4 Keys to Fail Safe Decision Making

4 Keys to Fail Safe Decision Making
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Decision-making can be a complex process, but it doesn't have to be scary or confusing.

How do you make decisions? Do you have a process or do you shoot from the hip? If you’ve ever made a decision just to find yourself feeling regret or unease you aren’t alone.

In this episode, we talk through the most critical things you should be considering when making important decisions. We explore the two most important elements that make way for well-informed decisions; intuition and reasoning.

It all ties together as we share a decision-making framework incorporating how to test for survivorship bias, cause and effect fallacies, and how to question all of your assumptions.

Is that your gut telling you to listen with us today? We promise you won’t regret the decision!


Episode 64 Decision Making

Welcome to morning coffee and mimosas. I'm Cristina and I'm Joe. We are a father-daughter duo. We come here Sunday mornings, but you can come here anytime you please. We banter about life, about business and we do it over coffee and mimosas.


morning. Good morning. Here we are. It is so good to be able to look at you. Eye-to-eye 

I know we were on zoom last time, because you were traveling, but here 

we are. I know I'm back in rainy. It's raining in New Jersey. I did get some sunshine being in another state warmer. So at least that's better.

Yeah, I guess it's warmer than when I left. 

Yeah. Pretty cool, 

but we got to eat together again. We got to drink together. Yeah. We literally 

had our morning coffee and mimosas breakfast today, yeah, the 

ritual is back. Things feel right in the world again. 

That's correct. So this will be a good. 

Well, dad, again, we're getting a little, we are together, so it's, it's already better than usual, but you know, let's, we'll let you, we'll let you decide listeners, whether it's a good episode or not.

We are going to try and bring you a good episode, but we try every single week and some weeks you may disagree. 

It don't tell us if you disagree, just tell us if you like it. 

I personally would love to know either way, but my dad's a little more sensitive than I am. You don't want me to cry? He only likes positive reinforcement, an optimist, or you like, like the wool pulled over your eyes.

Ignorance is bliss. 

Yeah. There you go. I just want to be happy. So, 

thank you. Burned to being happy. After all these years on the planet. There you 

go. I want it. I have to say, this is really funny. So last week's episode was, you know, we were doing cause and effect and in effect, fallacy, fallacies of like, uh, oh, this happened.

So that must've been why, because of that. And 

so on, did that like really mess up your whole week? Well, here's what happened? Yeah. It kind of, it definitely impacted my week. Every single day. I was like, wait a second. True or is that the cause and effect fallacy? 

I know. So here's what happens. So last, uh, Friday, at work, I had lunch with somebody and then on Sunday they let me know that they had.

Tested positive for COVID and that they were really sick. They got pretty sick, not dangerously sick, but they've just had this new, you know, this variant or whatever. Oh, sorry about that. Well, anyway, my point 

is it's the world we live in now. Unfortunately 

that my lovely wife. Then treated me like a leper and, I was basically hibernating in the, you know, in, one small area of the house and you know, I worked from home and, uh, I never got it.

I never got sick. I never got COVID. I took a test. I was very lucky. the reason I'm I just find it. It's funny about that. We had just done cause and effect because the possible exposure. Caused a reaction as if the effect was I, I must have COVID, but I didn't. 


well, I think the, the real cause and effect fallacy, I guess that that's one, but that's where it's everywhere. Right? Like I think that those things happen all the time, because the way that we're living right now, unfortunately, like I hate that we're even talking about this because I know everybody is doing.

Sick of this, but, , the fact is that half the time it's like you know, you know, somebody that ends up, testing positive for COVID and then it's all of the. Where did they get it? Like, oh, well they were just here. So it must have been that. And it's like, oh, they, they were just at a conference.

So it must've been that conference where they got it. But you really like have no idea where people are you know, somebody might have picked it up or not, or whatever. So it's, I feel like, you know, we make assumptions of, well, they got it. They probably got it there. So this is day four.

This is day five and right. 

I think probably everybody listening right now, although you may be rolling your eyes and like, oh, did I really just turn on morning coffee and mimosas to talk about something that I'm so fatigued talking about, but I promise we will get to somewhere later, 

it really clarified the fact that cause and effect fallacy is so.

Important to understand, because there are many of us, not that you don't be careful, but there are many of us that are, just making these assumptions. You know, , I wasn't close to the person who didn't hug the person. I didn't do it. I just sat across the table, you know? And obviously I could have.

But I didn't know. Um, so anyway, , and that brings us to this week's topic, which is decision-making done 10 times. There we go. Here we go. Uh, because 

there's a method to that, man. That's right. 

Decision-making has elements. Of cause and effect. Fallacy can seep into that when we make decisions, because basically, and listen decision-making can be a three hour workshop, or it could be a whole semester 

for college.

That's what we're going to do today. So, Jim, if your listener. If you're with us, get your, I hope buckle up on that treadmill because we are going to take you for a three hour ride cardiologists 

next to you, because you're going to need it for 

this, right. Consider this your stress test. That's right. Yeah.

So you can stay on listeners. We're not going to talk for three hours. I promise. 

but the, the idea is. When we make decisions, there are our feelings, you know, intuition is, very important. but go and figure, how do you validate intuition? Right? It's just, I have a bad feeling. How do you validate that?

And then there's reasoning, which uses data and facts, but you could see it. We'll get into this a little bit more right now, but you can see how cause and effect. Seeps into this both cause and effect fallacies, and survivorship bias, which we did a few weeks ago, seep into decision-making our decision-making.

