Decision Making: Beware the villains …

According to Chip & Dan Heath in Rotman Management article “The 4 Villains of Decision Making” …

“Research in Psychology over the last 40 years has identified a broad set of biases in our thinking that doom our decision making. If we aspire to make better choices, we must learn how these biases work and how to fight them.”


Confused man


According to the Heath Brothers – academics & popular authors – there are 4 decision making villains that have to be confronted

The 4 Villains of Decision Making

The first, is “narrow framing” ….  limiting the choice set to  only a few options – some of which may be sham strawmen – or  focusing on and up-or-down decision on a single alternative.

The second villain is the confirmation bias … searching for information and doing analyses that – either intentionally or sub-consciously – ignores or waters down information that doesn’t fit a favorite option.

The third villain is short-term emotion …  that cause anxiety (or even agony), that force constant revisiting of arguments, and that drag the decision making process on and on and on.

The fourth is overconfidence … assuming that all of the facts and analyses are right, that the decision has a critical mass of support, and that the organization is capable of executing the decision.

In other words, not even considering that a decision could turn out to be wrong.


In future posts, I’ll recap some of the tools and remedies for neutralizing the villains.

Stay tuned.


Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s