Smart people making bad decisions

Don't be afraid to say "no" or go another way.

Do you remember the time in college when you spent all of your waking hour studying for an exam so you keep that “A” in a class, only to have your roommate or friend stumble into class after an all-night keg stand and score a 100 on the test?  And he or she happens to be a C or D student at best?

In life, smart people, such as myself, from time to time will make bad decisions in work and life.  And we wonder why we get so “dumb” when we rely on our smarts to do it “right.”

Writer Scott Burkun delves into that phenomenon on why smart people defend bad ideas.

Scott Berkun says "don't be a sheep" when it comes to making decisions.

Homogeneous (or Silo) thinking:  being a workplace veteran, I’ve been a witness to the homogeneous culture and thinking of workplaces.  “If you don’t look like us, dress like us, behave like us, and make decisions like us, you won’t last here” mentality is a sign of trouble.  I wanted to offer different ideas, but most of the time, it gets shot down like Liberty Valance.

Relying on short term rather than plan for long term:  the best example of this?  The Big 12 (sorry, but they’re the leader in the clubhouse).

Defending bad ideas:  you know it’s a bad idea.  Your brain tells you it’s a bad idea.  The pit of your stomach seconds your brain.  Then why are you defending and supporting it, when you know it’s wrong?

Personally, I look at politics as a great example of “mass group-think” or “silo thinking.”  During the health care debates, it was perceived that all of the Democrats in Congress were in favor of the proposed bill.  In actuality, many of them were not in favor and proposed suggestions and amendments.  The President didn’t like it, many citizens didn’t like on how a few Democrats were not going “along with the program.”

But it was good that a few were willing to say “Time-out.  I don’t agree with this and here is why…”  By doing that, it helps stimulate discussion and get out of the rut of smart people making bad decisions on autopilot.

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