[20181024] 如何做重要決定

How to Make a Big Decision

By Steven Johnson @NTYOpinion

除了最常見的 “優點 v.s. 缺點” 列表 外,有許多研究給我們指明了做更好決定的方法:

  1. 主動積極地尋找替代方案/選項
  2. 如果是團隊決策,盡量團隊的背景更加多元
  3. 試着做 “premortem”,預想各個選項可能會導致失敗的原因
  4. 列出自己看重的核心價值,分析各個選項是否能滿足這些價值

大多數的決策者都沒有主動尋找替代方案:

The most striking finding in Professor Nutt’s research was this: Only 15 percent of the decisions he studied involved a stage where the decision makers actively sought out a new option beyond the initial choices on the table. In a later study, he found that only 29 percent of organizational decision makers contemplated more than one alternative.

然而,觀察數據顯示,主動尋找替代方案的決策者,得到讓自己滿意決策的機率有明顯提升:

In one of his studies, Professor Nutt found that participants who considered only one alternative ultimately judged their decision a failure more than 50 percent of the time, while decisions that involved contemplating at least two alternatives were felt to be successes two-thirds of the time.

同質性強的團體作出決策的速度比較快,較爲多元的團體決策慢、對最後決定比較沒有信心、但通常作出的是較好的決定:

Homogeneous groups — whether they are united by ethnic background, gender or some other commonality like politics — tend to come to decisions too quickly.

While the more diverse groups were better at reaching the truth, they were also far less confident in the decisions they made.

“premortem” 是延伸自一個簡單的思想實驗:

…imagining three different future environments for each alternative: Concoct one story where things get better, one where they get worse, and one where they get weird

The psychologist Gary Klein has developed a variation on this technique. He calls it a “premortem.”

簡單來說 “premortem”  就是讓你想想這個決策失敗之後,你回頭檢討出錯的地方、解釋爲何出錯的過程:

In a premortem, the sequence is reversed: “Our exercise,” Dr. Klein explains, “is to ask planners to imagine that it is months into the future and that their plan has been carried out. And it has failed. That is all they know; they have to explain why they think it failed.”

最後, “value model” 幫助你審視各個選項是否和你的價值吻合,是  “優點 v.s. 缺點” 列表的進結版:

But if the decision is still a difficult one, the final phase can be completed with the help of something called a value model — a more nuanced and powerful version of the pro and cons list.

First, write down a list of the values that are most important to you.

With the values weighted, you then turn to the scenarios you’ve developed for each of the options on the table.

這些方法無法幫助你找到 “未知的未知”, 所以並不能保證你能作出最好的決定,但你的勝算應可以有所提升:

“One thing a person cannot do, no matter how rigorous his analysis or heroic his imagination,” the economist and Nobel laureate Thomas Schelling once observed, “is to draw up a list of things that would never occur to him.”

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