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Decision Traps & Pitfalls

Read the "decision traps" and fixes listed below and share your personal experiences in dealing with or overcoming them. (500 WORDS)

Traps Fixes

1. Framing

Plunging In--Beginning to gather information and reach conclusions without first taking a few minutes to think about the crux of the issue you're facing or to think through how you believe decisions like this one should be made.

Step back. Make the "metadecision" on how you will make the four key main elements

Frame Blindness--Setting out to solve the wrong problem because you have created a mental framework for your decision, with little thought, that causes you to overlook the best options or lose sight of important objectives.

Understand Frames and their power.
Frame each problem, including the problem's boundaries, reference points for defining success and failure, and yardsticks/metrics.

Select an effective metaphor to illustrate the situation.

Lack of Frame Control--Failing to consciously define the problem in more ways than one or being unduly influenced by the frames of others.

Know your own frames.
Know the frames of others..
Remain open-minded about the frame
Know when to reframe by understanding your current frame and its sources, generating alternative frames, and selecting the most appropriate.

2. Gathering Intelligence

Overconfidence in Your Judgment--Failing to collect key factual information because you are too sure of your assumptions and opinions.

Size up what you know and don't know.
Dig deeper for additional data. Avoid recency bias, relying on a single, vivid experience.

Shortsighted Shortcuts--Relying inappropriately on "rules of thumb" such as implicitly trusting the most readily available information or anchoring too much on convenient facts.

Avoid overconfidence in strategic weapons such as rules of thumb. Be cautious when listening to "experts."
Be careful not to get too attached to evidence that confirms, rather than challenge your current beliefs.

Overconfidence in Your Judgment--Failing to collect key factual information because you are too sure of your assumptions and opinions.

Know what you don't know. Can you really even know what you don't know?
Start by asking: a) how much do you really know? B) is your knowledge base truly representative? C) are your estimates and judgments sound, or have you relied excessively on an easily available anchor?

3. Coming to Conclusions

Shooting From the Hip--Believing you can keep straight in you head all the information you've discovered, and therefore "winging it" rather than following a systematic procedure when making the final choice.

Find simple alternatives to intuition, such as occupation-specific rules of thumb, objective and subjective linear models,

Group failure--Assuming that with many smart people involved, good choices will follow automatically, and therefore failing to manage the group decision-making process.

Leaders should encourage disagreement and rarely state their own opinions in the early stages of the group's deliberations. Leaders must decide where in the four elements of a decision the group can make its greatest contributions.

4. Learning (or Failing to Learn) from Feedback

Fooling Yourself about Feedback--failing to interpret the evidence from past outcomes for what it really says, either because you are protecting your ego or because you are tricked by hindsight effects.
Avoid self-serving explanations for past failures. Don't claim credit for successes that have occurred by change. Avoid rationalization when you fail. Minimize the effect of the hindsight bias.

Not Keeping Track--Assuming that experience will make its lessons available automatically, and therefore failing to keep systematic records to track the results of your decision and failing to analyze these results in ways that reveal their key lessons.

Failure to Audit Your Decision Process--failing to create an organized approach to understanding your own decision-making, so you remain constantly exposed to all the other nine decision traps.
Reevaluate your use of time. Audit your decisions.


Solution Preview

Hope this helps-
Unfortunately I have fallen into many different decision traps in the past. I have a problem with plunging into tasks without first considering the whole situation. At work, I am sometimes over-eager to begin a new project and will get very excited about starting it. Unfortunately, without taking the time to think through the entire task I can sometimes wind up doing more work or being less efficient. This is frustrating, so having experienced this several times I know take the time to step back and consider the main elements of the task to do a better job. Partly in result of plunging into tasks without looking ahead I have been guilty of frame blindness. I think I am in charge of solving one task but in reality, I am making judgments and acting abased on what I have done in the past, ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses common decision traps and pitfalls. It gives personal examples and ways to overcome situations.