We all bring biases to the decisions we make which can cloud thinking and lead to unnecessary mistakes.
Common pitfalls include being overconfident, overemotional, and generally using information that suits our interests while downplaying information that doesn’t.
In “Decisive,” their book on how to make better decisions, Chip and Dan Heath have created a four-step process designed to counteract these biases. They call it the WRAP framework:
- Widen Your Options. Narrow framing leads us to overlook options. We need to uncover new options and, when possible, consider them simultaneously through multitracking. Look for local solutions, then regional and then national.
- Reality-Test Your Assumptions. In assessing our options, the confirmation bias leads us to collect skewed, self-serving information. To combat that bias, we can ask disconfirming questions that test seemingly obvious answers.
- Attain Distance Before Deciding. Short-term emotion tempts us to make choices that are bad in the long term. To avoid that, we need to attain distance and perspective. When decisions are agonizing, we need to clarify our core priorities—and go on the offensive for them.
- Prepare to be Wrong. We are overconfident, thinking we know how the future will unfold when we really don’t. We should prepare for bad outcomes (premortem) as well as good ones (preparade).
Being more thoughtful about decisions isn’t about second-guessing your instincts, it’s about enhancing them.
“Because,” as the Heaths put so well, “the right decision, at the right moment, can make all the difference.”
Have a great week.
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