Sunday, June 19, 2005

Decisions update 2

I'm still thinking about what I'm learning about decision making, given my training in rational decision making from Kepner-Tregoe and my recent reading of some of Gary Klein's books on intuitive decision making.

I recently opened a direct mail ad from a reputable business publication, inviting me to subscribe at a special, limited time rate. I first unconsciously did a quick mental simulation, along the lines of what I understand the recognition-primed decision model to be. For a few seconds, I was thinking, "Yes, I can have the contents of that magazine at my fingertips for this relatively low rate, and that will give me even more, up-to-date topics to discuss with prospects and clients, leading directly to more and better business." (You see the mind of the independent consultant!) It was a quick mental simulation, directly suggested by the writer of the ad, and it was almost effective.

Then I stopped and almost unconsciously went back to the rational approach. The very attractive deal seemed significantly less attractive. While I didn't track the elapsed time, the whole thought process only seemed to take a few moments.

One lesson (re-)learned: if someone else suggests the model for the recognition-primed decision process and I have any reason at all to suspect they may want the decision to go that way, even if I think they're honorable people, it may well be time to switch to a more rational approach to find at least one alternative model and try at least one alternative simulation. That heuristic applies, in my mind, for business, social, and political issues. I'll even suggest it applies if I might be trying to sell you something (grin).

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