Think Again: Why good leaders make bad decisions


Professor Syd Finkelstein has been quoted in BOSS magazine about decision making and his ‘early warning system’ tool. It also highlights his four key themes in his latest book Think Again: Why good leaders make bad decisions and how to keep it from happening to you.

His research suggests a handful of indicators of these high-alert situations. The key signs, says Finkelstein, are:

Misleading experience. When a leader has an experience that worked out in the past but the situation is now quite different. There’s an irony here: who’s going to say experience is not a good thing? But it might not be quite as good as we think. It’s the diversity of experience that leads to the best learning.

Misleading prejudgement. We all do it, in all walks of life and we stick to it regardless of the facts that come, and discount or ignore other evidence.

Self-interest. One of the key takeaways for senior executives is we are all biased but we think we are objective. All of us operate according to our self-interest and are not even aware of it because it is sub-conscious.

Inappropriate attachments. These are strong feelings for a group or place. This can play out when companies are in trouble and looking to close down a plant or office. If the CEO built the business they might be much more reluctant to make tough choices.

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