What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

Peter Drucker

Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye:

1.  Deciding How to Decide: As Peter Drucker suggested, making decisions is the most important thing a leader does. But how much do you need to learn in order to make a good one? A lot, according to an article by Hugh Courtney, Dan Lovallo and Carmina Clarke in the latest edition of Harvard Business Review: “Make it a priority to learn more about quantitative multiple scenario tools such as Monte Carlo simulations, decision analysis and real options valuation. Get some training in scenario planning. Explore the fast-growing academic and practitioner literatures on information markets.”

2.  HealthCare.gov: How Political Fear Was Pitted Against Technical Needs: How did HealthCare.gov go so wrong? Writing in the Washington PostAmy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin focus on one fateful call that got made very early in the game: President Barack Obama chose to have his top health aides, rather than an outside health “czar,” oversee the implementation. “They were running the biggest start-up in the world, and they didn’t have anyone who had run a start-up, or even run a business,” David Cutler, a Harvard professor and health adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign, tells the Post.

3.  Tesco’s In-Store Ads Watch You—and It Looks Like You Need a Coffee: Does it bother you that the video monitor next to the cash register is showing an ad targeted directly at you? Would it bother you to know that the ad was created with the help of in-store cameras monitoring your movements, appearance and shopping choices—and feeding the data into a piece of software? Consider your answers before you shop at Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer. Some think Tesco has gone too far, reports Bloomberg Businessweek, which also notes that one scanning technology executive has said his own company’s “technology is ‘like something out of Minority Report,’ the 2002 film about a dystopian future that includes constant surveillance by an optical recognition system serving up targeted ads.”

4.  Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when we took our own look at the troubled rollout of HealthCare.gov and asked whether the site would be fixed, as promised, by November, reader Rocco DellaNeve had this to say:

I must assume that the outside expert that made the claim has analyzed the situation and gave the November date with some certainty. Time will tell. . . . I perform Root Cause Corrective Action (RCCA) analysis on troubled projects. It’s always interesting to see what had transpired. Besides the normal project management issues, there always are surprises that make the analysis worthwhile and interesting. I would love to do this one.