Twelve Questions That Could Improve Your Team’s Decision Making

July 5, 2011

Biases can and do distort our reasoning – especially when making important decisions.  Things such as confirmation bias, anchoring, loss aversion, and etc.  These cognitive biases and others have the potential for distorting our judgment.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, “Before You Make That Big Decision . . .” the authors suggest a “decision quality control checklist” of 12 questions to use to help discover defects or biases in the decision-making process.

“Is there any reason to suspect motivated errors or errors driven by the self-interest of the recommending team?

Have the people making the recommendation fallen in love with it?

Were there dissenting opinions within the recommending team? (NOTE – regardless of its cause, an absence of dissent in a team addressing a complex problem should sound an alarm)

Could the diagnosis of the situation be overly influenced by salient analogies? (In other words, is it too heavily tied to a past success story?)

Have credible alternatives been considered?

If you had to make this decision again in a year, what information would you want, and can you get more of it now?

Do you know where the numbers came from? (Are the numbers fact or just estimates? Who put the first number on the table?)

Can you see a halo effect?

Are the people making the recommendation overly attached to past decisions?

Is the base case overly optimistic?

Is the worst case bad enough? (Check out the post on the “premortem” – click here)

Is the recommending team overly cautious?”

These questions can be a powerful tool in rooting out defects in thinking of a decision making team.

Blessings on your week!
BG