The answers make uncomfortable reading. Uncomfortable because I recognise them in my decision making, and I bet you will recognise them too. Just knowing this list, however, helps us make better decisions. When we recognise them, we can double-check ourselves.
- Intuition. Generally, we have a great belief in something we call gut feel or having a “nose” for something. But good decisions are rarely, if ever, made on intuition. Good decisions are based on evidence and data, in many different forms.
- Emotion. We get overly engaged with our decisions. Somehow if someone is challenging our decision we thinking they are also challenging us as a person, our judgement and our very worth. And isn’t it just true that the more emotionally involved we are, the more certain we are that we are making an objective decision? Emotion is the second sign of danger when it comes to good decision making.
- Attachment. Attachment is when we care more for people or things more than we care about whether a decision is right or wrong. We rationalise why we are right, knowing in our hearts that we are really attached to something that we may not want to even articulate.
- Self-interest. Making a decision based on what’s in it for us. More money, more power, more kudos as a leader. Bigger, better, more beautiful. More, more, more. There are too many examples of where greed and self-interest have led to disastrous decisions. Self-interest does nothing for clear headed decisions.
All four traits lead us into subjective decision making, rather than objective decision making.
Of course that’s not to say that buying the pretty, but dilapidated old cottage, isn’t the right decision for example. But our objectivity should at least enable us to realistically budget for renovations instead of potentially making an expensive mistake.