“Facts are simple and facts are straight,
Facts are lazy and facts are late.
Facts all come with points of view,
Facts don’t do what I want them to.”
Every decision-maker can probably relate to these lyrics. If “The buck stops here” was posted on Harry Truman’s desk, then “Uncertainty is a given” should hang on the wall of every CFO, project manager and entrepreneur.
The same is true in business. You may research, test, and project before a roll out, but you’re never completely sure it’ll work. You can restructure or re-direct a company, but you can’t predict the ripples you’ll create. Every decision is tainted, to some extent, by assumptions and agendas. You can overextend your resources, lose focus and miss opportunities, or simply raise new questions and possibilities. In the end, any decision requires decisive commitment. The U.S. Marine Corps calls it the 70 percent solution – an immediate and imperfect act is always better than a slow and reluctant one.
WHARTON AND MIT HEADLINE THIS MONTH’S BEST MOOCs
If there is a theme to the MOOCs being launched this May, it is this: Every decision entails risk. As a leader, your job is to master the tools that foster reflection, restraint, planning, and communication. Take “The Language and Tools of Financial Analysis,” for example. Taught by the dean of business and economics at the University of Melbourne in Australia, students will learn how financials drive decision-making at every level of an organization. And you’ll find similar themes in financial MOOCs produced by the Wharton School (Financial Accounting), the University of Illinois (Managerial Accounting), and Cornell University (Financial Sustainability).
Entrepreneurship – the most uncertain of all endeavors – also takes center stage in May. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, one of Europe’s top startup schools, is offering “Launching New Ventures,” where student teams can put their business ideas to the test – and can earn $2,500 in seed money to launch it. MIT, one of America’s entrepreneurial hubs, is launching “User Innovation: A Path to Entrepreneurship,” taught by the legendary Eric von Hippel. In addition, the University of California-Irvine continues to develop intensive specialization programs. In May, students can earn a certificate in project management from completing a series of courses that cover project planning, budgeting, and scheduling, as well as mitigating risk and overcoming adversity.
In addition, Wharton’s Mauro Guillén is back to teach his popular “Analyzing Global Trends for Business and Society” course. If you’re looking to enter the growing supply chain field, you can’t miss “Supply Chain Management Fundamentals,” taught by MIT’s Chris Caplice, who heads the nation’s top-ranked supply chain program. And Case Western Reserve’s “Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence” is back again for a reason: It is among the most popular MOOCs among students according to Class Central.
To learn more about these courses – and register for them – click on the links below.