3 Techniques For Removing Bias From The Big Decisions

Much has been written over the last year about the biases that get in the way of decision-making.3 practical ways to prevent bias affecting strategy decisions

Many of the articles or posts describe, and provide examples of, these biases. But they’re often short on how to avoid them.

So, when I saw one that provided 3 very practical ways to prevent bias affecting strategy decisions, it quickly got my attention.

I disagree with some of the points made – for example, I don’t discount the value of intuition or your gut.

In fact, we tell the business owners we work with never to ignore them. But we also say that, rather than base a critical decision solely on those alone, they must be supported by objective analysis and data.

I do, however, like the 3 techniques.

1.   Make decision rules before you’re faced with the decision. It’s much easier to be objective when the decision that has to be made is still an intellectual concept. For example, Intel devised a rule for allocating their limited production capacity. Its use by the production team meant that successful new generation products were automatically allocated more capacity than maturing products. This happened regardless of senior management’s bias toward the mature products because they helped build the company.

2.   Use the collective wisdom of the team. This is a variation of the adage “2 heads are better than 1” and using decision rules. It is most effectively used with decisions which will have a major negative impact on the company if they are wrong. For example, investing a large amount of money to manufacture or otherwise support a new product or market or making an acquisition. Using a process to draw input from the members of the team, from all areas of the company, with most direct, relevant experience lifts the burden from the shoulders solely of the owner or the management team.

3.   The revolving door. A variation of the “Man from Mars” approach, this technique asks the question “If we were replaced by new owners, or a new management team, what would they do?” Figure out the answer, and then figuratively go out through the revolving door, come back in, and do that.

It’s really hard to keep emotion and your personal preferences out of decisions. We all subconsciously allow them to creep in – we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. You can read the full article here.

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Jim Stewart is the founding Partner at ProfitPATH. He has been working with business owners for over 16 years to increase profits and improve the value of their companies. LinkedIn

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Tags: business owners, decision-making, execution, Jim Stewart, Leadership, management team, Planning, Process, ProfitPATH, strategy

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