Question Time with Jephtah Lorch


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What is you book “Business is Decisions, Success is Intuition: Accelerate your Growth by Improving Decision Making” about?

The book brings an unconventional perspective on human biases in decision making, it explains for example why companies that under different leaderships achieve different results. Developing awareness to such biases, conscious or not, helps us better influence outcomes and our success potential.  

The book seeks to touch on situations in which many of us find ourselves but might not be aware of like delegation of incompetence. We are taught about delegation of responsibility and delegation of authority yet delegation of incompetence is practiced much more, even by the most competent people.

Which market is your book directed at, who would find it interesting, or benefit from it?

The book is written to target decision makers whose decision has a strategic impact (which not always appreciated). It could be a product manager recommending features, a Chef choosing his menu, a sales person building apparel markets or CEO’s and VP’s making decisions with long term impact. The book encourages readers to better understand the way their ‘gut feeling’ biases decisions and its impact on their work.

The book should also be of interest to readers making high level, long term decisions based on abstract thinking and unpredictable environments.  I also recommend the book to those who aspire to grow into decision making positions like students, young managers.

If someone is not in a role that manages others, or perhaps they aren’t even in the world of business, would they find this book useful?   Would someone who is looking for an aide in their own personal decision making find this book useful?

I believe the book is of interest to the general reader as well because the principles described are also applicable in our personal lives. People do make strategic, gut based decisions in their personal lives like choosing the courses they take in University, who to marry, our first job that affects our later career and so on. The tools presented in this book can benefit all facets of our lives.

How and when did you learn the lessons that you have incorporated in this book?  Was there a particular lesson that inspired you to want to share what you had learnt with others?

Well, there is a particular company which I turned around as CEO. Before joining it I studied the technologies and markets and came to the conclusion that the technology has its edge and the market needs such solutions. So the problem was execution. I spent three very intensive years, initially with a lot of internal resistance, leading the change in corporate culture, strategy, product lines, sales channels, debt repayment and so on. With surprises appearing every day I asked myself how these very smart PhD’s, engineers and educated people managed to get the company into such a mess. It is then and there that the seeds of this book were sown.

This book prompts success, can you tell us about some of the failures, and success that you have encountered.  Do you believe that a failure can help make someone stronger, so that their next success is even greater?

I have many experiences to share, both mine and those of others but I will limit myself to two stories. The first is personal. It was August 2007, I was driving my car listening to the radio when I heard of Ben Bernanke’s intention to funnel money to banks. I am not a great economist but common sense is that when banks need money there is a problem. The next day I sold most of my traded shares. September stock markets still rose and my friends explained to me how wrong I was. October, when the demise begun they realised my logic was correct.

A corporate case I worked on was with a project based industry in which 60% of the projects were delayed. They brought in management consultants, changed work methodologies and much more, resulting in marginal impact. During my study of the company and projects I realized that the problem was people and their priorities, not tools and methodologies.  By redefining roles, priorities and focusing efforts we managed to boost results and especially avoid repetition of these problems.

It is all about people, their choices and motivations. Failures will strengthen the ones that learn and keep trying, the ones that believe in themselves and love what they are doing. Motivation and drive are a game changer that makes us think, be alert, persistent and successful. No professional activity can compensate for lack of these.

Tell us more about you.  What is your background?

For twenty-five years I held C-level executive positions in companies, healthy and distressed ones, and led major Homeland Security projects. I did business in four continents worked for a variety of technology and industrial companies including turnarounds, mergers and selling companies. Many shareholders enjoyed the results.

I am currently sharing my extensive experience by mentoring and consulting to decision makers for them to make better companies. My perspective of management mirrors my people-centric approach, extensive international and cross-cultural experience, and interest in historical processes.

Will you be writing more books to support and empower others, or do you have other ventures that you want to explore?

Yes, now that I have more time I am writing another book on the Oxymoron of Homeland Security. Using the same high level tools used in this book, I will be looking at the internal contradictions in the way today’s security is planned and operated nowadays, I offer different approaches to achieve more with the same budgets. And, am thinking of two more books.

If you could offer 5 words of guidance now to our readers what would they be?

Look for the unquantifiable little voices behind decisions. Ask yourself if the direction is good for your long term.

Where can our readers find out more about you and what you are working on next?  Is there any way that they can contact you?

You can contact me through my website, I answer all queries and do my best to give back the support I received when I started my career.

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