The authors suggest a new approach to strategic decision‐making methodology: focus on understanding the dilemmas confronting your organization. For leaders, the learning produced from wrestling with dilemmas is often more important than answers to them. Big challenges tend to be complex, ongoing in nature, and highly resistant to simple “fixes”. Therefore, before the leader can provide the strategic direction to guide organizational efforts, he/she must first recognize, define and deal with the prime dilemmas of the day. Dilemmas fall into two categories: direction‐setting, and culture‐setting. Several examples of each are presented as well as three action steps: recognition, definition, and translation.
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