Avoid These Decision Traps


Making a decision, as a leader, is a critical part of the job. The bigger the decision, the more on the line, the more likely you are to procrastinate or remain stuck. I suggest you avoid these traps.

1. FIFO Bias – The first person that provides information is given a disproportionate amount of weight as you sort through your options. Often the first opinion has extraordinary bias, subject interest, or excessive topical interest. Be careful not to over rate the first opinion in by making it the first solution out. Always pursue uncommon or alternative lines of thought, even if the first one seems correct.

2. State of Affairs Bias – It’s easy to favor alternatives to problems that fit our status quo. Staying in our comfort zone is natural, especially when profitable, just ask General Motors. Instead, ask yourself if staying in that comfort zone serves your objectives and gives you the results  you expect. Downplay the urge to stay in your current state. However, change for change sake does not make a policy either. So weigh the strategy versus the decision.

3. Sherlock Holmes Bias – When you find new information validates your current point of view, I challenge you to ask a respected colleague (preferably from the outside) to argue your perspective. Making decisions based upon the views of yes men is very dangerous and the sign of leadership weakness.

4. “Hear Yee, Hear Yee” Bias – Some executives with this bias form committees or seek employee answers via the concept of empowerment. Then they shelve the problem until either a consensus is reached or they feel good about the collaborative choices. Be the judge and make a decision with conviction and authority. I challenge you to research the modern business definition to the word collaboration, especially if you are over 40.

Decisions are without question difficult, especially in this economy. But more than ever before, leadership rallies the troops, and guidance with empowerment gets results. Remember these pointers at decision time.

Thomas von Ahn | Chief Elephant Slayer | Viral Solutions LLC

thomas von ahn

Watch out elephants! This slayer of business challenges comes with 30 years of record breaking sales, marketing, operations, training and leadership experience . He has worked face-to-face with 100’s of small business owners as well as large firms. His love of creating, communicating, developing and executing results for clients shines with each project, publication and training event. His entrepreneurial spirit, passion, industry experience, education, problem-solving prowess, charismatic personality and been-there-done that attitude leads his client focused approach.



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Filed Under: Analytics

About Thomas von Ahn

With more than 30 years of experience in B2B sales across various industries, Thomas has unique insight into both the offline and online sales sphere. It was during his time in the trenches that Thomas noticed a recurring theme: Though business owners are knowledgeable about their craft or trade, they often struggle to market and sell to their prospects. This realization is what prompted Thomas and his now business partner, Christine, to bring Viral Solutions to life. Since starting the company, Thomas has been able to assist countless business owners in developing a solid marketing plan based upon sound marketing strategy, then assigning the marketing tactics to a team of talented employees, and, finally, watching those actions unfold—his true passion.

Though Viral Solutions is on Thomas’ mind 24/7, he does occasionally take a break to cheer on the Green Bay Packers and enjoy his adopted home of Wisconsin. Much of his family also works at Viral Solutions, and this closeness with family and employees is the cornerstone of the Viral Solutions culture.