MAKING DECISIONS IS THE MOST important job of any executive. It's also the toughest and the riskiest. Bad decisions can damage a business and a career, sometimes irreparably. So where do bad decisions come from?
In many cases, they can be traced back to the way the decisions were made - the alternatives were not clearly defined, the right information was not collected, the costs and benefits were not accurately weighed. But sometimes the fault lies not in the decision making process but rather in the mind of the decision maker. The way the human brain works can sabotage our decisions.
Researchers have been studying the way our minds function in making decisions for half a century. This research, in the laboratory and in the field, has revealed that we use unconscious routines to cope with the complexities inherent in most decisions. These routines, knows as heuristics, serves us well in most situations. In judging distance, for example, our minds frequently rely on a heuristic that equates clarity with proximity. The clearer an