The First Thing Great Decision Makers Do
Social scientist Cassie Kozyrkov writes that many decision-makers chase data "with too much zeal," never quite improving their decisions. Instead, she advises you follow the lead of most great leaders and behavioral economists and "commit to your default decision up front." In her view, many decision makers think they are being data-driven when they look at a number, form an opinion, and execute their decision. Unfortunately, she notes, such a decision will be "data-inspired" at best. The final decision — right or wrong — turns out to have been influenced by the unconscious biases of the decision-maker.

Indeed, one of the biggest problems with data-inspired decision-making is confirmation bias. The decision maker ends up perceiving facts in light of what he or she already believes. To avoid this, the proverbial goalposts must be determined in advance, and the association's leader must then resist the temptation to move them later. This is why the best behavioral economists are trained to set decision criteria in advance of information. It really is the best antidote to confirmation bias. Finally, one other human foible to avoid is the so-called "Ikea effect." Decision makers experience this effect whenever they overvalue something as a result of having put a lot of effort into it. "Simply put," Kozyrkov concludes, "when people invest time into a project, they're likely to fall in love with it, even if what they've built is a pile of poisonous rubbish."
Harvard Business Review (06/25/19) Kozyrkov, Cassie
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