Your best decision

What was the best decision you made in 2021?

Think a moment about it.

I bet you chose a decision that led to a great outcome. Didn’t you?

Well, so did I when I was being asked that question by Annie Duke while reading her book “Thinking in Bets”. In fact, everyone does it. It’s due to what Annie Duke calls resulting, evaluating a decision from its outcome.

After all, when the outcome was great it must have been a great decision, right?

But that ignores luck. (And bad luck.)

Because what if the great outcome was due much more to luck than the quality of your decision? Take e.g. hiring. Hiring your best employee has as much to do with her applying as it has to do with you choosing her over someone else. That she applied in the first place had nothing to do with how you decided. But it influenced the outcome heavily.

It’s just as likely that another decision of yours didn’t turn out so well because of bad luck. She actually was the best candidate. But nobody, including you and her, could have predicted that she would be diagnosed with cancer 2 weeks after.

Once you see this you can’t unsee it anymore: The quality of a decision is not the same thing as the quality of its outcome.

Here are a couple of thoughts that I’d like to end the year with:

  • Once again: Looking back at 2021, what was the best decision you made? Why?
  • Can you think of a situation where you feel like you made a good decision even though the outcome wasn’t that good?
  • How about the opposite?
  • What can you learn from that for your decision making in 2022?

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz

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