In Part 1 we looked at some of the biases that introduce themselves when generating potential solutions to be decided on later. There are also a number of decision-making biases that rear their ugly heads when it’s time to evaluate the proposed options and decide. This post will focus on just four of these biases.
So, let’s assume we’ve addressed all of the scary biases in the first stage of the decision making process, we’ve got our potential solutions in front of us bias free (congratulations!), and now it’s time to make the decision.
Not so fast! Let’s work on getting an understanding of some of the decision-making biases that introduce themselves during the all important decision-making stage. For now, let’s dive into four big ones, and we’ll tackle some of the others in future posts.
Here’s a scary thought: when we are sitting down to make the best decision based on the possibilities presented to us, we are often choosing from possibilities that have already been subjected to biases. We may even introduce a different set of biases when it’s time to actually make a final decision. This tendency isn’t due to a lack of intelligence or skill, but rather to the fact that we’re human. The idiom, “to err is human”, is an idiom for a reason!
Whether we are foundation or grant-maker reviewing online submissions and applications, a startup incubator or accelerator reviewing online applications and interview notes to decide on our next cohort of entrepreneurs, or a business building a strategy in a boardroom, these biases promise to get in our way!
For now, we will focus on just four of many common biases that may be present while generating and collecting possibilities to be decided on later. We’ll discuss the biases that present themselves during the decision making stage in Part 2 of this series.
A rapidly changing decision making landscape
It is no secret that our world is rapidly becoming more complex, fast-paced, and globally connected. As a result of this change, teams are faced with the challenge of making mission critical decisions that involve a wealth of data, the evaluation of a number of viable alternatives, and the consideration of potential risks that may arise in the distant future. Add the fact that these types of decisions often require a group of people with diverse skill sets to work together, fostering what is known as “collective intelligence”, and the decision-making process becomes increasingly difficult.
This would all be fine if we weren’t so ill-equipped to deal with our modern world and the challenges it presents to our organizations in the context of complex decision making!