bias in decision making

My daughter just started the “in car” portion of her driver’s ed training. I mentioned some thoughts to her about making decisions and using her judgment in a car: When we use our judgment to make decisions, it’s quite possible our judgment will be wrong.

For example, maybe I decided I couldn’t make it through the yellow light, so I stopped. More than once, I’ve sat in my car with the engine at idle, staring up at a bright yellow light, wishing I had decided otherwise.

At other times, someone in the passenger seat might ask, “why didn’t you go just then? You had all kinds of room?”

In driving, the important thing is to err on the side of caution and conservatism.  It’s okay to be wrong if it means we slowed down too early. On the other hand, making a risky decision that results in a collision is not the outcome anyone wants.

This way of thinking amounts to introducing bias.  There are times, like learning to drive, when bias might be a good idea.  This notion extends to leaders at all levels, even to decisions of great consequence.

Life is a journey. And these are observations from ours.


You’ve just read observations, a column that illustrates in my personal life and leadership the technical concepts found in ATOMs.

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