How Did I Miss That!?

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One of the most common problems that people face in any decision-making process is a perceived lack of information. Unfortunately, the reason the phrase "hindsight is 20/20" is so cliche is due to the fact that looking back on the situation, so many poor decisions seem highly avoidable. In negotiations, Max Bazerman and Dolly Chugh have coined the term "Bounded Awareness" to describe the phenomenon of failing to "see" and use accessible information. In their words, a "'focusing failure' results from a misalignment between the information needed for a good decision and the information included in the decision-making process." You can read the full article - Bounded Awareness: Focusing Failures in Negotiation - by clicking the link.

Max and Dolly (how fun are those names together?) bring up some interesting points, that bear discussion. First, how do we get stuck in the trap of "Bounded Awareness"? They suggest that a decision-maker is headed for trouble when faced with (1) other tasks competing for attention; (2) a clearly defined goal, with narrow assumptions (see - The Awareness Test and think Inattentional Blindness); (3) affective information (i.e., it's a lot easier to see how this course of action will affect us today rather than to sit back and consider how this decision will affect the future. We tend to "go with our gut".); or (4) information with self-relevance (we're always going to be better at evaluating how information affects us rather than how it will affect others).

Now, if only identifying these "focusing failures" made it just as easy to avoid them... How do I expand my awareness in negotiations? Some strategies for solving the problem of Bounded Awareness come from Negotiation Genius by Deepak Malhotra & Max Bazerman. First off, knowing that you are likely to be susceptible to certain biases and ignoring certain types of information can help you be on guard for such information. As a corollary to that advice, keep a record of your past successes and failures. Use what you learned in those situations to help break the boundaries. Finally, bring in outside opinions. Affective Information and Information with Self-Relevance won't affect everyone similarly. Explain the situation to other team members and check your reactions against objective opinions. 


Using these strategies in your next negotiation will help you overcome your blind spots and help you see outside your normal level of awareness in order to drive greater value. Good luck!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

有趣有趣~還ok的啦(。・`ω´・)......................................................

Anonymous said...

百發百中不是一試就成的。..................................................