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Like the magician cutting his pretty assistant in half, things are not always what they appear to be. Just as our eyes can betray our sense of logic and what we know otherwise to be the truth, so it is with our minds.
We may believe things are true even if they’re not, for a variety of reasons. And when it comes to falsehoods, we sometimes hold them as truths, even when we should know better.
When it comes to making important decisions, we might like to think that our executives and managers (and ourselves) make decisions based on the best available facts, including input from company experts, market intelligence, and a well thought-out risk-reward scenario; but much of the time, we’d be wrong. The fact is that most decisions are not logical, they’re psychological!
In every organization the psychological components that influence people’s decisions can, and do, lead to less than desirable outcomes. Even some successful decisions might have had better outcomes, if they had been based more on logic and facts, rather than being influenced by psychological factors. In any case, it’s absolutely unacceptable in today’s highly competitive and hyper-connected world to simply make decisions faster: you have to make better decisions faster. And you have to do your best to distance those decisions from psychological influences.
Psychologists have been conducting experiments for years to determine how we make decisions and why we arrive at those decisions. There is now a wealth of irrefutable knowledge on the subject that provides proof that all of us are all influenced, at least some of the time, in our decision-making process by a myriad of psychological factors. What are these psychological influencers? They include, but are not limited to: our personal experiences; our biases; by whether we like the person bringing the information to us; by “anchors” and a plethora of other elements (too many to mention here).
So, whether we like it or not, all of us are influenced at least some of the time by a myriad of psychological factors that can lead us to making bad decisions-or no decision at all. Think back to a few of the major decisions you asked someone on your management team to make. Haven’t you ever wondered-maybe more than once, “What made Tom make that decision?” You said to yourself, “I trust his judgment, he’s a smart guy and I like Tom, so I’m sure it was the best decision possible.” But still, you wondered. As time went by, you learned that the decision that Tom made turned out to be a bad one. But there were plenty of “good” reasons as to why the decision ended up as a failure; none of them were Tom’s fault. Generally, it’s “never anyone’s fault” when a complex decision turns out to be wrong, or creates less than desirable results. But in fact, that’s not really the case at all.
Within the context of the psychological influencers discussed above, we find in the corporate world two significant elements that people rely on that almost always will lead to poor decision making, and ultimately a bad outcome: (1) Asking people that we trust for help-instead of going to the person(s) that has the expert knowledge, and (2) Political/career considerations, which often involve altering the facts to bring about the conclusions that we believe will further our careers or improve our relationships with our superiors. Clearly, these factors are not helpful to anyone needing to make complex decisions in your organization. But is there a way to help your organization improve its decision making process and make it more logical than psychological? Fortunately, there is a way to improve decision making-and future results in your organization.
Maverick’s unique engagement methodology called Behavioral Integration Management, along with our software tools that assist us in identifying internal social networks and human information hubs within your organization, through the analysis of internal emails (subject lines only), as well as other investigatory methods-including in-depth interviews that augment and clarify the automated analyses, will help you and your team identify how critical decisions are currently being made within your organization. Maverick can then provide you and your senior management team with tangible ways to improve the way decisions are made throughout your organization. The result will be better, faster decisions that create long-term value for your organization.
To learn more about DecisionEdge and how it can help your company, please contact Bill Stark here.