Sunday, December 28, 2014

Better Decision Making

I started reading the book Decisive by Chip & Dan Heath. They have a couple other books I've read, including Switch and Made to Stick, so I thought I'd give this a try.

I'm only about a quarter through the book, but so far, I am enjoying it. It's easy to read and has some good examples to support the ideas. The book is about how to make better decisions. It starts off outlining what they say are the four "villains" to good decision making;

  1. Defining the decision to narrow, not considering enough options
  2. Confirmation bias, we filter out information that doesn't support our position
  3. Focus on short-term emotions and not longer term outcomes
  4. Overconfidence in our ability to predict the future
From here, the book digs deeper into each of these villains and develops strategies to deal with them, starting with the issue of narrow framing. For example, they talk about the "whether or not" type decision. One example was Quaker Oats buying Snapple in 1994. Quaker Oats did buy Snapple and it turned out to be a mistake. The acquisition failed. One study they cited stated that 52% of whether or not decisions that organizations make fail. 

The key is to widen the frame of the decision. Should be buy Snapple or invest the money into internal research or another acquisition instead. Have more to decide on than just "whether or not." 

I'll have more to share on the book as I get through it, but if you're looking for something to read, I'd recommend it so far.