Why Data Isn’t The Only Factor Guiding Your Management Decisions

The human factor in decision-making can outweigh the data. Here's what you need to know.

December 15, 2017
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Making management decisions can be a risky endeavor. Sometimes you have to make a decision before you have all of the information. Other times, it’s impossible to gather the amount of data you’d like to have, and your only choice is to make the best decision you can under those circumstances.

The decision making process is easier when you have tools to crunch data for you. One of the tools everyone has at their fingertips is the internet. Although, if the internet is one of your sources for the data you crunch in order to help you make decisions, be cautious. It’s said that “data doesn’t lie” but the truth is, sometimes it does.

If the internet is where you source some or all of your data, there’s a high probability that flawed data is driving some of your decisions. It probably isn’t too big of a deal if you’re leveraging data from the internet to scope out a new webhost. However, when you’re looking at data in order to make decisions with high stakes, you can’t be too careful about the accuracy of your data.

Don’t let flawed data drive your decisions

Good management decisions are always guided by clear and critical thinking. Flawed data clouds your decisions without your knowledge.

Even with the best business intelligence tools crunching the data for you, it’s imperative to know that the source of your original data is accurate. It’s in your best interest to go as close to the source as possible and investigate the data you’re using to make decisions. If it’s accurate, you should be able to find an original source.

Another factor to consider is your ability to reason

Making decisions requires the ability to cognize information – often complex bits of data – and synthesize it all using the functions of logic and reasoning. This task requires optimal brain health, which is something that shouldn’t be dismissed.

If your ability to cognize has been impaired in any way, no matter how perfect your data is, your decisions will reflect that impairment. For instance, if you’ve suffered from a traumatic brain injury – even a concussion in your youth – that injury could still be affecting your cognitive abilities, including problem-solving skills.

Although concussions are often discussed casually, they’re serious injuries and have long-lasting effects on the brain, including cognitive impairment.

Traumatic brain injury legal professionals, who see these cases on a daily basis, note that 1.7 billion people suffer from TBIs each year, 75% of which are concussions. Although serious, TBIs are common. You can get a concussion from any moderate amount of trauma to the head. Even violent shaking can give you a concussion.

TBIs affect decision-making ability

A study published in the April 11, 2012, issue of Neurology concluded that moderate TBIs complicated a patient’s ability to make decisions regarding their own medical treatment. This impairment resolves quickly in patients with mild TBIs, but lingers for more severe injuries.

The author of the study told ScienceDaily, “The structural brain changes characteristic of complicated mild cases may contribute to more significant impairments in decisional capacity that have not resolved 30 days after injury.”

If you’ve suffered from a TBI in the past, especially if the injury was severe, it could be impacting your ability to reason. It’s common for effects to last a long time, especially when there’s injury to the frontal lobe. However, TBIs don’t affect everyone’s decision-making ability in the same way.

As described by ChangedLivesNewJourneys.com, “One person might leap to a solution without considering the facts, another might not be able to work out how to solve a problem without a lot of help, someone else may not be able to make a decision at all.”

At the end of the day, your best is good enough

Nobody’s perfect, therefore no decisions can be perfectly made. You’ll always be weighing pros and cons, risks and rewards. Even perfect data can’t produce the perfect decision.

At the end of the day, you’ve either given your best effort or not. However, being aware of the factors that can influence your decisions without your awareness gives you a better chance at success.