Leadership Nudge® 401 – Visual Representation of Probabilistic Info

September 28, 2022by Sandy Wilmer

Leaders encourage probabilistic conversation which allows people to share thoughts and communicate in a way that encourages thinking. Here’s David with further explanation.


Hey, here’s one representation of what Hurricane Ian might do to Florida, where I live, which is going to hit tomorrow (September 28, 2022). And it shows this single line. And we got a sense, “Oh, well, we know what the hurricane is going to do, it’s going to follow this line, it’s going to hit exactly here and exactly here.”  

But the hurricanes approach is much more probabilistic than that. Here’s a better representation, where we show a column where the hurricane can go. This is even better because this is showing a very wide cone. You can see the whole state of Florida is covered because this is saying, “Hey, where our 40 knot winds or greater likely to be?” And you can see here, “Oh, if I live like, oh, one inch outside of the cone, I’m safe, I don’t need to worry about it.” 

This, I liked the best that showing distribute discrete tracks, even the weathermen refer to this as ‘spaghetti tracks’ from a model. Each track is discrete, but there are a whole number of them. And we’re not claiming to know at this point, which of these particular tracks it’s going to follow.  

Representing future events as probabilistic and not binary and deterministic is very important. Because then it allows people to talk in a probabilistic way, which allows them to say things like, “I’m not really sure. I’m at 80% or 20% or 5% sure that we’re doing the wrong thing, but I’d like to bring it up.” If we force people into “are you sure” sort of thinking. And, “Well, where is the hurricane going to go?” then we get a lot less communication and thinking from the group and it makes it much harder for them to share their probabilistic thoughts. 

I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge. 

Sandy Wilmer

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Intent-Based Leadership International, LLC • 1435 E. Venice Ave #104-173 • Venice, FL 34292 • +1.941.408.0311

Intent-Based Leadership International, LLC • 1435 E. Venice Ave #104-173 • Venice, FL 34292 • +1.941.408.0311

Intent-Based Leadership International, LLC • 1435 E. Venice Ave #104-173 • Venice, FL 34292 • +1.941.408.0311