort has been put into my running blog, http://predawnrunner.com, and it is far more successful.
    Blogging is challenging for several reasons, but also a valuable learning exercise. I’d first recommend that you read Problogger’s book – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0077FDAC6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=constacogita-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0077FDAC6 – even if you don’t intend to make money, acting as if you do would make your blog more likely to be successful.
    To stand out in a crowded field like marketing, you need to:
    – Understand your true objective in blogging – is it becoming a subject-matter expert, building an income stream, networking, etc.?
    – Focus on a specific niche
    – Find your own voice and style and stay consistent with it
    – Create great content that is timeless, not trendy
    – Build a network by engaging with other marketing bloggers and show interest in their work
    – Treat blogging as a job (even if it isn’t) and put the same type of planning and management approach into it that you would for your career.
    Good luck!

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