What the superbrain view of business misses out

08 April 2015 | Management

Letter to the Financial Times on 8 April 2015:Jason Gissing, in 'What Goldman taught me about building a business' (1 April), describes 'the core of running any business' as 'constant decision-making and problem-solving ... an exercise in deciding 'what next' based on the information available'. This caricatures business into a relentless succession of Harvard-style case studies. Necessary long-term intuitive leadership qualities become submerged by short-term 'what next' rationality.This rationality owes as much to Rene Descartes as to Goldman Sachs. Studies by the Aspen Institute and others have exposed flaws in such rational-centric mantras, whether in business, government or education. Equally at the heart of business is the daily effort to make dependable products and services by working, sometimes repetitively, in relationship with others (Ocado is a great example). This living activity does not create problems needing a rational superbrain every day - but it does create opportunities that are seized or lost every day to create value, ethics and meaning together.Douglas Board - senior visiting fellowClive Holtham - professor of information managementCass Business SchoolCity University London

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