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OUR AGENDA OF CONCERNS IS LIMITED

Unfortunately we all have only a limited capacity to deal with problems. Some people have a higher limit than others. The psychologist George Miller did experiments to determine how many pieces of information one could deal with at one moment. From this he could then understand why managers need to set agendas for the problems they are dealing with at any moment. 

When confronted with a new problem that doesn’t fit on their agenda, the agenda has to be expanded or restructured. This is why managers, whose role is to solve problems, become frustrated when faced with a new problem they had not anticipated. 

The new problem or opportunity may simply be rejected, it may replace some other problem currently on the agenda, or it may be delegated to others. Delegating a problem requires communication and thinking about how other minds can be prepared to solve their part of the problem, how these parts can then be put together, and how to develop feedback to assure that the problem was properly defined and is being efficiently solved. Thus any challenge to the agenda of concerns requires additional attention. As this attention becomes more demanding, it can become very frustrating and stressful, and ultimately very limiting to our competitive advantage. A new way has to be found.



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