The decision research of the last two decades has shown that people in numerous fields tend to make the same kinds of decision-making mistakes over and over, what Russo and Schoemaker have termed as “decision traps” in their book, "Decision Traps: The Ten Barriers to Brilliant Decision Making and How to Overcome Them."
The summary of the ten most dangerous decision traps are excerpted from their text:
- Plunging In – jumping to the conclusion without first taking a few minutes to think about the crux of the issue you are facing.
- Frame Blindness – setting out to solve the wrong problem because you have created a mental framework for your decision, with little thought, that causes you to overlook the best options or lose sight of important objectives.
- 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 and opinions.
- Shortsighted Shortcuts – relying inappropriately on “rules of thumb” such as implicitly trusting the most readily available information or anchoring too much on convenient facts.
- Shooting from the Hips – 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 with many smart people involved, good choices will follow automatically, and therefore failing to manage the group decision-making process.
- Fooling Yourself about Feedback – failing to interpret about 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 – 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 organized approach to understanding your own decision-making, so remain constantly exposed to all the above mistakes.
They not only listed the traps to avoid but also teach you the process of decision-making. If you internalize a good decision-making process, you can rise above stress and confusion.