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How to Decide in a Time of Confusion

BNet.com’s article quotes Rita McGrath extensively in its discussion of uncertain business conditions.

Don’t Think You Know What to Think: When studying data or trends, watch out for confirmation bias. Simply put, managers are often drawn to theories or data that confirm what they already think. “Managers delight in new data that confirms their preconceptions,” says Rita Gunther McGrath, associate professor of management at Columbia Business School. To avoid that trap, ask questions like, Could my answer be wrong? Could another answer be right? If so, why?

Review responses to likely and unlikely scenarios with your team. Don’t be too rigid about your approach to meeting new challenges. Sticking to only one plan or solution path can lead to “dangerous escalation of commitment to a failing operation,” McGrath says. If what you’re doing isn’t working, make changes quickly.

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