Complex topic? Dumb it down and everyone loses.

It must be just me, but every time there’s a need to present a complex topic to the executives or business leadership (topic for another musing, methinks) I get the typical looks of “oh no, he’s going to get all lectury again”. And it’s true, I prefer to present complex topics as complex, even if the style of presentation makes them approachable. There’s no way to dumb down something that’s complex without: also sending the message that sure, they may be leaders of the organisation, people that we entrust to make the right decisions, but hey, let’s not try to present them something that’s not so simple that a 5th grader could solve or they’re end up in foetal position on the floor begging to make it go away; quite decidedly making the whole organisation poorer for the experience and less equipped to make the right calls because we, the experts, decided that only we should hold the knowledge; and actually making ourselves poorer for the experience, because when we start dumbing down, as opposed to making approachable, complex topics we also deny ourselves the opportunity to challenge our own knowledge of the topic.

Risk Appetite Redux

In the “Risk, risk everywhere and not an appetite for it” post I proposed the following spur-of-the-moment-inspiration-through-significant-dose-of-caffeine definitions for risk appetite and risk tolerance: “Risk appetite: This is your general, high level expression of what you are, or aren’t willing to risk in order to reach your goal. Get your goodies. Join the dark side to get your hot little hands on their cookies. Whatever it is that your long term goal is. An example of a risk appetite would be: I’m happy to risk 10% of everything I have in order to get at least 20% profit.

Musings on risk appetite and complex issues

It could be just me, but every time there’s a need to present a complex topic to the executives or business leadership (topic for another musing, methinks) I get the typical looks of “oh no, he’s going to get all lectury again”. And it’s true, I prefer to present complex topics as complex, even if the style of presentation makes them approachable. There’s no way to dumb down something that’s complex without: also sending the message that sure, they may be leaders of the organisation, people that we entrust to make the right decisions, etc.