On one episode of The Flintstones Fred changes places with a millionaire who wants a taste of the normal life. Fred says he couldn’t possibly run a corporation but J. L. Gotrocks says it’s easy: You just go to the meeting and when they bring something up you say “Whose baby is that?” then “What’s your angle?” then “I’ll buy that.”
Fred goes to the meeting and they say something like “The first order of business is the merger with XYZ Corporation.” Fred says “Whose baby is that?”. A vice-president stands up and says “Me, sir.” Fred says “What’s your angle?” and he says “Well, they’ve got a huge market share and their product will bring us a lot of revenue” (or something like that; I haven’t seen this since I was a kid). Fred says “I’ll buy that” and the merger is approved. They go through one item after another and Fred handles everything the same way. He has become a corporate CEO.
It’s a good lesson I think not for CEO’s but for people who ask their superiors to make decisions. Do the research, bring the information, and have a recommendation in hand. Be able to bring up the positives and negatives so that they can make an informed decision. It’s amazing how often I see people ask managers (or me) to make decisions but don’t bring enough information or haven’t thought about addressing a few easy questions like “What’s your angle?” or “Why is this a good idea?” or “What could go wrong?”. If you do all of your work then getting approvals should be as easy as going to Fred Flintstone and answering his three questions.