Leaders Must Embrace Fuzzy Logic Thinking: It’s an Antidote for– Doubt, Ambiguity, Uncertainty… in Decision-Making.

Great leaders embrace the concept of ‘fuzzy logic’– in a world of doubt, ambiguity, uncertainty, volatility… thinking in ‘shades of gray’ is the new normal, in order to find; new approaches, new opportunities, more options… Fuzzy logic introduces the idea that some things can have a ‘degree’ of truth or false, unlike traditional logic where most things are either– true or false… it allows for values that are– ‘kind of true’ or ‘kind of false’…

And there is nothing fuzzy about fuzzy logic– it works more like the human brain, hence the world isn’t black and white, instead it’s filled with shades of grey. According to Staub; in challenges of a complex world it’s important to remember that while ‘white’ matters and ‘black’ matters, it’s the ‘gray’ that really matters most… 

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It’s in the shades of ‘gray’ that you find– innovation, creativity, fresh perspectives… and the ambiguity necessary to challenge and check traditional paradigms… Increasingly the business world is becoming more complex, more ambiguous, more uncertain… According to Humberto Mariotti; most business operate in the midst of opposites, many of which are true dilemmas… and use of fuzzy logic thinking is a kind of antidote to the illusion of control… which enables leaders to make effective decisions based on– imprecise, ambiguous, uncertain information… 

In the article Get Better Decisions, Get a Little Fuzzy by Bob Frisch writes: The classic model of decision-making is based on full, clear, accurate information, but in reality most business decisions are based on information that is a little fuzzy, i.e.; information or data that is not fully vetted. Fuzzy logic thinking is designed to deal with imperfect information, which in one or more respects is– imprecise, uncertain, incomplete, unreliable, vague or partially true…

In the business world, such information is the norm rather than exception. With today’s information overload, it’s become increasingly difficult to analyze the huge amounts of data, hence decision-making has become the ‘art of approximation’ based on information… Fuzzy logic thinking extends traditional decision-making process by adding human factors, i.e.; intuitive reasoning, subjectivity, approximation... 

 In the article Fuzzy Logic  in  Innovation by Vadim  Kotelnikov  writes: Trying to eliminate all uncertainty and control every risk is a recipe for being frozen in place, never doing anything… Fuzzy logic is system of logic that allows for degrees of uncertainty, rather than depending on absolute truth-values… Hence, while fuzzy logic addresses situations that are ambiguous, it’s a very-well defined methodology… The core elements of the approach include:

  • No Plan Ever Survives: Whatever plan you create it will not be the one that is ultimately implement…
  • Plan is Better Than No Plan: Having a plan– collective sharing of  intentions and guiding principles– enables a team to examine and understand the viability of a strategy…
  • Make Decisions Early: You never have all the data. Waiting for more accurate data can go indefinitely. Besides, much of what is called data, such as market research, is more opinion than fact…
  • Be Flexible: Locking into any plan when the competitive context continues to change is a foolish approach… Scan continuously for new developments, reassess past decision, and be ready to re-target, re-adjust… as needed…
  • Think Family: One-off thinking yields– one-off product, one-off service, one-off project… and that is not a sustainable business… think family…
  • Find Partners: Don’t do it alone… Leverage internal development, investment, skills-sets… with external groups who can bring other skills, resources, capabilities… combined to form ‘best in class’…
  • Balance Customer Feedback: Listen to customers but don’t always believe them… Technology can move faster than customers are willing to accept…
  • Focus on Opportunity Not Financial Returns: Measuring business solely in terms of dollars is a mistake… Capabilities grow through opportunities that are well-executed– it’s the key to success…

In the article Fuzzy Logic by Robert Staub writes: Fuzzy logic is an approach of approximations, e.g.; in a crude form it’s the difference between a regular light switch, which turns a light ‘on or off’ (digital), and a dimmer switch, which allows the light to vary in degrees of brightness (fuzzy logic)… So too, in business, the range of options– from ‘on-off’ to ‘dimmer’– can be extended to many more applications between two fixed positions of– ‘off-on’, ‘right-wrong’, ‘black-white’… 

Many experts suggest that ‘fuzzy logic’ is just a set of rules that can be combined into a knowledge system, which recognizes more than just simple; true and false’ values… which means that many business situations can be managed with greater precision and calibrated with much more flexibility… This ‘fuzziness’ or degrees‘ of a situation is the basis for effective business decision-making…

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In the article Lead in Ambiguous Times by Ian Bremmer writes: Many businesses are global with operations and business units spread geographically far and wide, and for business leaders this diversity brings great uncertainty and ambiguity and raises many critical questions… Hence, the kind of decision-making that works when you know what’s likely to happen– predictable– won’t suffice… Sustaining business with uncertainty requires leaders to shift strategy– from focus on predictable outcome, to focus on having ‘enough’ of things (imprecise measure)…

And that means– making a business prosper ‘enough’ by maintaining and improving quality and calibrating what it does best… It means decentralizing a business ‘enough’ so that the individual units are strong should the whole be at risk… It means maintaining, improving partner relationships ‘enough’ so that a business is sustainable… Developing these practices won’t shield a business from crisis but it helps ensure that the business is not just standing still, but moving forward…

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According to Robert W. Eichinger; effectively dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity is a top-priority leadership skill… Managing uncertainty, ambiguity is integral part of decision-making. Traditionally managers were to taught to focus on being– in control, consistent, reliable…

However in the digital age, managers must be more adaptive and focus on have to deal with; ambiguity, uncertainty, complexity… Leaders must embrace realities of the digital age, and think ‘fuzzy’ to overcome many business challenges…