Tag Archives: Sydney Finkelstein

Detect and Mitigate Decision Biases

Sydney Finkelstein

Sydney Finkelstein

Sydney Finkelstein, Jo Whitehead and Andrew Campbell of Dartmouth’s Tuck Business School, posit that leaders make decisions largely through unconscious neural processes in their book and Harvard Business Review article, Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it from Happening to You

• Pattern recognition
• Emotional tagging.

Although these processes are usually effective “heuristics” that enable quick and often prudent decisions, pattern recognition and emotional tagging can be distorted by biases including:

• Self-interest
• Emotional attachments to a position
• Misleading memories derived from inaccurate generalizations from dissimilar previous situations

The authors articulate common-sense recommendations to detect and mitigate “red flags” to decisional bias, echoing conclusions from much-earlier research on “GroupThink” more than four decades ago:

• Enlist the perspective of an independent person to identify which decision makers are likely to be affected by self-interest, emotional attachments, or misleading memories

• Develop safeguards and oversight mechanisms in organizational governance processes

• Alert decision-makers to possible sources of bias

• Build in opportunities to analyze, “spar”, challenge, decisions

-*What approaches do you use to detect and neutralize your potential biases in decision-making?

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©Kathryn Welds