Confusing Urgent with Important

Science Matters

One of the things we learned in organizational science was that managers are prone to focus attention and resources on urgent situations at the expense of more serious threats to viability.  Thus the aphorism:  “When you are up to your ass in alligators it’s difficult to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp”.  Many times we consultants saw clients working hard to put out fires (complaints, delays, etc.) while obvious to strategic weaknesses eroding their ability to compete with rivals.  One memorable client responded to our product profitabilty analysis showing why they were losing money, “I can’t drop that product, it’s our best seller!”

All this by way of introduction to an article at Real Clear Politics Miscalculating Risk: Confusing Scary With Dangerous  In this case the subject is evaluating risks, but the mistake can also be made regarding opportunities. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

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