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Maybe your boss is wrong!

by Rick Baker
On Feb 3, 2011
Or, maybe you are the boss and you are wrong - at least, maybe once in a while you are wrong.
 
So…what happens?
 
Say you are the boss and you are wrong…what happens?
 
It is common for people to overestimate the correctness of their views and decisions – that’s called knowledge overconfidence*.
 
So, likely when you are wrong you do not know it.
 
The alternative is you know you are wrong but press on anyhow…isn’t that unlikely?
 
Summing up the scenario:
  • You are the boss,
  • You are making a mistake,
  • Your people know you are making a mistake, but
  • You don’t know you are making a mistake.
What do you want your people to do:
  • Pretend they don’t know you are making a mistake and say “Yes Boss”?
  • Let you know they think you are making a mistake?
  • Do something else?
It seems to me this is a rather common scenario. People make mistakes. People don’t know they make mistakes. So, it is not a stretch to say bosses make mistakes and don’t know it.
 
The bosses’ mistakes could be trivial and of little impact. Or, maybe, they could be catastrophic.
 
But…what will happen when those mistakes are made?
 
It pays to have a plan to cover this scenario.
 
Here’s a suggestion…
 
Bosses can set guidelines.
 
For example, I use the following guideline for Command Decisions.
 
I call it the 10-3-1 Guideline:
  • For every 10 [command] decisions I make I expect about 3 will be questioned
  • For every 10 [command] decisions I make I expect about 1 to be strongly resisted
For more details… see the Thought Post about Knowledge Overconfidence.

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Leaders' Thoughts

Comments (1) -

rick baker
4/26/2012 10:02:29 PM #

"When you're making any kind of decision - or, more specifically, any sound decision- the most dangerous thing you can do is to allow yourself to become emotional or to get overly invested in the need to be right."

Dr. Doug Hirschhorn
'8 Ways to Great', (2010)

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