Root Out Bias from Your Decision-Making Process


We’ve all experienced the disappointment of an important decision not going our way. The feeling is far worse when you feel that the decision was somehow “rigged” against you — that you never had a chance, that your input wasn’t given its fair due, or that only some of the data was considered. You can accept a fair decision that goes the other way, but a rigged decision feels much worse. And the ill will festers.

Poor decision making happens in our business, civic, and personal lives. But often we are perpetrators, participating in or making rigged decisions, even if we may not realize it.

Rigged decisions are all too frequent, and while they come in many forms, the most virulent feature the following steps:

  1. Make the decision based on some or all of the following: ego, ideology, experience, fear, or consultation with like-minded advisers.
  2. Find data that justifies your decision.
  3. Announce and execute the decision, and defend it to the minimum degree necessary.
  4. Take credit if the decision proves beneficial, and assign blame if not.


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