I was lucky to have watched a brilliant fora.tv presentation by Jonah Lehrer titled “How We Decide“. I haven’t read the book but based on the presentation it is mostly about collecting and presenting contemporary research in the field of understanding the processes at the heart of decision-making. One of the key points that I took from this presentation is the degree to which knowing what we don’t know can affect the way we behave. In the context of decision-making, knowing what makes us so inefficient decision makers can impact the way we make decisions and hence can result in a better application of our own decision-making process.
The predicament associated with a complete lack of awareness to those areas of knowledge where we consistently lacking is a troubling one:
We ought to know that multi-tasking is counter productive but this does not stop us from over allocating our project resources, such that multi-tasking is the only way left for them, to the obvious detriment of the project.
We ought to know that we are not good at estimating and projecting unpredictability but this does not stop us from projecting optimism in our project estimates.
We ought to know that perfection and absolutism are concepts inherently foreign to human endeavors but this does not stop us from moaning about the lack of perfection in projects’ execution.
We ought to know that only effective communication can be beneficial for increased or sustained productivity but yet we seem to encourage the proliferation of social media whose very existence is firmly grounded in spiraling levels of noise.
Being attentive and considerate to our human limitations requires humility, rationality and inquisitive mind. Realizing that our intuition, built-it evolutionary compass, is not properly fine-tuned to dealing with some of the more contemporary management and decision-making questions; applying rational thinking to this sort of issues; and finally inquiring and understanding what our innate biases are will surely result in better and more sustainable outcomes.
Think about it!