Informed Decision-Makers and Other Myths and Fallacies

Informed Decision MakersThe best decision-makers are the most likely to lead their organizations to outstanding performance and success. Enterprises, governments and institutions are constantly seeking individuals who can navigate the changing environments in which they operate and engage their customers, partners and competitors. They’ve also sought the latest technologies and services to deliver more information to their key decision makers faster than ever. The results are astonishing; every year we spend nearly one and a half trillion dollars ($1,500,000,000) on communications and information systems in the hopes and expectation that more information will lead to better decisions and better outcomes.

Unfortunately, information systems and decision-making experts have started to realize that delivering lots of information cannot guarantee timely awareness and effective decisions, even from proven leaders and seasoned experts. We’ve learned from experience that many capable, well informed leaders in government and industry ultimately failed because they remained unaware of emerging opportunities and mounting threats. How could this be?

The answers, it turned out, were intimately close, lurking in the mechanisms and cognitive potholes of our minds. Psychologists and neuroscientists tell us that these aspects of our thinking affect all of us, irrespective of education, training and experience. They manifest themselves as biases, compelling fallacies, instincts, rules of thumb and other aspects of our decision making processes. Interestingly, we’ve also come to realize that their effects are not always damaging and that in practice we can’t function without them. We have to rely on them to make quick and thoughtful decisions and adapt to a rapidly changing world; unfortunately, they can also lead us to predictable failures in judgment and decision-making.

I focus on helping leaders and decision makers stack the odds in their favor by helping them tame the negative effects of these mechanisms, while taking full advantage of their environment. This is an important distinction because it turns out that we can best improve our and our organizations’ decision making by improving the environment in which decisions are made. That means bringing together keener mindsets with systems, sources and methods to deliver more effective, timely, aware decisions. You will find many of these insights, methods and findings in the books and materials that I publish, which are available through this web site and Amazon. We also work with select clients on a case by case basis, crafting solutions to address specific concerns and partnering to achieve on-going improvements over time.

There is no activity or function whose improvement can deliver greater returns than decision making. It is so basic and integrated into our lives that it often goes unnoticed; at least until something good or bad happens. Then we celebrate or are left to lick our wounds. Improve decision making and the probability of success will also improve; the benefits are continuous, incremental and add up over time, which means that benefits compound to deliver more than their simple sum. It takes effort and commitment, but research and experience tell us that greater success is within our reach.

How you and your organization use information will determine how smart your organization will become and how uniquely valuable your workforce will be.

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