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Analysis - Decision - Execution

Analyze. Decide. Execute.

That’s all you need. Literally.

If you can analyze your situation and context well, make a well-grounded decision, and execute effectively — the only thing that stands between you and eternal career glory is bad luck.

Now, obviously, all three of those meta skills feed off of a whole bunch of sub-skills, abilities and competencies.

So I want to try something unusual here. I will give you a gigantic list of nested topics that reside under these three meta skills.

And you can just take this overview as a primer and go “huh, never thought of it this way” or even “wow, this makes a ton of sense!

If not, you at least have a cool list.

1) Analysis Skills

1.1) Understanding data and information

  • Understand the difference between data, information and knowledge
  • Understand the difference between correlation and causation
  • Differentiate between anecdotal data and data patterns
  • Avoiding the “tick the box” problem
  • Distinguish signal from noise

1.2) Extracting knowledge from data and information

  • Understand discrete vs. continuous thinking
  • Understand binary vs. probabilistic thinking
  • Understand the survivorship bias
  • Avoid the causal reduction error
  • Don’ think in false dichotomies
  • Avoid the base rate error
  • Apply Occam’s Razor

2) Decision-Making Skills

2.1) Understanding the decision-making process

  • Define the decision drivers and weigh their importance
    • Available resources (talent, money)
    • Degree of variability of resources
    • Time-boxed vs. quality-boxed
    • “Good enough” vs. “perfect”
    • Knowns vs. unknowns
    • Risk of bad decisions
    • Unknown unknowns
    • Overall objectives
  • Understand or define the decision style
    • Cooperative (2-3 people, typically leaders, decide together)
    • Democratic (team-majority decides)
    • Unilateral (one person decides)
  • Ensure everyone knows decision style and decision-responsibilities

2.2) Leveraging effective decision-making heuristics

  • Find and focus on the highest leverage decisions
    • that influence the whole process
    • that impact many people’s work
    • that determine broad directions
  • Understand higher-order consequences
  • Understand necessity vs. sufficiency
  • Apply explore vs. exploit

3) Execution Skills

3.1) Turning ideas into structured, flexible action

  • Structuring and defining milestones
  • Understanding “achieve-or-die” milestones
    • if you do not achieve those the whole project will not work
    • reverse engineer how to get to them fast and with minimal risk
  • Along the process: understand what leaders decide vs. what teams decide
  • Regularly checking in with those working with you and communicating effectively
  • Reporting on progress, contextually and effectively
  • Zooming out and deciding on pivots or adjustments

3.2) Effective execution

  • Self-organization and -management
  • Required technical abilities
  • Focus ability

Unsurprisingly, almost all of these come with a whole set of their own skills, abilities, and talents you need to be good at them.

And that’s exactly why continuous personal development will always be underrated.