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<p>Did You Make the Right Decision?
August 15, 2016
There is a very real and important distinction between how people make important, strategic
decisions both in life and business. On the one hand, there are those who reach decisions
very quickly, and then there are those who reach decisions after significant pondering. At the
same time, we can also make a different but not unrelated distinction between those who are
extremely confident in their decisions (whether made fast or slowly) and those who are
uncertain about their decisions.
For the most part, if you ask 5 different experts to say which of these 4 potential decision-
making styles is most likely to yield the right solution, you will get five different
responses. Well, now there is actual research to help us figure out which styles works best.
A few months back I wrote an article about the Dunning-Kruger Effect — the documented
phenomenon in which the least knowledgeable people are the most confident about their own
knowledge. Well, this research gives us a variant on Dunning-Kruger – only one that applies
to people who are actually knowledgeable.
If we consider the four different styles of strategic decision-making –slow and pondering and
confident and uncertain –it’s easy to make some assumptions about who is most likely to get
the best answer. But our intuitions about this turn out to be incorrect. In our culture we tend
to see speed and confidence as indicators of leadership. Therefore, when someone comes to a
strategic decision quickly and are overtly confident in their proposed solution, they gain
followers and converts to their proposed solution. We see this in all walks of life.
Decisiveness and confidence is a convincing stance – but it is not necessarily a sign that the
right decision is looming, even though it is so compelling.
When researchers provided subjects with actual problems to solve, they found two things:
The decision makers who took time to collect data, to think and to compare possible