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I only want to make one point about coming to conclusions and it's this;
there are multiple approaches,
they are really quite different.
Think of them as a pyramid where so many decisions are made intuitively and quickly.
There's an entire talk on intuition by Robin Hogarth that I recommend.
At a higher level,
you get heuristics or shortcuts and at the highest levels,
you get numerical analysis,
the lots of numbers and analytical approaches.
As you move up the pyramid with these qualitatively different ways,
approaches to making decisions,
you tend to get more accuracy,
you tend to take more time and effort,
and it tends to be more transparent, what you're doing.
One of the attractions of intuition is that it's just not questioned,
it's not open, there is no process that anyone can criticize.
Let me try and convey the challenge of
different levels of the pyramid with a story from a case.
The case is written in terms of a newspaper called America Today.
It was new, it had been launched, it was losing money.
The CEO says, "I just need more time.
I can make this work. I've done it before."
The CFO says, "The paper has lost money,
it's going to continue to lose money,
and it's time to pull the plug."
Both have some capacity to persuade.
I ask you, "How is each one coming to conclusions?"
The CEO is using intuition.
There's very little logic,
it's mostly, "Trust me.
I've done it before, I'll do it again,
I know how this works, let me do it."
The CFO who's working at the highest levels of the pyramid,
numbers analysis, facts, computations,
projections and these two needless to say have found
no common ground for resolving
the decision whether the paper should continue or be closed.
If you were a director, what do you do?
I do not have a good answer to this.
The best I can do is to say you have to choose one or the other individuals' approach.
Either believe the CEO or you go with the CFO,
they are at different levels of the pyramid,
I don't know how you reconcile the arguments they're making.
You might balance on the one hand and on the other hand,
but they will not be reconciled.
This is a real story by the way and the answer is that
the directors went with the CEO and the paper was a huge success,
but that doesn't change the decision problem.
This problem is common by the way in
many group decisions where different individuals bring
different frames and also different levels of the pyramid at how they like to operate.
Some people are just very numerical and analytical,
others tend to be very intuitive and that's a real challenge in group decision making,
a topic of which we also have a talk in these series by John Carroll of MIT.