Become a Better Decision Maker

Dave Blankenhorn

Dave Blankenhorn

Many of us like to think we make key strategic decisions based on our experience, knowledge, our analytical ability and our intuition. We do so after discussing and confirming our judgment with our key people. However recent studies have revealed this approach can result in a high error rate because we don’t really look at the negative impact our decision might have and other potential ideas. We do this because of our:

Narrow mind set- Most people make decisions without really considering any alternatives. By focusing on the narrow decision most people will miss some valuable input and data. Studies show strategic decisions made without alternatives are wrong half the time’

Confirmation bias- We have a tendency to place more value on information that supports our opinion while ignoring or devaluing any contrary ideas. We see what we want to see even when data on both sides is equal thereby ensuring we will opt to the side that supports our view.

Short term emotion- While we like to think our decisions are based on all factors we are often unaware how emotions steer our thoughts. Fleeting short term emotions can influence us into making poor long term decisions.

Overconfidence- Once our mind is made up we rarely revisit the decision to see if that decision was the right one. Studies show doctors who were absolutely certain of their initial diagnosis were actually wrong 40% of the time.

Knowing we face these pitfalls we could lower our possible error rate by asking a few key people to prepare a case against your decision which will allow you to clearly see the other sides of the issue. If you then wish to proceed you will do so with more confidence knowing more of the facts.

Author:  Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org