April 20, 2011

Decision for Importance or Urgency?

From some study on decision making, something just clicked my mind. We’ve been discussing the chart with urgency on the x-axis and importance on the y-axis a number of times over the year (One of Paul’s favourite diagrams ;)). I just tried to think decision making in those terms.

How different can decisions be in all four situations! In all four entirely different situations, there will be different frames of time, different mind-sets, maybe different alternatives, different criteria, and most importantly, different biases! Also, the tools and techniques used in decision making would depend on it (the urgency).

This can hence be extrapolated to, what happens when a decision gets delayed due to some reason? It may not conclude to the same result as it would have if more time was available. This sounds dangerous, doesn’t it!? And this will probably pay a heavy toll on the robustness of the decision!


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  1. I think this has important implications for the quality of decisions. Well done Awal. You could say that if you are always fire-fighting, i.e. dealing with the important and urgent, you would never have time to apply System 2 methods – you would only be employing System 1 methods which will often mean reduced quality and robustness of decisions. This might be ok for the urgent but not important decisions. Once again, it looks like the not urgent but important mindset is the best place to be.

    21 Apr 2011, 10:59


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