Schrödinger’s CEO.

No, thankfully I am not going to talk about quantum superposition, or to try and emulate the famous scientist, but you have probably heard of Schrödinger’s cat and the cat in the box analogy, haven’t you?


No, thankfully I am not going to talk about quantum superposition or to try and emulate the famous scientist, but you have probably heard of Schrödinger's cat and the cat in the box analogy, haven't you? The one where, while the box is sealed, the situation of the cat cannot be known until the box is opened. So, let's place our CEO in a sealed box in place of the much-abused Viennese feline. Hold on though, just in case you think I am being unnecessarily cruel, let me rewind a bit.

First take one active, energetic CEO pushing on with their heavy burden of responsibility. Daily they are being fed with new information, updates and direction from the many parts of the universe around them. Regularly they are using all that incoming data to form-up their view and make decisions. They must make choice after choice. They are a decision-making machine.

As an experiment then we take our well-informed CEO ready to make their next decision and, after brushing out the fur, exchange them for our purring, be-tailed friend - who gets a well-deserved saucer of warm milk. As we do so, we say to them that as part of the experiment, they will only come out again once we know that they have made a decision. Our box is sealed and lets no light, sound, wi-fi or phone signal through. We wait. And we wait some more. What happens?

Like the apocryphal cat, our CEO will remain a mystery. In the sealed box, they will get on with making their decisions, finding a new direction for the business. Outside the box though, we will know nothing about this. As we wait to see evidence, to see real actioned change, nothing. No one will modify their behaviour or take another path as a result of any of that great thinking going on inside the box.

Inside the box, decisions are being made. Outside the box, there is no sign, no indicator, no evidence that decisions are being made.

The truth is that a decision, whether by a CEO or an Ops team manager, is not, of course, the point in time where we make that mental connection to one possible path and select it as our chosen direction. That moment can sometimes be painful and sometimes be exhilarating. It can feel like a momentous moment, an important instant of vital revelation or a simple part of our everyday job. In truth though, that point in time, no matter how great, exciting, onerous or ordinary it feels, that exact epoch is not a decision. The decision is what follows. The decision comes some time later when that new thought is communicated. Communicated through to the people that matter, the ones that will action the change.

In short, a change to what we think is not what we think of as a change.

It may seem a really simple, and perhaps obvious, point but it is a hugely important one.

ActiveOps Workware+ solutions can make a big difference to the efficiency of an Ops department. So big that it can sometimes feel a bit incredible. Yet the way it achieves this is straightforward.

We take many elements of operational management and supercharges each one of them. The effect is that it delivers benefit on top of benefit because each improvement aids every other one.

Taking the example of making decisions, operational leaders and staff can easily turn thoughts into actions.

We often think we are doing a good job but in truth it is hard for us all to see just how much we are sat in that box, making our vital decisions but failing to share them fast enough, clearly enough and directly enough for them to become effective actions. We help ops managers get out of the box and provide direct, clear and timely communications that allow their best thinking to instantly become the best action.

And it does so without any cats, or indeed CEOs, ever having to be sealed away.

ActiveOps would like to make it clear that no cats were harmed in the writing of this blog post.



“Richard has worked with businesses as diverse as the BBC, Sony and Yell. He led products in many markets and worked with technology ranging from the world’s most powerful picture processing, to SaaS people management used by a quarter of the world’s population. A focus on evolving business needs has led him to file more than two-dozen patents including UI innovations, apps and other revolutionary technology. Richard now manages ControliQ within ActiveOps, bringing efficiency to business operations across the globe.”

Richard Schiller, Product Manager ControliQ, ActiveOps