MurderBoarding: How to select ‘the one’ superior strategy

by. Lisa Hochgraf

My husband recently phoned me and wanted to “talk headlines.” As a university professor, he has to publish papers to keep his position, and that night he needed to develop an abstract for a future journal article. Trouble was, he had more ideas than he could possibly include in one paper.

To help hubby sort things out, I used a traditional editorial technique for narrowing a story’s focus: I asked questions, such as “who is your audience and what do they care about?” and “what was the most important outcome of making your lab class more hands-on for students?” We eventually got to a kernel that would work for him.

Nilofer Merchant says business organizations sometimes take a similar swim through many, many ideas. Only they do it when trying to select their one superior strategy–that’s inclusive and complete–on which they want every employee to focus. Her approach for “killing off bad ideas so good ideas can thrive” is called “MurderBoarding.”

According to her book, The New How (click to read an excerpt), MurderBoarding’s purpose is to “enable a team to evalutate many options effectively, yet still converge on the winning choice in a bounded timeframe.

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