Volunteers

Heath: Corporate Decision-Making ‘Seriously Flawed’

Four-step WRAP process helps people, organizations make better decisions.

September 23, 2013
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

Decision-making processes in the business world are seriously flawed, according to bestselling author Chip Heath, who opened the joint conference of the CUNA Technology Council and the CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service Council Sunday in Hollywood, Calif.

Heath, co-author of “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard,” says we all live with flawed decision-making in our personal and professional lives due to biases and irrationalities.

As evidence of this, he cited these statistics:

  • In a survey of 2,000 CEOs, 60% said bad decisions were just as common as good decisions in their organizations;
  • Nearly 85% of mergers create no value for shareholders;
  • 40% of CEOs fail within their first 18 months on the job;
  • Seven publishers turned down the first book of the “Harry Potter” series; and
  • Medical diagnoses are wrong 40% of the time.

Heath outlined a four-step WRAP process to help people and organizations make better decisions:

1. Widen your options. “Many people let themselves be confronted with ‘whether-or-not’ decisions,” says Heath. “When people assume there are only two options, they’re engaging in ‘narrow framing.’

“Don’t assume there are only two options,” he continues. “Pretend those options have been taken off the table and look for other possible solutions.”

2. Reality-test your assumptions. Heath recommends testing your assumptions before making decisions.

“Job interviews are a classic example,” he says. “Instead of taking a job candidate out to lunch, give him or her a genuine problem to solve so you can see how well they’d solve problems on the job.”

3. Step back. Heath says decision-making is often influenced by short-term emotions.

“That's why you need to ‘sleep on it’ or imagine what your decision would look like in five years,” he says. “If you're wrestling with a problem, pretend the problem belongs to a friend. And then ask yourself how you’d advise your friend on this problem.”

4. Prepare to be wrong. Heath recommends setting “tripwires” for yourself—safeguards that prevent you from getting too far off course, such as limits on cost-overruns for key projects.

Post a comment to this story

heroes

What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive