±: The Plus-Minus Factor


The Plus-Minus FactorWhy do you believe in some companies and reject others?

You consider the ± factors: You recognize the positive or negative issues surrounding the issue at hand and add them up. If the result is positive, you believe in it. If it is negative, you reject it.

We use the ± factors all the time. When growing up, finding a partner, bringing up our kids, going shopping, choosing a home, electing a president, applying for a job, evaluating investment objects, doing business. The list can go on including every choice you make.

There is one problem though: Our calculations are always limited by our perception. We always choose to include some factors and ignore others – sometimes because we do not know about the factors, other times because we do not want to know about them.

In other words, the big picture is not as big as we think it is. The good news is that our perceived “big picture” can create positive outcomes. The limited perception of the ± factors is the reason for innovators and entrepreneurs stubbornly go on doing the impossible in their search of making our daily lives better. The entrepreneurial Rausing family spent many years working on Tetra Pak ignoring all the nay sayers, an idea that later on became the standard setter for packaging dairy products making the family one of the world’s richest. But on the other hand, the bad news is that our perceived “big picture” can also create negative outcomes resulting in why Madoff could pull off his scam, why Enron and Worldcom could go on undisturbed for years and why the subprime business could become so infected.




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