Thursday, August 6, 2009

Believing is seeing - improving the decision-making process

Although we probably all hope to make business decisions in a clear, logical manner, unfortunately our decision making process can easily be compromised without our even being aware that it's happening. Our decision-making processes whether it's about new equipment purchases or press-check approvals is often exploited by vendor sales and marketing people - to their advantage.
Here are some of the classic effects we may fall prey to. It can be a good idea, during any decision-making process, to take a step back and review these effects to be certain that you haven't fallen prey to one of them.
Halo Effect - Something is rated highly simply because there already exists a positive impression of its source. For example, hardware from a respected or existing supplier often rates higher than hardware from an unknown vendor even though an objective analysis might prove otherwise.
Reflection Effect - Employees provide input to the decision making process, for better or worse, based on their perception of management.
Belief Effect - Personal decision making is given over to an outside trusted source because the individual does not have the skills needed to make the decision. This can happen even if the trusted source may not have the skills to make the right decision themselves. We may reject something if we have a bias against the person, organization, or group to which the person belongs – however we are usually inclined to accept a statement by someone we like.
Demand Effect – We conform to the decision making expectations that we believe others have of someone in our position.
Mob Effect – The individual's perception of a situation, or decision to be made, is altered to conform to the opinions held by the group.
Selective Effect - The individual selectively searches for facts that support certain conclusions but disregards other facts that support different conclusions. We may actively screen-out information that we do not think is important. Later, we may distort our memories of chosen and rejected options to justify the chosen options.
Expediency Effect - The individual, or group, prematurely ends the search for information, often by accepting the first alternative that looks like it might work. This action is based on the idea that making a decision is better than no decision at all or of continued protracted arguments/discissions.
Optimism Effect - We tend to want to see things in a positive light and this can distort our perception and thinking. Often referred to as wishful thinking.
Recency Effect - We tend to place more attention on more recent information and either ignore or forget more distant information.
Repetition Effect - A willingness to believe the things that we have been told most often and by the greatest number of different of sources.

"We see people and things not as they are, but as we are."
- Anthony de Mello (1931 - 1987) Jesuit Priest

No comments:

Post a Comment