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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Making Better Decisions

Teaching players vision, decision, and execution builds excellence. 

We're filling players' toolboxes with the right tools for the right problems. The great thinker Michael Mauboussin addresses this here

As coaches, we address the dichotomy of developing individual skills yet relying on the richness of team basketball. Mauboussin emphasizes the "commitment to perpetual learning." 

As coaches (and players), we need to identify "educational gaps," including decision-making and leadership. Where do we start? It includes extensive reading, like Cialdini's "Influence" and the difficult, "Thinking: Fast and Slow," by Professor Kahneman. 

But it also means associating with people who think more deeply and/or differently than we do. What makes them right, wrong, or different? 

"What happened when other people were in this situation?" Consider a spectrum of results, positive, negative, or neutral. That might involve case studies and probability distributions. For example, what is the impact of having early draft choices in the NBA over a three year period. You could you give the Larry Bird example (32 wins added in his first year), but that wouldn't be as helpful as examining results of a larger sample. Both Marcus Smart and Larry Bird were the sixth choice in the draft, but Bird's impact dwarfs Smart's. 

We have an area in the left brain dubbed "the interpreter" which links cause and effect. But many life events are random. If our team goes on a winning streak while I  wear a corduroy jacket, we wouldn't presume those are related. But I might keep wearing the jacket...

What are critical "cognitive biases" that we practice? Confirmation bias has us seek information that confirms our view and avoid disconfirming evidence. Confirmation bias provides obstacles to new inputs for decision making. Are we open-minded? 

Overconfidence limits us from considering a broader range of outcomes. Force ourselves to consider alternatives among our choices. 

Premortem analysis looks ahead some time period where deciders have to write from the perspective of the future on why a decision failed. We recruit the "interpreter" to help us advance now. Let's assume that our team struggles this year. What accounts for that? 

Data analysis. Consider examining a document and analyze for FACTS versus OPINIONS. We might have a different perspective reading the facts (e.g. hard statistics) versus beliefs.

Checklists. We can improve outcomes in different fields through improving processes by standardization (aviation, construction, restaurants, investing, medicine). 

Understand inputs to outcome, including the luck-skill continuum. For example, great streaks in sports (wins, shooting) include luck, but luck in isolation will never provide great streaks in elite sports. 

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