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To navigate in reality you need to simplify it

Posted by Seppo Sairanen on 6.11.2018 14:01
Seppo Sairanen
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A few days ago I managed to catch a cold. To get something else to think than my miserable being I tried to find something light and easy to read from my book shelves. Nothing seemed to be interesting.

Finally in my not so well arranged library I noticed a misplaced small black book titled The Decision Book. I guess it caught my attention because at that moment my ability to make any decision was even worse than normally.

The Decision Book by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler summarizes 50 of the most popular decision-making models. Contrary to my usual way of doing things (never read a manual until you are in trouble) I started to read the introduction of the book – or actually the ’Instructions for Use’.


You can approach things in the American or the European way. Americans act, Europeans analyze.


I was totally struck by the way their described how to read and use the book. Krogerus and Tschäppeler point out that you can read their book in the American or the European way. ’Americans tend towards a trial-and-error approach: they do something, fail, learn from this, acquire theories and try again. Europeans tend to begin by acquiring theories, then doing something. If they then fail, they analyse, improve and repeat the attempt’. People are not alike, so why to expect them to read a book in the same way?

The most interesting thing is, I realized in my groggy brain, that the same ’Instructions for Use’ apply to our Viking Theories Leadership Development and Training Game. If the American way suits you, you probably play the game wanting to improve yourself. If you play the European way you want to understand yourself better.

Is you motivation to either improve yourself or understand yourself better or even both of them, our game gives you a lot of insight and tools for improvement and understanding.


The best decision making models simplify and organize. It doesn't make sense to embrace every aspect of reality.


Krogerus and Tschäppeler also write that ’When we encounter chaos, we seek ways to structure it, to see through it, or at least to gain an overview of it’. As the models in the book also our game ’helps us to reduce the complexity of a situation by enabling us to suppress most of it and concentrate what is important’. 

One more thing I like this book is that the authors don’t claim that their decision making models represent reality as it is. A short summary about the models: 

  • They simplify: It doesn’t make sense to embrace every aspect of reality, but include those aspects that seem relevant.
  • They are pragmatic: If you don’t focus on what is useful, you lose the track.
  • They sum up: Creating executive summaries of complex interrelations is critical in complicated situations.
  • They are visual: Through drawings they convey concepts and behaviours that are difficult to explain in words.
  • They organize: They provide structure to see through a chaos.


We need models and tools that don't even try to represent reality meticulously.


This list clarifies in excellent way why we need models and tools that don’t even try to represent reality meticulously. And what I find interesting is that our game fulfill these same criteria. It simplifies, organizes and sums up in pragmatic and visual way complex leadership situations.

I feverishly recommend you to read The Decision Book to get tools for better decision making – and, of course, you should play our game to become a better leader.


Seppo Sairanen is a Partner in Viking Theories. He has a long experience in building up start up companies. He claims he doesn’t have any fun facts to share. 


Photo by Isaac Benhesed on Unsplash
Photo by Isaac Benhesed on Unsplash

Topics: leadership, simulation game, learning technology


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