Decision Traps

This edition of Mentor Online is adapted from Decision Traps: The Ten Barriers to Brilliant Decision-Making and How to Overcome Them by J. Edward Russo & Paul J.H. Shoemaker.

Plunging In — Getting started before you have started to review the issue you are facing or to think through how you believe decisions like this one should be made.

Frame Blindness — Setting out to solve the wrong problem because you have the “auto-pilot” engaged.

Lack of Frame Control — Failing to consciously define the problem in more ways than one or being unduly influenced by the frames of others.

Overconfidence in Your Judgment — Failing to collect key factual information because you are too sure of your assumptions.

Shortsighted Shortcuts — Relying inappropriately on “rules of thumb” such as implicitly trusting the most readily available information or anchoring too much in inconvenient data.

Shooting from the Hip — Believing you can keep straight in your head all the information you’ve discovered, and therefore “winging it” rather than following a systematic procedure when making the final choice.

Group Failure — Assuming that if many smart people are involved, good choices will follow automatically, and therefore failing to manage the group decision-making process.

Fooling Yourself About Feedback — Failing to interpret the evidence from past outcomes for what it really says, either because you are protecting your ego or because you are tricked by hindsight.

Not Keeping Track — Assuming that experience will make its lessons available automatically, and therefore failing to keep systematic records to track the results of your decisions and failing to analyze these results in ways that reveal their key lessons.

Failure to Audit Your Decision Process — Failing to create an organizational approach to your own decision-making.

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Retired Lutheran (ELCA) clergyperson. Founder & owner of Brookover Leadership Development & Consulting, Inc. (1967)

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