The Best Way to Make Decisions
When it comes to making the best decision for your business, it turns out that the old adage is true.
Two heads are better than one.
A study by researchers at University College London and Aarhus University in Denmark published in the peer-reviewed journal Science focused on solving this commonly-asked question once and for all.
Do we make our best decisions all alone, sitting in isolation with our gathered facts and calling on our instinct, life experience and knowledge base? Or do we make better decisions when we consult with at least one other person, regardless of whether or not we agree with them?
In the study, two people worked together or alone in isolation to make decisions about exercises involving visual images. It was essentially a scientific version of the children’s game “Where’s Waldo?”
The study participants had to pick the image that contained a target.
Initially, each participate answered the puzzle alone. Then, if they gave different answers, they had to discuss together which of them had the right answer and ultimately come to a unanimous decision.
To test the essential question of whether two heads are better than one, the collective decisions were then weighed against the performance of when each person worked alone.
First results set the trend
The initial results quickly confirmed that two heads are better than one.
When the two participants worked together and discussed the answer, they reached a level of accuracy and comprehension that none of the players alone achieved. In other words, one player balanced the other and they were able to combine weak neuronal activities in their two separate brains to bring out a maximized performance.
But the results weren’t just cut and dried either.
The better the two participants communicated with each other, the better decision they made. And the more confident they were about their decision, the better it was, particularly when they openly shared their confidence level.
If one of the players was really weak and not confident about the decision but wasn’t self-aware enough to notice this, the overall team decision was also weakened.
What this means for your work
In other words, two heads are better than one, but only if the two communicate honestly and authentically, and each player is self-aware enough to know their strengths and weaknesses.
If one of the two people has incorrect information or is less capable than the other, the joint decision cannot be trusted to the same extent as if the two are equal partners intellectually.
So does this mean that you should consult in the process of making your decisions? Does this mean that you can’t just trust you “gut instinct” and go it alone?
The real question to me is why would you? In an age where we can so easily reach out to people in person or electronically, why would we close the door on getting a second opinion?
I’m not against gut instincts and like most entrepreneurs, I trust mine. But that is not all that I trust.
I believe as Peter Senge expressed it in his book The Fifth Discipline that people cannot afford to choose between reason and intuition, or head and heart, “any more than they would choose to walk on one leg or see with one eye” when they have the option of two.
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Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion. 24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
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