Decision-Making Villains

How to exterminate decision-making villains?

Daniel Kahneman, The psychologist, and Nobel-prize winner economist notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, as well as behavioral economics – Claims that the core essence of the difficulty in decision-making is due to:

Spotlight Effect:

  • What you see is all there is
  • Quick Jump to conclusions
  • The normal state of your mind is that you have intuitive feelings and opinions about almost everything that comes your way 

What’s in the spotlight will rarely be everything we need to make a good decision, but we won’t always remember to shift the light.


Decision-Making Villains:

  1. Narrow Framing: Tendency to define our choices too narrow, in binary terms. This or that.
    1. Strive to Try this AND that instead of OR
    2. Widen your options: “Is there a better way?”
    3. Think of “Opportunity-Cost”:  What do you give up when you make a decision?
    4. Vanishing options test: You cannot choose any of the current options you are considering. What else you could do?
    5. Playlists: Generate new options and ideas
      1. Questions to ask:
        1. What could we build around it?
        2. What is the enemy of the product?
        3. What would the brand be like if it’s the market leader?
        4. Could you cut the budget deeper, so you can invest in other paths?
      2. Principles to consult – Find someone who solved your problem
      3. Bright-Spots: Most positive point in a distribution of data. Find them, and seek to reproduce your success
  2. Confirmation Bias: Normal Habit is to develop a quick belief about a situation then seek information that bolsters our belief
    1. Reality-test Assumptions 
    2. Consider the Opposite
    3. Ask disconfirming questions
  3. Short-Term Emotion
    1. Attain Distance before deciding
    2. You need the most perspective
    3. Ask: “What would my successor do?”
  4. OverConfidence(Hubris): We don’t know what we don’t know
    1. Prepare to be wrong
    2. Multi-Track: consider several distinct options simultaneously ( 2-3 is good)
      1. Learn something useful about the “Shape” of the problem – by comparing key design principles 
      2. Keeps Ego in check
      3. Rule-Thump: Keep searching for options until you fall in love twice
      4. Help Understand “Landscape” – What’s possible, What are the variables involved.
    3. Spark Constructive disagreement

Inspired by Decisive


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