Three Ways to Build a Culture of Better Decisions



“If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” — General George S. Patton, Jr.

We may all make higher choices.

Whether it entails shopping for or promoting an funding, hiring an worker, or contemplating an essential life selection, making higher choices produces non-linear returns. Repeated unhealthy selections, then again, lead to a lengthy highway of frustration.

As anybody who’s learn Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow or Michael Lewis’s newest, The Undoing Project, about Kahneman’s relationship together with his long-time collaborator, Amos Tversky, will let you know, typically our historical wiring — our lizard mind — circumvents our rational determination making. These heuristics, as they’re known as, are shortcuts that work a lot of the time however systematically fail at different occasions.

One of the widespread decision-making shortcuts within the enterprise world is to default to the highest-paid person’s opinion (HIPPO). Now, the highest-paid person seemingly receives that compensation for a purpose. Maybe they’ve made superior choices prior to now and have experience within the area — which might make this shortcut much more tempting. But, as Kahneman and others have proven, consultants are fallible. So if we would like our organizations to make higher choices and keep away from the HIPPO impact, we want to create a tradition that encourages dissenting opinions.

Here are three steps to try this:

1. Hand out some considering hats.

In Six Thinking Hats, Edward de Bono outlines a course of that encourages teams to contemplate a problem from six totally different angles. He describes the totally different hats as follows:

  • The White Hat (Facts) considers the data obtainable and what extra knowledge could also be wanted.
  • The Red Hat (Feelings) examines how the choice makes the group really feel. What’s the intestine response?
  • The Black Hat (Caution) performs the satan’s advocate. What may go flawed?
  • The Yellow Hat (Benefits) dwells on the optimistic facet. How may the choice go proper?
  • The Green Hat (Creativity) seeks concepts, the extra imaginative the higher.
  • The Blue Hat (Manager) units the targets and plans and directs the method.

When utilizing this The Six Thinking Hats methodology, if one group member has at all times performed satan’s advocate or proposed loopy, artistic options, the group can not take it as a right. What’s extra, the group ought to rotate the hats so one person isn’t at all times in the identical function.

The magnificence of this construction is that the group is free to contemplate the assorted aspects of nearly each determination. And everybody has permission to achieve this.

2. Make debate a group sport. 

Another means to construct a tradition that values various opinions is for the HIPPO to mannequin it.

At the enterprise capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz routinely trash one another’s concepts and encourage others to take part. As a visitor on The Tim Ferriss Show, Andreessen explained their process:

“Whenever [Ben] brings in a deal, I just beat the s— out of him. And I might think it’s the best idea I’ve ever heard, and I’ll just, like, trash the c— out of it. And I’ll get everybody else to pile on. . . . If at the end of that pile-on, the person is still pounding the table saying ‘No, no, no, this is the thing,’ we’ll say ‘Okay, we’re all in, we’re all behind you.’ . . . It’s a disagree-and-commit kind of culture.”

Rarely is there unanimous consensus round a determination or funding thought, however through the use of this methodology we will construct an setting that encourages stress testing concepts. At the tip of the day, higher choices ought to consequence.

3. Don’t add an excessive amount of worth.

If you’re the HIPPO, watch out not to add an excessive amount of worth.

Patton famously said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.” For our functions, this implies don’t maintain out for a excellent determination on the price of diminished execution. What good is a 90% superb determination improved to 95% with HIPPO enter if the dedication to execution declines from 100% to 30%?

If individuals are enthusiastic about an thought and it’s directionally right, allow them to run with it. Better to have full buy-in on the execution than to erode morale in an try to marginally enhance the choice. Again, to quote Patton, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

These strategies are distilled from a Re:Think Decision-Making workshop I not too long ago attended. Hosted by Shane Parrish and the Farnam Street crew, the workshop yielded extra worth than will be condensed in a single article, however one of the enduring takeaways was the big optimistic impact of making incrementally higher choices every day.

Just like funding returns compound over the long-term, good choices do as nicely. Hopefully, these concepts will aid you and your firm enhance its determination making and keep away from some of the shortcuts that may lead us off monitor.

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All posts are the opinion of the creator. As such, they shouldn’t be construed as funding recommendation, nor do the opinions expressed essentially replicate the views of CFA Institute or the creator’s employer.

Image credit score: ©Getty Images/LawrenceLong

Isaac Presley, CFA

Isaac Presley, CFA, is Director of Investments for Cordant Wealth Partners, a wealth administration firm centered on serving present and former Intel staff. He leads the firm’s funding committee and directs the corporate’s funding technique and analysis. In addition, he heads the firm’s running a blog efforts on the Cordant Blog.


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