Will More Data Create Worse Results?

I was talking with my friend Sheldon B. about the roles of Decision Quality and Cognitive Bias in helping leaders and teams make better decisions. We’ve both run into teams that have pretty much made up their minds but still ask for more data or one more analysis. If you aren’t going to change your mind, the value of more data is Zero – Or worse. As we reflected, we realized that cognitive bias could create a negative value from that data – not just in terms of the cost and delays, but in other less obvious ways.

Investing time and money in more analysis increases the perception of sunk costs. By reinforcing a pre-conceived plan or conclusion, reinforcement bias will make it harder for people to recognize new data or experiences that run counter to “the plan”.

Analysis and planning are important, but the world is complex and exceptional teams keep everyone engaged with their eyes on the horizon and frequent, open communication to take in new information and adjust each team member’s actions accordingly. They treat each step as an experiment, seeking new data and making smart adjustments instead of a dogmatic doubling down on the plan in the face of “resistance”. They generate new insights and actions, leveraging the observations and wisdom of the team members to meet the world with open eyes and open minds rather than data that doesn’t update preconceived notions.

Effective leaders create and manage the conversations necessary for this to happen, including those needed to build this into the team’s culture. More data can be reassuring, but that reassurance is not a substitute for being aware and generative.

Check out my interview with Sheldon here https://lnkd.in/gw28wVWM

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