How Risk Aversion is Killing Your Business & What to Do About It

In Risk Aversion, we explained how human biology works against us when facing tough decisions. We are hard-wired to eliminate uncertainty meaning that we tend avoid tough decisions or choose the traditional path because following this path feels safe. Taking even a small risk scares us. The consequences of succumbing to our biology are an […]

Two Steps to Better Design Decisions

While the human brain is our greatest design resource, it also erects barriers in the form of cognitive bias, or brain quirks. Sadly, such brain quirks are legion and include the optimism, overconfidence, availability, and confirmation biases. The confirmation bias presents an especially difficult challenge because it causes us to seek evidence that supports our […]

When Bias Trumps Design

What do you see below? Anything missing? Photo by gmanviz License There are no brown M&Ms® in the jar. Don’t worry if you missed it; most people do. Unless you’re an M&Ms® fanatic, you probably don’t care about the color of this American candy icon. Indeed, the colors themselves don’t matter. What’s important is that […]

Anchored in Good Design

In a previous post, we outlined the anchoring and adjustment bias, the fact that an uninformative number can easily influence our judgment. In other words, we are surrounded by facts and figures meaning that we rarely make decisions in a vacuum. We must, therefore, remain cognizant of the possibility that our choices can be influenced […]

It’s the User Stupid: What Bill Clinton Teaches Us about User Experience

A previous post about the Study of Human Behavior opened with this powerful quote from a customer: “This is stupid!” Over the past 15 years, we’ve heard many variations on this explosive comment. Happily, most have not involved foul language. The terms people choose to express frustration matter far less than their exasperation. This is […]

How to Establish a More Transparent Decision-Making Process

Decision Making: A Flawed Approach “Our say is so far removed from our do!” lamented an executive earlier this spring. In other words, executives were making decisions that violated the company’s values. Equally problematic was the decision-making process itself. In a culture where consensus supposedly reigned supreme, company leaders followed a nearly authoritarian decision-making model. […]

Intuitive Decision Process

In Intuitive Decision Making we referred to Gary Klein’s definition of intuition: “The way we translate our experience into action. Our experience lets us recognize what is going on (making judgments) and how to react (making decisions).” The next step is to think carefully about when intuitive decision making works well, and when it poses […]

Intuitive Decision Making

Gut check,” “I just knew…,” “A woman’s intuition,” It’s no accident that these expressions are part of the daily vernacular. In life and in business, many of us believe firmly in the power of our intuition. Myth? Fact? Somewhere in between? Can we rely on intuition when making important business decisions? One reason the answer […]

Risk Aversion

A Risk-Averse Business Climate “We’re afraid to take a chance,” replied the treasurer at a large, U.S.-based manufacturing firm. He was responding to my question about the biggest challenges he faced at work. Executives complain about a lack of fresh ideas from the front lines while employees lament the absence of bold leadership. “Where is […]

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