Do You Have a Decision Bias?
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
Aren’t you happy when people make decisions? There’s nothing worse than a group of people sitting around and wondering what should be done. I remember as a kid, my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins would come to our camp on Otisco Lake each summer. So often we would waste large amounts of the day wondering what we should do. This would just frost me. Our summers are short, and you can’t waste time with indecision.
That said, I believe there is a condition that many leaders suffer from—Decision Bias. Far too often I suffer from Decision Bias. As leaders, we think we should be making decisions and keeping our organization moving forward. Time is short. Time waits for no one. Time is the one limited resource that we can’t increase. When we get stuck in this mindset, we often create more delays because our team feels forced and coerced into going along with plans they don’t understand and often don’t agree with or believe in. If our Decision Bias is not addressed, we will lose the best and brightest on our team. Even worse than losing the best and the brightest is to discourage the team and have them stay.
I watched a senior executive get ousted from an organization because of Decision Bias. He was brought in to make a change and reinvent the organization. The very skills that got him the job were also his downfall. For a few years, he had support from his board while losing the support from the staff. Over time the board started seeking feedback from the staff and realized the leader had lost the team.
Leaders need to slow down and assess their team’s reactions. Is your team shocked or dismayed when you roll out a decision? Do they appear blindsided by information that you are sharing? As Marshall Goldsmith says so well, “What got you here, won’t get you there.” Do you know if you suffer from Decision Bias? Are you seeking anonymous feedback from your team? The only cure for Decision Bias is to listen to your team.
As the old proverb reads, “There is none so blind, as he who will not see.” Willful blindness, how tragic! Don’t be that person.
For more on this topic, listen in to this week’s episode of The Next Page.