Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Gambling leadership

Every [leader] is a gambler
Admiral John McCain 
 (the senator's father)
Admiral Halsey's air commander, WW II in the Pacific

And, so what do we make of that idea?*
  • To exert leadership, do we layer a propensity to gamble on top of the usual uncertainty that goes along with projects? Is it additive, or compounding?
  • As a gambler, should we expect certain rules to apply ... as in poker?
  • Should we put aside reserves since "the house always wins ... in the long run"**
  • What if we are naturally risk averse ... can we be an effective leader nonetheless?
  • Are managers just leaders who are not gamblers? (Ouch! if you're a manager)
To the first point, it's situational, but certainly risks compound, though you won't see that in a traditional risk impact-likelihood matrix which considers each risk independently. Compounding makes risk management in the real situation much more an "adult" manager's task
To the second point: No! The rules that govern probability examples in textbooks and games in the casino don't really apply to project management. Why? Because in projects, coins aren't fair (see: politics), they have more than two sides, and projects are not stationary over long periods (see: stuff happens!)
To the third point: "It's reserves, stupid!". Of course you need reserves. If you need an explanation, you're really not managing a project, you're hoping
To the fourth point: That's actually hard. Yes, some can adopt a "professional" risk profile different from their natural profile, but it's exhausting and hard to maintain over time
And, to the last point: Not exactly. See the fourth point.

*Admiral Halsey, as a WWII Pacific fleet commander, was perhaps the greatest naval gambler America had -- he even gambled with typhoons; and, he lost his share of bets
**The Las Vegas strip is financed by losers

Read in the library at Square Peg Consulting about these books I've written
Buy them at any online book retailer!
Read my contribution to the Flashblog


  1. It is hard to imagine that the video poker history actually starts its trail form in the 70's but that form of play was nothing compared to the software that is available today. As modern technology is now becoming more and more synonymous with the world's population there, Bola88

  2. Thanks for sharing the post.. parents are worlds best person in each lives of individual..they need or must succeed to sustain needs of the family. 토토사이트

  3. Hey what a brilliant post I have come across and believe me I have been searching out for this similar kind of post for past a week and hardly came across this. Thank you very much and will look for more postings from you. situs dominoqq

  4. it was a wonderful chance to visit this kind of site and I am happy to know. thank you so much for giving us a chance to have this opportunity.. แทงบอลอังกฤษให้ได้เงิน,

  5. it was a wonderful chance to visit this kind of site and I am happy to know. thank you so much for giving us a chance to have this opportunity..


Please add your value with a comment