How do you make decisions? Gut instinct or fact based analysis? That was the question asked a business panel at a conference I recently attended.
I was shocked by the first two panelists answers: “Gut Instinct”.
- Did they not have access to data? I find that impossible to believe given that it now takes 2 days to create as much data as we did from the dawn of man through 2003!
- Did they not believe in the power of analytics? I mean, come on, haven’t they seen Moneyball? It is a great example of using analytical data to help you win….and Brad Pitt is in it!
- Did they not have the right data/analytics they could believe in? I find that amusing given they were there as SAP’s customer examples.
- Were they that egotistical to believe they know best over fact based analysis?
This caused me to reflect on my past decision making. I was reminded of a life changing decision I made almost 20 years ago….
At the age of 23, I hated my job and applied to business school. At the age of 24, Wharton called and accepted me. Like most twenty somethings, my life had drastically changed in five months…I now had a job I really liked. Should I go? I did what all dumb kids do: I called my Dad for advice. My Dad, one of the smartest, most analytical people I know, told me to make a pro/con list and build a cost benefit analysis. This would give me my answer.
While I was building my spreadsheet, my Dad called back. He had spoken with my Mother (the emotional rock in our family). She said to throw the spreadsheet out the window and follow my heart.
I did both. I built the spreadsheet. I understood it and then made an informed decision based on my instincts.
This is exactly what the third panelist said: “I make decisions based on informed gut instinct”. I agree.
How do you make decisions?