Please Don’t Talk To Me About Logical Decision-Making

So many university students and faculty at the university where I taught always wanted to learn logical, rational thinking.

They wanted to know how to make decisions using a system like the one shown on this chart, along with some algorithms and formula.

They thought that was important to business success.

I resisted and taught them my own decision making methods, based on reason, data, and intuition.

I didn’t make a big deal out of teaching rational decision making because so much of the thinking and decision-making I’ve seen in business is irrational.  

Yes, irrational and illogical.

Ask any business researcher who does the research, not the one who does the sales. They will tell you that a great deal of business research is used to back up the irrational decision that has already been made.  Yes, that’s right.

The decision has been made and then the executive goes looking for the research to back it up.  Please don’t call that rational and don’t pay homage to  those number crunchers who will tell you they have a sure fire method. No one does.

Let’s face it.  Some people just have a good nose for business, and some people could never succeed with all the data in the world.

Want more proof about the irrational decisions that people make.

Here’s one example  from the news that hit me hard.

The NY Times editor, Janet Robinson  was “fired” because she didn’t get along with the boss’s girlfriend.  Of course, another reason was given but that was the real reason.

I’ve seen this a million times.  Someone whom the boss’s partner doesn’t like soon gets show the door.

If you think that’s irrational, imagine the size of the severance package Janet Robinson got.

If you guessed $24 million dollars, you’re right.  Yes, she got that much just to leave.

The publisher, Arthur Sulzberger,  should be ashamed of himself.

In these days when newspaper’s  revenues are shrinking, she got a huge settlement that will certainly be hard for the paper to recapture with revenue.

The publisher’s romance cost the shareholders a ton of money.  This settlement makes as much sense as the reason she got canned.

Maybe they should teach how to get along with your boss’s partner in business school, or decision-making that looks like this.

You can read the whole story and the analysis here:

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