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Pitfalls to Effective Decision Making

You want to make better decisions, right? Hey, some people don’t.  

But you do.

You’ve taken a look at The Fundamentals of Decision Making, and want to make sure to clear the path of all obstacles that might get in the way of making the best decisions possible. If you understand what these impediments are, then you can actively take steps to remove them. Let’s get started. 

Not Knowing the Point 

Might as well start with the start, right? Among those 35,000 decisions that we make in a day are some that you make and you don’t even really know why. If you don’t know the outcome you’re seeking, or where the decision fits into the big picture, you increase the risk of ineffective decision making. Understanding the context of a decision also helps you allot the right time and resources to it – don't spend too long on trivial matters.

Further reading: The 5 Pitfalls of Decision Making and How to Avoid Them

Making Decisions without Data 

There’s some decisions for which conclusive data isn’t available, and never will be. In an MSP, however, you have a ton of data at your fingertips so you should be able to have some quantitative basis for a lot of your decision-making. Whether you don’t trust the data, are lazy about gathering the data, or unsure how to interpret the data, it’s all too easy to default to things like consensus, mistaking opinions for facts, or not considering all reasonable alternatives. Even if you have a history of making solid decisions based on gut feelings, it’s not sustainable or scalable for your business. There’s a reason it’s called extinction by instinct.

Further reading: Decision Making in Management  

Cognitive Biases and Logical Fallacies 

These are tough pitfalls to root out, because it looks and feels as though you’re making sound logical decisions. But if you dig a little deeper – the adage of know thyself is apt here – you’ll often find that cognitive biases and logical fallacies are messing with your interpretation of the data.

Further reading: 7 Cognitive Biases That Are Holding You Back  

Analysis Paralysis 

On the road of life, there's a lot of flat squirrels that couldn't make up their minds. Another challenge in processing data occurs when there’s too much of it, or if the data is conflicting. So you want to learn more, gather more information, wait a little longer. You run the risk of missing the optimal timing for the decision you’re trying to make.

For tips on how to deal with analysis paralysis, further reading: How to Overcome the Analysis Paralysis of Decision Making

Dirty Data 

Even if you do everything right in your decision-making process, you can still be undermined by dirty data. The obfuscation that comes from out-of-date info, duplicate records, errors and other random data clutter just straight up gets in the way of you being your best. As it so happens, Gradient has a way of cleaning up dirty data in your PSA. You can watch a quick demo here:

 While all of these are ways your decision making can go awry, you can also think of them as things that, through their elimination, will help you improve your decision making.  

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