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Slow Deciders Make Better Strategists

A lesson about overconfidence

When the overconfident think they already know the answer, they may believe it's a waste of time to keep looking for answers. But in deciding on a strategy, overconfidence may not lead to a workable option.

An essential lesson for competitive-strategy decision-makers is not to be so fast. Take your time and don't be so sure.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Slow Deciders Make Better Strategists

Slow Deciders Make Better Strategists

https://hbr.org/2016/07/slow-deciders-make-better-strategists

hbr.org

4

Key Ideas

Good/bad strategy decision-makers

It's not easy to split people into the good/bad strategy decision-makers.

  • Track records are useful to some extend. Those with business degrees seem to be good signs, but they may differ on what works. Veterans look promising, but so do outsiders with new ideas.
  • There's a difference between someone confident after laboring over a thoughtful decision and one who's convinced after a quick judgment. There's a difference between someone unsure after serious thought and someone who's uncertain after a quick view.

Strategy Decision Making

Imagine recording decision-makers' solutions to a competitive-strategy problem using four categories:

  1. Now-I-know
  2. I-already-know
  3. I-don't-know
  4. I-guessed

The Now-I-know and the I-already-know are very confident while I-do don't-know and the I-guessed are unsure. The Now-I-know and the I-don't-know are slow in making a strategy-decision while the I-already-know and the I-guessed are fast at making a decision.

Experiments with strategic decision making

A database of business executives, consultants, professors, and students was given the same unfamiliar pricing-strategy problem.

  • Generally, the I-already-knows and the Now-I-Knows tend to be older males.
  • The I-don't-knows tend to be somewhat younger.
  • Females make up over half of the I-don't-knows.
  • The best performing group was the I-don't-knows.
  • The overconfident I-already-knows had strategies that would not work. Not because they were incompetent, but because they were overconfident.

A lesson about overconfidence

When the overconfident think they already know the answer, they may believe it's a waste of time to keep looking for answers. But in deciding on a strategy, overconfidence may not lead to a workable option.

An essential lesson for competitive-strategy decision-makers is not to be so fast. Take your time and don't be so sure.

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