Jackson Nickerson - The Art of Diagnosis: Solving the Right Problem the First Time

February 4th 2020

Jackson Nickerson - The Art of Diagnosis: Solving the Right Problem the First Time

Jackson Nickerson is the Frahm Family Professor of Organization and Strategy at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. He also is a Senior nonresident Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. His research, which can be found in the leading academic journals, has won numerous awards including twice winning the Olin Award Recognizing Research That Transforms Business. His research on pharmaceutical manufacturing, which has been discussed in Business Week, has led to tangible changes in the way the FDA oversees pharmaceutical manufacturing. Jackson teaches strategic management and leadership courses on innovation, organizational strategy, and critical and strategic thinking. His research focuses on leadership issues around why firms choose different organizational structures and the performance implications of these choices; with a special emphasis on knowledge, innovation, and problem formulation and solving. Through executive education and consulting activities, Jackson has engaged and impacted numerous organizations for industries including architecture and art, chemicals, education, finance, health care, and pharmaceuticals. 

How often do top management teams come together to tackle a strategic challenge, put together a strategy, expend substantial resources and time, only to discover that the end result doesn’t move the needle causing them to fight fires and start all over again?  Research indicates that top leaders end up solving the wrong problem 75% or more of the time.  In the public sector this number rises to above 90%.

In the aftermath of solving the wrong problem comes costly and time-consuming firefighting and the undermining of a culture of excellence and performance.  How can leaders avoid these negative outcomes and solve the right problem the first time?

In this session, participants learn to not only recognize the key impediments to critical and strategic thinking in real-time, but also utilize a variety of processes that will help them discover the “right” problem the first time. Case studies are drawn from a variety of fields to give participants practice in working through thinking processes to help them develop the strategic insight needed by all top executives.