8 Factors That Lead to Poor Decision Making


My Question for you: Is that place between wondering what to do and making the decision a safe place? It could be for many people. Making a decision is easy, but I say deciding to decide is where it gets complicated. We’ve all been there feeling frozen with indecision, wondering why and trying to figure out how to get unstuck, seeking the balance between risk and reward.

I had this fabulous professor during studies for my Executive MBA at St. Thomas. His name is Tom Ressler and he helped me think, about the way I think. The class was called “Executive Decision Making.” But it was so much more. We discussed the idea that we are all unique beings and that both our values and our thinking are random variables that breed infinite possibilities. We also had dialogue regarding how learning, is about changing. It seems to me that creates a ton of potential events in our universe.

Rational Choice in an uncertain world

As part of our course, we read the book: “Rational Choice in an Uncertain World: The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making,” by Robin Dawes. His first co-authored book was called “Mathematical Psychology”, and then he wrote his first book, “Fundamentals of Attitude Measurement (Foundations of Social Psychology).

Robin Dawes became the founder of the Behavioral Decision Research Field. Dawes argues that our minds drive us toward flawed and illogical assumptions because we fall into auto pilot or “automatic thinking.” He  and came up with the following conclusions:

8 factors leading to poor decision-making (based on our experiences)

1. Generalizing based on a few select experiences
2. Assuming patterns of history will always repeat
3. Vision-ing our future can bias our experiences and then can become self-fulfilling prophecies
4. Reflecting on our past experiences produces flawed memories, we can’t replay choices we never followed
5. Some of what we go through involves randomness and luck
6. We can’t re-experience what we have already been through
7. Association/Correlation Does Not Prove Causation. In other words, just because two things are related doesn’t mean one caused the other.
8. Research demonstrates our recall is biased. Our Life Events Take on “NEW” Meaning Over Time

Dawes suggests that to improve rational thinking, we should strive for systematic external representation of the judgment or decision that we face. I am still sorting out what it all means and thinking through different ways to do that. To think about things in ways that are distributional, Visual, Symbolical and Technological.  

I have been waiting to find the right time to publish this post. Then this morning I began thinking about our decision process and wondering if there was more. In his book; “The New Earth,” author Eckart Tolle defines Ego as; “an illusory sense of self”[1] based on one’s memories and thoughts. He goes on to indicate that our own insecurities change how we interact with other people and when that occurs we are not coming from a place of authentic being.    Ironically reading it made me realize there should be a #9 onto the list of factors that lead to poor decision making above. Ego.

That was enlightening for me. It’s all a process.  Thanks for visiting my blog, if you found this post valuable, please share it with others and add your own comments below, I would love to hear from you. 

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About KakieF
To learn more about Kakie Fitzsimmons, please select "A NOTE FROM KAKIE" tab at the top left of this page. Thanks for visiting my blog!

One Response to 8 Factors That Lead to Poor Decision Making

  1. Pingback: Quantum Creativity and the Power of Intention « Kakie's Corner

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