Decision making is the arena across the art and science; gut feeling and information, confidence and humility.
Making decisions is one of the significant tasks for digital leaders and professionals today. However, the high ratio of strategic decisions has been made poorly and even cause the catastrophic effect. What are key factors contributing to poor quality decision-making, where are the blind spots, and how to avoid potential decision-making pitfalls?
Lack of a big picture creates blind spots: In order to make the long-term strategic decisions, the senior leader should have the ability to see the big picture, to complement the team’s viewpoint. However, many teams still operate with an incomplete and relatively small view of the world. Thus, too often in an effort to keep moving forward, they jump to the wrong conclusion. There are also many senior leaders who fail to deal with blind spots because arrogance clouds their eyes; or they have a very homogeneous team who always “think the same.” To clarify the vision and make the fair judgment, you have to be really humble to realize you don’t know what you don’t know and dig through something you know you don’t know as well. Until that happens, you will continue on the lives in blindness. So, you need to listen, accept, and act on the blind spot, whatever it is and get any feedback to close it.
Knowledge pitfalls in decision making: The old adage “Knowledge is the power” is timelessly true, especially for decision-making. However, there are decision-making pitfalls for either having “too much” knowledge or “too little” knowledge. While the dangers of too little knowledge are widely acknowledged, not everyone appreciates the inherent dangers of too much information particularly because of the inconsistencies and incoherence is the body of information that surrounds us. Information obesity is one of the biggest decision-making pitfalls in the digital era; it deprives you of holistic thinking. There is the danger of super specialization, which can deprive people of a holistic understanding of the situation in order to make effective decisions. Further, knowledge is no doubt important, but more than that is complete awareness of what is happening in the context. Once you do that, you use the ability to classify the elements and know their linkage. Hence, it’s critical to build the ability to apply the right kind of knowledge at the right time with the right attitude for achieving decision-making maturity.
Group Thinking as the pitfall in decision making: Group Thinking refers to a psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group, in many cases, people will set aside their own personal beliefs or adopt the opinion of the rest of the group. In an Abilene paradox, a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of many or all of the individuals in the group. Group thinking is often caused by the homogeneous team setting or lack of independent thinking. Group polarization means that a group of people can make a more extreme decision than an individual. You’d think that a group would tend to democratize the diversified viewpoint and to moderate individual points of view. In fact, the opposite often occurs, they often make more extreme decisions. Because the homogeneous team setting will make team members more vulnerable to peer pressure, risk avoidance, making biased decisions and sticking to the comfort zone.
The reason decision making is often a difficult task because it is contextual and situational; it takes a unique individual to understand a situation and relates it to the present, and there is no magic formula to follow. Hence, it is important to have a humble attitude, learn from your own experience or others’ failure lessons, overcome bias and avoid all sorts of pitfalls on the way, in order to achieve decision-making maturity.
Decision Master Book Summary
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Decision Master Introduction
Decision Master Chapter 1 Decision Intelligence
Decision Master Chapter 2 Decision Principles
Decision Master Chapter 3 Digital Decision Styles
Decision Master Chapter 4 Decision Pitfalls
Decision Master Chapter 5 Decision Maturity