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Smart People Make Dumb Decisions

“It is not supposed to be easy. Anyone that finds it is easy is stupid.”

Charlie Munger: Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

Smart people do dumb things. You and I have all paid a dumb tax. I’m a smart person. But I’ve made dumb decisions. Decisions that teetered on bankruptcy. The following is Keith Cunningham’s observation in The Road Less Stupid:

It turns out that the key to getting rich (and staying that way) is to avoid stupid things. I don’t need to do more smart things. I just need to do fewer stupid things. I need to avoid making emotional decisions and swinging at bad pitches. I need to think!

… We make it harder than it needs to be. We gravitate toward impulsive, glandular decisions instead of thoughtful rational ones.

Each one of us has paid the dumb tax.

As leaders, we make things harder than they need to be.

What if there was a framework that helped you take the emotion out of decision making?

The airplane metaphor is a proven model framework to take the emotion out of building your organization. It allows you to see which parts of your business are engineered well and which parts need work.

Like an airplane, your organization has parts, and those parts connect to the whole to make it fly. When built correctly, an airplane is safe in taking people and cargo to its destination. When it’s not built to correct specifications, it could crash.

Your business’ primary goal is growing revenue to grow mission impact.

The Airplane Model creates a decision-making filter that gives you peace of mind. For instance, if you hire a new team member, you ask yourself how you will offset their salary. Will the investment

  • make the wings larger increasing lift (create new product or revenue stream)

  • increase thrust from the engines (increase sales)

  • increase the body making it heavier (increasing overhead contributing to a crash)

You must obey the law of proportion as you grow, so your plane doesn’t crash. As your organization grows, you’ll need more help. A new hire contributes to overhead, making the plane’s body larger. Does the new hire contribute to a making the wings larger or increasing thrust?

It’s a good thing to worry a little bit because the cost of the new hire may put the safety of the plane at risk. However, when you consider the amount of time an assistant would allow you to contribute to the size of the wings or the thrust of the engine, you can justify the hire. The plane got a little larger, but the engines and wings got larger too.

Learn more about the Airplane framework: Small Business Flight School

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