Management

Ross Rant: Being counted doesn't always count.

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"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." -- Albert Einstein

The world is inundated with data.

But yet Hollywood can't guarantee a hit.

The outcome of the Stanley Cup can't be confirmed.

The future UK PM officeholder can't be verified.

And the next chef to beat Bobby Flay can't be affirmed.

Still, we love data.

"Do a survey. Do a focus group. Do a study."

Do more data.

I don't think the magic is in more data.

Data should not be about trying to use the information to prove a theory, but to see what the numbers are actually telling us and to inform us what we might be missing - especially since the mind likes to trick us.

You see, our brains are wired to remember and overvalue the vivid and the shocking. Our brains are wired to remember events that actually happened and not events that could happen.

So often we comfort ourselves in data to gain a better understanding and some guidance, but the data often falls short.

In their book, Why Everything You Know About Soccer is Wrong, authors Chris Anderson and David Sally concluded that soccer is basically a 50/50 game. Half is luck, and half is skill.

With this conclusion, the authors determined there are two routes to soccer glory. One is being good. The other is being lucky. You need both to win a championship. But you only need one to win a game.

Disney CEO Bob Iger used a similar conclusion this week.

With the announcement of his company's over the top Disney+ streaming service, Iger is going where his customers are going. One where customers can customize their viewing experience and seamlessly view Mickey and Minnie on numerous devices.

No survey, no focus group, and no study needed to know this is a good move for Disney.

Disney has a customer experience that is visceral and multigenerational. A customer experience that is deep and broad. A customer experience forged with skill.

But Iger knows Disney needs more than skill to win the future.

As Iger told CNBC, if you measure the future against the present, the present doesn't stay the present for very long. Today's marketplace has never been more dynamic.

You can't measure what is happening today. You need to measure what you think will happen in the future - that and harness a little luck.

The reasons many of us don't innovate is the data and the information being used is shaped by a current business model and what has gotten us to our current status.

Data which is based on the present and data which is not of the future.

So be mindful of having too much data as a means to confirm what you want the outcome to be.

Plus don't be afraid of harnessing a little bit of luck.

- Marc

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in thought leader strategy and idea amplification for senior executives working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics

Trump's French Cuff Off the Cuff Trade Policy

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I have so many problems with Trump - from policy design to panache departure. But what really puts me over the edge - his total lack of professional political management. 

From a communications management perspective, what DJT did yesterday was a complete professional political management epic fail.

No heads up.

No warning.

No message points.

No surrogate talking heads.

No OpEds.

No coordination with Capitol Hill.

Epic fail.

Trump shocked many of his top advisers by announcing plans for 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum off the cuff. Even metals industry executives attending a White House industry sector meeting yesterday were shocked.

Senior advisers including Gary Cohn thought they had at least delayed the announcement. Republicans on Capitol Hill had no warning about what Trump was about to do. 

The announcement quickly sent the Dow down 500 points.

The stocks of 16 steelmakers gained $1 billion in market value as a result of the move while the rest of the market lost $400 billion.

Trump is easily the most unqualified professional political manager in my lifetime.

Well done sir.

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in global communications and thought leader management at the intersection of politics, policy, and profits.