John Salter’s Blog

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  • Hindsight and Foresight

    I’m sure there are quite a few old sayings about “hindsight always being useful to learn from – but foresight being better to not have to“. Sage.

    I was reminded of the value of foresight in a recent conversation on LinkedIn. Reflecting on the essence of the conversation – supporting good decisions with foresight – I noted several key principles – a list I share below as “Five for Foresight”.

    1. Be clear about your objectives
    2. Fully appreciate your context
    3. Be specific about your assumptions (and uncertainties)
    4. Be rigorous about your decision criteria (and their weightings)
    5. Plan to include the active monitoring of variations
    I’d like to think my new OghtWe decision app frees you up for foresight
    Watch here if unable to watch on YouTube.
    Limited Time Offer – OughtWe decision app for just US$3.25

  • OughtWe decision app – illustrated with a pinch of fun, and a small example
    Introducing the OughtWe decision app
    To illustrate the key processes, this blog uses only three criteria (head, heart, gut). OughtWe – as an Expert System – uses a set of default criteria developed across the disaster management sector over decades.
    Establishing context – naming and describing the decision to be made, identifying options and their rationales, generating decision criteria and attributing weightings to them, applying the decision criteria to evaluate each option, and taking the preferred option into a plan.
    Tweak for Context
    Attributing weightings to Head, Heart, and Gut decision criteria
    Evaluating – recording the associated rationales
    Display the evaluation to stimulate conversations
    Structure your plan to be as simple as possible
    Planning is about monitoring and refinement
    Communicate throughout by screen shares and tailored reports

  • OughtWe decision app – an Expert System
    OughtWe operates as an expert system
    OughtWe taps into disaster management decision making
    because disaster management is about crucial decisions.

    When making a decision, what things are important considerations?
    Given all considerations are not equally important,
    what weighting do you attribute to each criterion.

    All criteria are full editable – from delete them, to neutralising them (by setting their weighting to zero, to adding new criteria.

    Weightings should be adjusted to reflect your context and your values.

    Oughtwe encourages iterative planning –
    by sharing screenshots or tailored PDFs
    The structures and processes in OughtWe use documents in order to achieve results.

    As an element of incorporating user feedback into the Expert System approach we encourage all OughtWe users to provide reviews within the app.

  • Wisdom and trust

    Covid has reinforced “it’s tricky who to trust”. This piece in the Financial Review today reflects that – and the classic way of wisely balancing your pool of advice.

  • Selecting a spokesperson …

    … with some tongue in cheek

    “Vote” on Twitter Poll

    Caucasian male

    Asian female

    Bemusing fox

  • A few quick thankyous …

    A “shout out” and thanks to the generosity of many friends – who know who they are and prefer to remain unnamed.

    Your thoughtful feedback on the OughtWe decision app has seen several significant results.

    Improvements in ease of use (with more “tips and buttons”) for functionality and navigation;

    Example – the kickstart tip!

    Some good suggestions to incorporate in the “how to” page on my website. I’ll have a crack at that later this week.

    Suggestions for a couple of associated Gigs – a customised version for organisations (to support nimbleness, consistency, assurance, quality etc – you know the drill). You can see the promo page or go to for the approach;

    A training workshop offering (but I’m not yet convinced of the need for this); and

    Last but not least, to my coder who tweaked the refinements to get version 1.2 up and available on the Apple Store and Google Play today! He needs no link because he is fully booked out until the end of the year – but yes, Asjad is that good!

  • Appreciate the situation.

    It’s a golden oldie but the caution to avoid “situating the appreciation” was nicely summarised by Alastair Grant in 2010.

    “There is a glitch with this process, and it’s called ‘Situating the Appreciation’. It goes like this: You start with a blank sheet of paper and full of good intentions apply logic objectively and without bias. Or that’s what you think. But as an expert you already know a great deal and it is hard to prevent your knowledge from weakening your impartiality.

    So what happens is that deep down you think you already know the solution to the problem and the outcome that you desire. And without realising this you magnify the arguments that support your predicted or desired outcome, and the objections that logic throws up are painted into a corner and have reduced importance and visibility. I suspect that this happens often in business life and can be found to be the reason behind many fiascos.“

    I reckon that fundamental caution was one of the things that contributed to the idea of setting up OughtWe – the decision support tool.

  • Hit the share button to collaborate

    For decades great leaders have recognised the strength that good planning processes bring to people who work together.

    We are simply continuing that tradition.

    The tool we use facilitates collaboration by enabling “screen sharing” on the platform of your choice, throughout the decision making / planning process.

  • OughtWe – a guide
    Download a PDF of the general guide here
    The HOME icon – The REPORT icon – The GUIDE icon – The SEND a SCREENSHOT icon – are all important tools for the planning process – not just for app navigation

    Establish Context Create a decision
    Take time over “establishing context” with others who have an interest in your decision.
    Asking the right questions sets up the right answers.
    Clarify your objective, goal or aim
    – then explore all options to get there
    TIP – The default Criteria are shown above – The app allows you to change these. (Add, Delete)
    TIP – A lazy way to not include a criterion in graphs and reports is to set the weighting for it to zero
    A light example of how flexible the app is to support your context. All defaults deleted – these three added.
    Deciding “should I say or should I go” with my Head, my Heart, and my Gut

    Evaluate Options
    Apply weighted criteria
    Using the microphone – or are you “still typing”?
    “Question to the void” – press home why the gap between some points is like it is – share the screenshot
    Implement Plans
    Action preferred options
    We only evaluate things in order to better do something about them.
    Your action plan should be focused, minimalist.
    Yes, as simple as possible – as complex as necessary
    The importance of monitoring and refinement is significant.
    Good planning is an ongoing process
    Filter the fields – deselect – tailor your PDF outputs
    Once you have tailored your field selection, click on the floating PDF button
    Save it by default – or direct the download

    The OughtWe Twitter site


  • Ought we use “lite (tongue-in-cheek) ads”?

    Is it a bit of fun? Or is it just a trite distraction?

    Does it stimulate interest and thinking?

    Does it enhance accessibliity?

    Or is it a demeaning?

    Check the Apple Store here

    Establishing Context

    Never underestimate the importance of establishing context.

    Of agreed objectives, potential options, and weighting agreed assessment criteria.

    In short, of having your ladder against the right wall.

    Assessing Options

    Applying the agreed criteria to potential options is a collaborative process where the rationale for attributions is significant.

    In short, asking the right questions.

    Implementing Plans

    This is not academic. This is not a game.

    We assess risks in order to manage them. We assess options in order to work out the best ones to act on.

    In short, we think right in order to act right.


    An app to support your decision-making.

    In the palm of your hand.