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4 Ways to Make Smarter Decisions

https://www.inc.com/erik-sherman/4-ways-to-make-smarter-decisions.html

inc.com

4 Ways to Make Smarter Decisions
Decision making is critical in a business, and entrepreneurs often pride themselves on decisiveness. But as Chip Heath, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and McKinsey consultant Olivier Sibony discussed recently in McKinsey Quarterly, decision making in businesses is often poor because of both personal and systemic problems. For a smarter and more effective business, consider these four points from the discussion.

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Bias is everywhere

Bias is everywhere

Being aware of your own biases doesn't mean you will be free of them. You need a system that will help prevent your proclivities from taking control.

Rather refer to bias as "predictable mistakes" that people make when planning. For instance, getting anchored on last year's numbers. That is bias, but the language provides another way of addressing it. It is more pointed and practical.

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You're not as smart as you think

You're not as smart as you think

It wasn't an individual that got people to the moon. It was all of NASA. 

There should be recognition of how many people really should be involved and the need for mechanisms to deliver smarter decisions.

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There is safety in numbers

According to Heath, one study at a mid-sized high tech company showed that a group of leaders thought decisions were six times more effective when they considered two alternatives instead of one. Instead of asking a group for its decision, request the two top choices.

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Past decisions

Consider alternatives and prepare to be wrong--really wrong, not just slightly. And create an atmosphere in which people can disagree and bring up important points that might otherwise be glossed over. 

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Decision making and biases

Experts have known for a while that ...

Mental time travel

A common decision-making problem is failing to have enough imagination with regards to what could go wrong or falling victim to simple overconfidence. 

Envision the future. There’s evidence that this exercise can broaden your outlook and highlight problems that might not come to mind otherwise.

Don’t make an important decision

... when you're hungry, or sleepy, or angry.

Research has shown that our susceptibility to bias increases when we’re stressed, whether because of exhaustion, hunger, or a heightened emotional state.

Delaying a crucial decision, if possible, might be preferable to making it under conditions of stress.

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Making decisions

Making decisions

Decision making is critical for entrepreneurs. Every day, you have to set out on a course of action, choose tactics, evaluate results, and otherwise choose from arrays of options.

4 common mistakes that can trip you up

  1. Monumentalizing the Trivial. Place a limit on how long you're willing to spend addressing the issue. When the time ends, make your choice and move on.
  2. Dredging Sunk Costs. Estimate how much the decision would take in total to follow through. If the cost is higher than the benefit, change your decision.
  3. Drowning in Data. Identify less than 10 pieces of relevant data that will have a strong impact on your decision's outcome. Then forget everything else.
  4. Do-or-Die Mentality. Realize that every decision is temporary. Use an overall decision-making strategy that stretches over time, not that imagines each moment to be the most critical one for the business.

Default choices

Default choices

90% of your daily decisions happen automatically, many shaped by your environment. Thus, most decisions are a habit, not a deliberate choice.

To make smarter choices, design smarter...

Designing your life

Design your life like a choice architect:

  • Encourage smarter decisions you want to do by making them more accessible.
  • Add friction to habits you want to quit, making them less accessible, or remove the option to perform them completely.

Richard Thaler

Richard Thaler

“First, never underestimate the power of inertia. Second, that power can be harnessed.”