How heuristics influenced our social gathering

By Tracy Williams

Janet and Tracy

From left, Janet Pucino, author of the new book “Not in the Club,” and Tracy Williams, president and CEO of Olmstead Williams Communications.

Last night, we hosted 15 women executives in our office.  It was the salad-and-white-wine crowd with an edge as we listened to award -winning author, Janet Pucino, discuss the findings of her research on gender in business in her new book, “Not in the Club.”

In one of her slides she used the word heuristics, which stopped more than one of us who thought our vocabularies were pretty solid.  Janet told us that heuristics was  a decision-making process where you base your opinion on life experiences.  For example, there are employers who use heuristics when interviewing a woman of child-bearing years because his experience is they’ll be taking maternity leave, thus causing him a headache in staffing. Hueristic thinking creates biased-based decisions.

Still, I needed to know more.  So when I got to the office the next morning, I looked it up to set it in my mind:  “Heuristic (pron.: /hjʉˈrɪstɨk/; or /hyooris-tik/; Greek: “Εὑρίσκω”, “find” or “discover”) refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning and discovery. Where the exhaustive search is impractical, heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution; mental short cuts to ease the cognitive load of making a decision. Examples of this method include using a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense.”

Pucino dinner 7

Using either definition, I wonder how often do we use these “mental” shortcuts, these heuristics, in our business lives? Does it alienate us from new experiences? Do we allow our past experience to color innovation? I think it’s a great word to know and a concept I will work hard to keep in check.

Pucino dinner 4

March 1st, 2013|Categories: Client News|Tags: , , , , |

'Not in the Club' on

CVR_55x85-converted-cmyk.qxpFormer Warner Bros. Executive Janet Pucino talks about success in the workplace in an excerpt from her new book “Not In The Club: An Executive Womans Journey Through the Biased World of Business” posted on

Pucino mentions the importance of every day performance, regardless of the political climate or relationships with bosses and co-workers. According to Pucino, it is crucial to always perform in the best interest of the company, because the work a person does everyday can and will have positive long-term effects and prove to be enriching to the individual.

Pucino also brings up the challenges one might face in management positions. She states: “You have to enable yourself to do your best work within the constraints, and speak to those constraints clearly and unapologetically.” She furthermore argues that diligence and quality are vital ingredients for any task, especially when decisions or changes aren’t popular.

Finally, Pucino stresses the importance of knowing where a given company is headed, in order to work efficiently for yourself and for the company toward the main goal.  She notes: “Your efforts can be directed toward the work that ultimately achieves the company’s goals so you don’t overwork and spend time in areas that won’t propel your career.”

February 11th, 2013|Categories: Client News|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Literary Inklings reviews 'Not in the Club'

CVR_55x85-converted-cmyk.qxpFormer Warner Brothers executive Janet Pucino’s book Not in the Club, An Executive Woman’s Journey Through the Biased World of Business was recently praised by the blog Literary Inklings for illustrating the current status quo of gender inequality throughout the business world and the difficulty of accessing executive organizations, a.k.a. “The Club”.

Pucino’s book was complimented for its research and the review also noted that the author successfully uncovered the mood in today’s corporate world. Not in the Club was furthermore described as being an informational book whose author “writes with commendable professionalism”. The review thus felicitates Pucino’s business savvy and her use of language, “making the book a useful and effective component within its milieu”.

January 18th, 2013|Categories: Client News|Tags: , , |