Gray areas

Thoughts while walking my dog…

A few years back I worked for a Program Manager who was a bit older and liked to challenge me at times. He told me one day that I see the world too black and white. Probably, a symptom of law enforcement training in my past. But now as a Business Analyst he somehow expected me to live in the gray area and not be too quick to make a decision or judgement. This is a very different thought process from law enforcement where you are trained to make a command decision at the drop of a hat.

Echoing in my memory banks are words like: “They’re shooting at you, Brokl, what are you going to do?” “Make a decision!”

In the business world, corporate America, gray areas exist ad nauseam. One must tease out the facts, recheck, recalibrate, confirm requirements dozens of times until finally reaching black or white, or any other color the business decides. It is their decision, not yours to make as an analyst. You only present the options.

So he taught me about gray areas. Living in black and white at the same time.

Quantum computing now has the concept of qubits, which can take a superposition of both 0 and 1. But even at some point 0 or 1 is decided. This may work great when you are trying to create a random set of outcomes, but at some point through all the analysis a decision or final point must be made.

How quickly you need to make a decision or take action will be the deciding factor on how black and white you need to see the world.

Just my thought for the day.


Image source: https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/qubit.jpg

8 comments

  1. Ah. A favorite topic. I have been “accused” of seeing the world in black and white many times in my life. True, too. Ultimately, a decision has to be made, and when it is a matter of life and death, instantaneously.I have softened that around the edges as I have become more “seasoned”, but still I believe that it is the way. Fortunately, I will be entering that environment, again, when I start LAPD Academy i like it like that. Things work better that way.

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  2. The Deborah number was originally proposed by Markus Reiner, a professor at Technion in Israel, who chose the name inspired by a verse in the Bible, stating “The mountains flowed before the Lord” in a song by the prophet Deborah in the Book of Judges[6]; הָרִ֥ים נָזְל֖וּ מִפְּנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה hā-rîm nāzəlū mippənê Yahweh).[3][7]

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  3. Have been thinking about this for the last week. I think the tendency for the modern “corporate” world has always veered toward the gray. However (comma) I believe that tendency to have more relevancy now, as it is only steered by two guiding principles: stock price, and liability. Fifty years ago, executives rose through the ranks, staying with a company for life, guaranteeing, to some extent, a loyalty to the company, and a real interest in seeing success in the long term,Now, the top execs move from company to company, doing anything they can to drive up stock prices, which is a large part of their compensation, and then walking away with a huge parachute, despite having driven the company into the ground. The ambiguity, the “gray area”, you see, is simply them manipulating data to drive up stock price. The current troubles with Boeing is a result of this lack of consistent leadership. Boeing used to run by engineers. Now, it is run by finance guys, seeking to cash out.

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  4. Not to belabor a point,but GM just announced they had a $3 billion loss over the course of the 40 day strike. My guess is that if they would have just negotiated in good faith, and come to a good agreement before then, they would have been much further ahead.Probably some finance guy convinced the execs it would be good for stock prices to let the workers go on strike.So now everyone loses except the execs. 50 years ago a top exec might have been paid 10 times the average wage of the employee. Now it is 500 times, and much poorer performance.

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