Decision-making : Does your ability to predict the future leave you revered or laughed at?
So you think that your decision-making ability is sound? Think again; a little time reflecting on some of the decisions that you recently made may change your mind. Understanding what led you to make those decisions may be useful for how you make future decisions.
1. Confirmation Bias: First day with a new client and someone meets you at reception and tells you to wait, then disappears for too long – typical, this has happened before! You think that you know what they are thinking – “More expense; another smarty pants coming to tell us what to do; they needn’t think I will be making it easy for them!”
Fifteen minutes later and another person comes along and sets you up. You continue to believe your first thoughts – that they are laughing at you and trying to make you look like a fool.
I wonder if finding out what really happened would make you wiser next time and therefore able to relate more quickly to people and change your decision-making patterns?
2. Gamblers Fallacy: This is working on the belief that the odds are stacked in favour of one thing happening over another.
You are at the roulette table and the ball has landed on red 10 times – surely it must land on black next time so you put £500 on black. The wheel spins, the ball is thrown in and you wait…it lands on red. Money lost.
The problem with this sort of thinking is that the logic gets lost somewhere and the “gambler” takes over. In truth at roulette the odds didn’t change – there was still a 50/50 chance of it landing on red regardless of what has passed. The expectation is that past events will influence future ones.
For example, you have written 5 similar letters for the client claiming recompense – unsuccessfully. Mistakenly you believe that the next one must work. You write the 6th and once again you lose. Unfortunately, introspection and common sense do not prevail so you change nothing about the letter but expect the outcome to be different.
3. Sunk Cost : This happens when you refuse to ditch something that you have invested a lot of time and effort into. We see this all of the time on ‘Dragons Den’. Most of the audience can see it simply won’t work and needs to be scrapped, but the candidate cannot begin to consider that prospect.
Think about projects that you should have abandoned or redeveloped or asked for help on but didn’t – they failed, so you failed. If you have any inkling in your gut that you need to cut your losses, talk to someone who is impartial and who you trust.
The real challenge to set yourself around decision-making is to stop repeating the same behaviour and spend some time reflecting on what you do and looking at ways to let logic and other people help you.