Posts Tagged ‘Social Sciences’

Decision-making incorporating behavioral economics

April 15, 2013

Vienna Debate Workshop-Finale

The McKinsey quarterly delivers the goods once again. Check out Allen Webb’s article based on his interview with Chip Heath and Olivier Sibony. Read the article and sign up for the newsletter. There is the occasional business jargony fluff piece, but there are also enough gems to make it worth tolerating the daily emails.

About the only thing that we disagree on is the need for more debate to make better decisions. In theory, I guess debating would help. However, one of the dynamics that they miss is that debate generally entails people with their mind already made up, squaring off with each other in an effort to make themselves look smarter than their counterpart. No one really ‘wins’ a corporate debate…the team with more power – whether formal or informal – gets their way. Debating also represents a gamble on the part of the more junior person. No matter what they say, there are many people who feel, at a visceral level, that debate equates to disloyalty. If you are the junior guy or gal, there is nothing in it for you to risk that the more senior personnel in the room are not That Guy. If you really want a better decision, aggregate independently-formed viewpoints.

Having picked apart the article, however, the point above is the only one with which I can find fault. It was especially helpful for the pointers on approaching people about improving their decision-making…or negotiation skills. I.e. no matter how obvious it is to those of us in the know, one cannot directly tell people they are biased and expect to sell them something. (getting nervous and starting to tremble) .

These guys actually won me over with their clear disdain for bureaucracy and slowness…even pointing out that the word ‘process’ conjures up painful connotations. They continued their courtship with examples of the confirmation bias…one that is almost impossible to miss once you understand it. Finally they sealed the deal with their emphasis on experimentation – i.e. getting back to reality.

If they would have spoken about prediction markets, they would have had an expedited selection to the TPS Report’s Hall of Fame. You know, if that existed.


Levels of intelligence – Top 5 Style

July 10, 2011

IQ and other measures of intelligence are having a hard time justifying themselves these days – and with good reason. There are many different types of intelligence, so the chances of developing a good test are minimal. However, who needs IQ tests when you have the TPS Report! Here are the five levels of intelligence, as seen through the eyes of the editor in chief of TPS planet (editor in chief? Sounds a bit too official, but when you are a one-man band, you can have any title you like!).

5. Average or below average intelligence – whether one is born into this, or lacks the development necessary, I’m not sure. No one thinks they are here.

4. The sharpshooter – can point out minor flaws in someone else’s work, grammar, spelling, or thought process. Can be a valuable member of the team, but knock yourself back to 5 if you take yourself too seriously when performing this role.

3. The glue – Is creative once a pattern or template has been established. Understands the value of consensus and working together as a team, and seeks to resolve disputes. Considers their feedback carefully and looks to build up more than tear down. Asks a lot of questions. Depending on the situation, this person may be more valuable than number 2.

2. The egotist – intelligent to the point where some people will follow and be impressed by this individual. Able to create works from nothing, and good at selling their ideas to others. However,  the key (and dangerous) flaw is the lack of recognition of the limits of one’s own knowledge. Does not recognize that others have better ideas at times, and will rarely pause to consider (or if they do will normally conclude that their current way is correct) whether one’s own conception of the world does not fit with reality.

1. The pinnacle – recognizes number 2 when he/she sees it, and is not drawn in. Understands that no one person or book holds the one “right” way to do things. Sees the world as one big system with lots of moving parts and varying causes, and therefore resists the temptation to blame individuals very often. Actively seeks out the other side of the story and/or dissenting opinions. Is creative, and appreciates the creativity found in others. Provides opportunities for others to develop beyond current capabilities through an atmosphere of trust and a conspicuous lack of second-guessing. Knows that lecturing does not teach, and asks questions more often than provides advice/explanations. Most importantly, this rare person sees himself/herself as a small part of a whole, and therefore gives credit easily and is parsimonious with blame.

Got you with parsimonious,  didn’t I?! Stingy just didn’t sound very good, and the Google box was just too tempting. Post your comments or thoughts below. Do these describe people you know? What did I leave out?

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