Long-time readers of my blog know that I’m preoccupied with the topic of strengthening as a decision-maker. After all, decisions drive actions and ultimately outcomes and learning. Getting this right more often than not and getting better at making decisions is a life-long and career-long activity. And, we all need a bit of help along the way.

Dan Markovitz’s latest book, The Conclusion Trap: Four Steps to Better Decisions, is just what the doctor ordered with its mercifully limited page-count (77) and practical, actionable guidance. I love the book as a resource for managers, management teams, project teams, and any individual or group striving to make better decisions. It’s an excellent, fast read with content you can put to work immediately!

Enjoy this fun, information-filled interview with Dan Markovitz!

Art's Signature




Show Highlights:

Dan shares why he wrote this book and the problem he is striving to help people solve (1:10)

An infrequently asked question: “Did that decision make a difference and make the improvement we thought it would?”(4:08)

Why the take-charge analytical superstar gets ahead…and the problem it creates for decision-making (5:00)

Why the reflection cycle makes sense when it comes to strengthening as a decision-maker (5:30)

Why do we jump to conclusions so quickly? (8:30)

“Wrong decisions sometimes are OK. What’s not OK is…”  Hint: quit leaping to solutions! (10:06)

The burden of leadership might make you a bit less cavalier about leaping to conclusions. (13:40). “We are stewards of these people’s lives.” (15:10)

Dan shares the four steps to better decisions (17:45)

We often fail to frame the problem properly (21:00)

The power of “going and seeing.”  (25:08)

Too many firms outsource the good, hard, necessary work of “going and seeing.” (27:37)

Art suggests that Dan’s second step, “framing the problem” is under-taught and under-practiced. Dan counsels us to create multiple frames before making a decision (30:10)

Art suggests a great resource on problem-framing: What’s Your Problem by Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg (32:25)

Even with a great process, there are no guarantees we won’t make mistakes with our decisions. Dan’s goal is to slow people down and stop people from leaping and making those avoidable mistakes (34:50)

“Hold on a second, let’s just make certain what the problem is before we jump to a conclusion.” (37:10)

What managers should do after reading this book (38:04)

The flaws in our b-school teaching about decision-making (41:30)

Working on strengthening your decision-making skills is effectively a trip to the cognitive gym (42:50)

What Dan learned in the process of writing The Conclusion Trap (43:40_