First, let me say that a decision is considered a bad decision mostly only after the outcome or consequence shows up. Another way that a decision is considered bad after it has been made is when new information is presented. Generally, a decision is not bad until it is proven bad in one of these two ways.
Decision-making generally follows a path that builds what has been referred to as “The Ladder of Inference.” First, we gather information from the available pool or real data – the type of data that could be captured by a camera, because it exists. Then the problems start.
We then selectively choose some of the data since we just are incapable of using all the available data and thus begin building the ladder. The next rung is when we affix a meaning to the selected data, the affixed meaning rung. We then add the assumptions rung the conclusions rung and the beliefs rung. This last step takes us to the top of the ladder, which is the actions rung.
So we are selective with the data, attach meaning to the selected data, make assumptions and conclusions, and then act. The problem is when we act on the wrong conclusions we have made. We can reach all the wrong conclusions we want without consequences. It is when we act on them that causes unwanted consequences.
So what to do? First, realize that this process exists. Try to choose appropriate data from the available pool. Then understand that the conclusion you reach may be influenced by previous knowledge and experiences that may not apply to this situation. Make sure to get clarification on any fuzzy data, assumptions and conclusions.
Do not let others force you to climb bad ladders with them. It will be clear to you when they are climbing such ladders because they are making unfounded assumptions. Tell them, “Manny’s Moan said not to climb that ladder with you.” When they look bewildered, you get a chance to share my brilliance with them.
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