Binary power

Aug 11 2005 by René Da Costa Print This Article

As a 21st century manager, you need to have the capability to defeat the elements of apathy, ignorance and politics. The most essential tool in your arsenal is the ability to make smart decisions, fast. Welcome to Binary Power.

I remember when a calculator in the classroom was considered an undeserved luxury that would surely lead to the corruption of youth and possibly global warming. Now with television remote controls offering more digital power than a man with 100 fingers working for NASA, the question is moot. Computers are here to stay.

How have computers assumed their dominance? Well, you could list any number of reasons including increases in leisure, education and convenience, but their main advantage is an ability to make lightning fast decisions.

The irony is that computers continue to evolve in new and breathtaking ways not because they are complicated but because of an underlying simplicity, the binary numeral system.

Choose any of your modern microchip marvels and you will find that central to its success is an ability to make a simple choice. Do I choose 0 or a 1? Or a Yes or a No, if you prefer. That's Binary Power.

Of course, it isn't quite as simple as that because tens of thousands of decisions are made each millionth of a second made up of complicated binary decisions chains, but it still comes down to a series 0's or 1's. Learning to imitate that simplicity should be your first decision. It will certainly be your smartest.

Computers make complicated calculations without succumbing to politics, favouritism, anger, or any form of partisanship. Learning to use Binary Power won't inhibit your higher decision making processes it will revolutionise it. Not only will you make complicated decisions with tremendous speed, you will ignite the business.

All you need to exploit the beautiful simplicity of Binary Power is a simple set of rules. Let's call them the Binary Power Rules.

Once you become fluent in the art of Binary Power decision making you can create and begin to use a set of rules in just a couple of hours. For your first attempt allow a day.

Think about it, one day to ramp up your ability to make better, faster decisions that will transform your reputation as a manager and positively impact all those around you.

You can complete the workshop that follows on your own, but by sharing best practice you afford yourself an extra opportunity to shine. If you choose to work alone then just be careful to remain objective. Still, let's assume your desire to radiate and plan a group event.

The Binary Power Rules Workshop


  • Invite all the key stakeholders and team members of a project that is not performing to expectations.
  • Elect yourself as the host for the day. Remember to ensure the events success all personal interests must be left at the door, especially yours.

  • Make sure you have a flipchart with plenty of paper and pens and select a location that is neutral and serene. This is business, but civilised business.

Workshop Rules

  • If any invited stakeholders are unable to attend then ask someone to represent their interests in their absence. Make sure they understand the need for impartiality.
  • Kick off by explaining the benefits of Binary Power, how it will cut across politics, allow faster decisions and generally make everyone look good.
  • Agree within the group what percentage of people in the room must agree to carry each new set of rules. Don't go for 100% or risk wasting a day. Aim at 70-80% but allow everyone to have his or her say without interruption.

Step 1: Setting the Binary Power Rules

  • Ask each person to answer the question "What do you see as the required outcomes and goals for this project?"
  • Write down every point from each person. (Including those people representing absent parties.)
  • Once everyone has contributed to the answer then delete any duplicates points.
  • Based upon your list of unique points vote on which ones are most important to the success of the project. Select a maximum of 5.
  • Now make sure each point is in the form of a question that you can answer with a Yes or No. e.g. if a listed goal was "Delight our customer" the Binary Power rule should be , "Will this delight the customer?" Yes or No. *
  • Now write down your definitive list of Binary Power rules for this topic.

(*In the instance above the ideal answer was Yes, but the answer to a rule can just as easily be No)

Repeat Step 1 with the question "What political, social and physical environment is needed to support the project?"

Repeat Step 1 with the question "What skills and personal attributes are needed by each person in the team to support the project?"

Step 2. Test the rules

You should now have a list of up to 15 Binary Power Rules that can be used by each person to make smarter decisions in the best interest of the project.

Try out your Binary Power rules with a few scenarios to see if they work as intended. Use actual situations to test their strength and adjust as required.

When you are happy then distribute the Binary Power Rules set to each person on a quality long lasting format that could be kept in their wallet or purse.

Step 3. Maintenance

Schedule regular sessions to test your rules and make sure that they are still relevant and working as intended.

Your Binary Power will allow you to keep pace with the leaders of our management revolution by thinking with the speed and logic of a computer without the customary excess workplace baggage. Enjoy the digital age.


About The Author

René Da Costa
René Da Costa

René Da Costa is an author and consultant.