The Four Villains of Decision Making

  • Narrow framing: The tendency to define our choices in binary terms. We ask, "should I, or shouldn't I?" instead of “What are the ways I could...?”
  • Confirmation bias: People tend to select the information that supports their preexisting attitudes, beliefs, and actions. 
  • Short-term emotion: When we’ve got a difficult decision to make, our feelings occupy our minds. And this doesn't add any new information that could benefit us. 
  • Overconfidence: People often think they know more than they actually do about how the future will unfold.
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MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

  • Counter narrow framing by widening your options. Expand your set of choices.
  • Confirmation bias leads you to gather self-serving information. Analyze and test your assumptions to overcome the bias.
  • Short-term emotion will tempt you to make the wrong choice. So distance yourself before deciding.
  • Prepare to be wrong. Don't be overconfident about how the future will unfold.
We are exposed to biases that influence our ability to make good decisions.
  • We are quick to jump to conclusions because we fail to search for information that might disprove our thoughts.
  • We're overconfident. We look for information that fits our ideas and ignore information that doesn't.

Knowing these and other biases is not enough. We need a framework for making decisions.

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RELATED IDEAS

Mathematics dictates that you should take 37% of the time or options you have to simply look and after that, you should commit to the first option that is better than everything you’ve seen so far.

That’s the point at which you have the highest chance—in a display of mathematical symmetry, it’s a 37% chance—of making the best choice.

  • Write down 3 existing company goals impacted by the decision;
  • Write down at least 3 realistic alternatives;
  • Write down the most important information you are missing;
  • Write down the impact your decision will have 1 year in the future;
  • Involve a team of 2-6 stakeholders;
  • Write down what was decided, as well as why and how much the team supports the decision;
  • Schedule a decision follow-up in one to two months.
3 decision-making mistakes that you must avoid
  1. Impulsivity. Thorough decisions combine all three senses – seeing, hearing and feeling. Impulsive decisions always lack one of these elements.
  2. Allowing yourself to be persuaded against your better judgment.  The selfish judgment of others should not interfere with your decisions. 
  3. Analysis paralysis. Inner conflict usually means a 'no'. Put off your decision for a while. Make an assessment of the risks involved and decide what size of risk you are willing to take.

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