Class Takeaways — The Human Factor

Five lessons in five minutes: Professor Szu-chi Huang on how humans make decisions and get motivated.

The Tactical Guide to Making Better Decisions When Starting and Scaling Companies

For the past couple of years, Annie Duke has been sharing her advice with founders and angel investors in closed sessions for the First Round community, but given our focus on open-sourcing so others in the tech ecosystem can learn, we thought readers of The Review would be curious to see a few pages from her decision-making playbook, tailored specifically for the startup context.

In this … [ Read more ]

Five Ways to Avoid the Pitfalls of Binary Decisions

Before you decide, check how the question is framed to ensure you have all the information you need and have considered all your options.

How Noisy Is Your Company?

In Noise, a professorial supergroup explains the causes and consequences of the inherent variability in professional judgment.

A Framework for Leaders Facing Difficult Decisions

Many traditional decision-making tools fall short when it comes to the complex, subjective decisions that today’s leaders face every day. In this piece, the author provides a simple framework to help guide leaders through these difficult decisions. By interrogating the ethics (what is viewed as acceptable in your organization or society), morals (your internal sense of right and wrong), and responsibilities associated with your specific … [ Read more ]

The 6 Decision-Making Frameworks That Help Startup Leaders Tackle Tough Calls

High-stakes decisions are seldom clearly cut. On a team, it’s difficult to get consensus on what the “best” option even means; with an excess of choices, leaders can fall into the paralysis of indecision, wasting precious time and opportunities. How do you make a choice that optimizes for both speed and sagacity? Should you place more weight on data, or go with your gut? How … [ Read more ]

Three Keys to Faster, Better Decisions

Decision makers fed up with slow or subpar results take heart. Three practices can help improve decision making and convince skeptical business leaders that there is life after death by committee.

How This Head of Engineering Boosted Transparency at Instagram

Not long after James Everingham joined Instagram as the head of engineering, results came back from the employee satisfaction survey that’s conducted every six months. The marks were pretty good, but one problem spot caught Everingham’s eye: the low transparency score.

Transparency is a persistent, thorny problem because we’re not all on the same page about what it even means. To Everingham, transparency was about building … [ Read more ]

This Matrix Helps Growing Teams Make Great Decisions

Gil Shklarski, CTO at Flatiron Health, has adapted a framework from his executive coach Marcy Swenson to serve as a tool for his team to quickly and efficiently create alignment around decision-making — and at the same time, foster a level of psychological safety that would take fear, self-consciousness and anxiety out of the process.

Untangling Your Organization’s Decision Making

Any organization can improve the speed and quality of its decisions by paying more attention to what it’s deciding.

The Effective Decision

Effective executives do not make a great many decisions. They concentrate on what is important. They try to make the few important decisions on the highest level of conceptual understanding. They try to find the constants in a situation, to think through what is strategic and generic rather than to “solve problems.” They are, therefore, not overly impressed by speed in decision making; rather, they … [ Read more ]

How Our Company Learned to Make Better Predictions About Everything

our approach to prediction seems stuck in the past. Most business forecasts fail to include measurable outcomes and are not recorded, so it is hard to know if we are even getting better at them.

Research from organizational psychologist Philip Tetlock, the co-author of Superforecasting, suggests an alternative. Studying forecasting tournaments where anonymous experts predicted future events, Tetlock found that some forecasters could … [ Read more ]

Tool: Use Unbiasing Checklists

Research suggests that checklists can help reduce the influence of unconscious bias in decision making. Google has tested checklists like these to highlight and remind people of common unconscious biases and provide employees with targeted unbiasing strategies.