Saturday, February 18, 2017

Doing the Wrong Thing

Nothing is funnier than confidently 
doing the wrong thing. 

— Adam McKay

Why do so many business leaders get it so very wrong, so very often?

For four reasons, says Dartmouth professor Sydney Finklestein:

  • Experience (when the experience doesn't matched the situation)
  • Self-interest (often unconscious)
  • Pre-judgments (hasty decisions that stick)
  • Attachments (undue influences)

Among my clients, I witness operator-induced train wrecks all the time. 

The five red flags are:

  • Obsession with sacred-cow marketing tactics
  • Fixation on "bright and shiny objects"
  • Readiness to heed the advice of charismatic nincompoops 
  • Hyper-focus on waste, instead of growth
  • Bias for copying competitors and using low-price as strategy

It's easy for an outsider (like me) to spot when experience, self-interest, pre-judgements or attachments are driving decisions; far less so less for an insider.

As people in recovery like to say, "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."

Denial enables business decisions to feel right, even when they're wrong.

That's because, as Professor Finklestein says, "Decision making is not a rational, step-by-step process. It’s much more emotionally driven."

HAT TIP to Steve Dennis for inspiring this post.

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