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1 - Making Decisions

Carter Racing example - race or don't race?

Why Things Go Wrong

  • Even genius fails when it hinges on bad data
  • Common pitfalls / biases
    • Confirmation bias
      • Sampling on the dependent variable
      • Seeking info that supports yours beliefs
    • Default bias
      • "We've already committed to this"
    • Misconception of chance
    • Overconfidence
      • Hubris based on previous success
    • Framing
      • Losses loom larger in our minds (e.g. NASA could lose contracts)
      • We become more risk seeking when we're faced with the chance of loss

Making Sound Decisions

Questions to ask

  1. Are there other sources of information I can consider?
  2. How can I structure the decision making process to debias
  3. What do I know about past opportunities that I can use


  • (Ask a lot of questions)
  • Specify the problem
  • Identify all the factors
  • Weigh the factors
  • Identify all alternatives
  • Rate alternatives based on factors
  • Choose optimal alternative

2 - Judging Others

Fundamental Attribution Error

  • We often blame the individual rather than the context
  • We are hardwired to not give people the benefit of the doubt
  • "Quiz Bowl study" - game show host is perceived to be smarter
  • Performance appraisals exaggerate FAE (is ____ good or is he/she lucky?)


  • Similar-to-me bias
    • Example: in an audition for a symphony, 50% more women were chosen when the curtain was dropped so the reviewers couldn't see gender of the musician
    • Implicit vs. explicit bias
    • How to avoid?
  • Primacy bias
  • Last one bias
  • Memory bias
  • Sequencing bias

Biased Evaluations

  • First impressions are very important (you can't overinvest)
  • The two most important weeks are the first two
    • Anchoring and insufficient adjustment (we size people up right away)
    • Self-fulfilling prophecy (we trust people based on judgements, which becomes how they'll act)
  • Example: in the classroom, the ones deemed the best did better


  • Use work sample tests
    • Validation becomes a moving target when ppl know their job is on the line
  • Questions to ask yourself when conducting interviews:
    • (1) What are you testing? What are you looking for?
    • (2) Test the test (few companies do this)
    • (3) [3rd component wasn't written down]
  • Selection is a wooing process
    • Testing cognitive ability could rub folks the wrong way
  • Use structured interviews (not unstructured)
    • Meet in advance to identify the KSA's (Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes), and generate questions
    • Interrater reliability is increased by structuring protocol (n=5 vs. n=1)
  • Avoid sequencing bias
    • People focus on the most recent information
  • Use interviews to evaluate whether you like somoene
    • Watch out for similarity and homogeneity biases
  • NO group interviews

3 - Influencing Others (Persuasion)

12 Angry Men

Tactics employed by the protagonist:

  • Goes one step at a time, and grabs the low hanging fruit
  • Places himself as an equal
  • Plants seeds of doubt
  • Takes the magnitude of the event and makes it smaller (private vote, not final decision, just who wants a further discussion)

Commitment / Consistency

  • "Foot in the door" technique
  • "Four walls" technique
    • Ask questions that incrementally build compliance
    • Box target into a tight space, forcing compliance
    • Savvy persuaders don't try to directly change attitudes, they change behaviors which change attitudes

Other tactics

  • Emotional contrast - powerful persuasion tactic
  • Remaining silent
    • Technique designed to induce concession
  • "Push vs. pull"
    • Push: persuading, proposing, reasoning, asserting
    • Pull: attracting, finding common ground, bridging involves listening
    • Important to have the ability to shape shift
    • Pull as a minority member, push once you're in the majority


  • Identify the low hanging fruit
  • Attack the issue, not the majority
  • Articulate goals
    • Ensure interests are aligned
  • Establishing (and reminding others of) commitments is a powerful persuasion tool

4 - Social Networks

Techniques & skills applied by Heidi Roizen:

  • Mutual benevolence
    • Strive for win-win's; it'll increase efficiency
    • On paper it's easy to say "if it's me, I'll protect my network"
    • Tension can arise when someone deviates from this principle
  • Consistency
    • Heidi's behavior is consistent across interactions
    • Anxiety is a great predictor of relationship success
      • Not good if people are wondering how someone will act
  • "No because..."
    • It's important to be able to say no

How to develop networks

  • Seek out "regular" opportunities to network (e.g. recruiting events, committees)
  • Look for opportunities to help others

Golden tension between authenticity and instrumentality

  • Ask for help!
    • Research: leaders who ask for help are perceived more favorably
    • Open door policies are lame, the onus is on them for help
    • You're not as great as you think - don't forget

5 - Motivating Others

6 - Negotiation

7 - Mediation

8 - Relationships

9 - Communicating Effectively