And you want to get a quick little recap of survivorship bias for those that may not have listened task task, who didn't listen. 

All right. So survivorship quick, like in 

two seconds, dash. Okay, just a quick 

one. Survivorship bias is the bias that seeps in when we only look at, successful people, a great example is.

, these three successful entrepreneurs all dropped out of college. So therefore you don't need college to be successful. Well, that survivorship bias says, well, you're looking at the people who made it and survived and were able to become billionaires or whatever. You're not looking at. Those that dropped out of college and did not make it the full group.

Yeah. You're not looking at the whole group. You're just picking out to survive. 

So as that's like related to decision-making the cause and effect fallacy, and then the survivorship bias, all of those things like assumptions or judgements made based on something that isn't necessarily true, correct. The, the th the data or the actual truth can all impact.

Decisions that may not work out as favorably as you'd like, right. They 

sound right. They make sense. people may not argue with. But it doesn't 

make it right. And when you think about, I mean, like decision-making, I think that this topic and it comes up because, you know, you had a lot of decisions to make over the last, eight to 10 days, right.

About things that you were, weren't going to do, the people you needed to tell, how you were going to handle things at work, how you guys would handle things with an exposure. So there's decisions that are happening every single day with things like that. But. When you think about, and we don't even realize half the time, all the decisions that we're making big, small, and are even.

Decisions that are being made, that we're not even conscious to, like when you get out of bed and you decide to, you know, uh, right foot and left foot, when you're walking, our bodies just are conditioned. So like, when you think about all of the decisions that we are making, that this machine that we call our body and our brain is making every single minute, every single day, having those, the skills to figure out how do we best make the decisions that are a little bigger.

So are you going to marry that person? Do you take the job or do you stay where you are, um, decisions at work with your team? You know, like, when you, you have things working. I think this topic will be fun. to just start digging into this and start talking about the skills that we can all start to, Make sure we're thinking about and the ways to approach decision-making so that we can make it a little bit more of a, , a little more of a science than an art.

If that makes 

sense. That's a good point because there's a balance in there, which I brought out about the intuition and the reasoning, and you just, brought it together. The science. If you want to use that term is gathering the data and facts that you need to make a decision. The art of it is your intuition comes into it.

And then, how much risk are you accepting and, and so on. so that's why, if we talk about let's look at intuition now, so Intuit. There's that gut feeling and intuition is not to be devalued. Yeah, no, wait, 

I actually think intuition is a really important piece of the decision making process.

And like when you were talking earlier, two key elements that you want to make sure that you're giving weight to in a decision is your intuition and your reasoning. Yeah, 

So the, the intuition is when you get that, you know, it's almost like you say to yourself.

I don't know. I don't know. I feel 

I have a bad 

feeling about this, that comes from. Your own life experiences and it comes, you know, and we are not going to get mystical because you can go that way 

too. But I'm saying, should I start talking about the moon, the moon and the 

tide and all that. Right. So, but you know, we, we get feelings, but they really come from the fact that we've lived.

We have experiences we've even experiences. We don't cognitively remember. Maybe they resurface and you know, something just tells you, I don't know, you know? 

So that's a factor that we can, uh, having there. And then the reasoning part is where you, you gather facts and obviously use your facts and data and put things together to come up with.

a decision, 

right? Because as good as your personal life experiences are and your intuition, intuition alone, and your gut feel isn't enough to always be making your decisions. If you make every single decision based on your gut reaction or your gut feeling and your instincts, that may not always serve you.

Well, no. So 

you have to balance, you have to balance the whole thing out. So, you know, like let's use when you were dating, not when you. We've got bread. I know, see bread was a good guy and we know you're married. 

I just kind of kept him around for a very, very long time 

for him, other guys, whatever, you know, you may, us as parents might've said, you know, I don't know.

I don't like the 

guy pretty much always said that before Brad, but I don't know. I don't like the guy there. Might've been like one person that you were like, person. Okay. 

Maybe that's it. You get that feeling, but you have to kind of back it up, like find out about the person. So what does a parent do? Tell me about him, you know, how's he doing in school?

What's he into what's he? Right. You know, 

so we're, we're gathering and you're like, is that an ear piercing? Yeah. I'm not interested in this person. 

Yeah. So, you know, the, the intuition and gut feeling can guide even your date, your data gathering. and can, uh, you know, say, well, I'm going to let me, let me look deeper into this, or let me, you know, figure this out.

Or maybe it's a decision that you're making that you don't need intuition for at all that you don't even need. It. , you know, all I'm saying is that intuition and reasoning are two of your factors that you should. Doing and using in order to make decisions right.

Makes sense and no, it does. It does. I think, you know, yeah. Dating is a big part of it, probably when you're thinking of, um, raising three amazing, amazing children, children, like all of the right decisions that you must've made. But no, but like all the decisions you're probably at like parents that are listening, you guys are from day to day between, you know, uh, work if, if you're working and raising kids or doing one or the other, but all the decisions that have to be made for a family.

You know, I even look at, we've got, I won't say their names, but, uh, my two little, two little furry friends now that are with us here that are here that are with us here. but there's decisions about them. Like when every single time I come home lately and somebody's gone to the bathroom in the house, do I.

React or do I just recognize that, you know, there's an adjustment period and I've got to figure out how to train them better at 10 years old, teach the old dogs new tricks. That's training them now, but yes, no, but there's decisions that we have to make all the time. So , you know, your gut reaction, I think, , probably something good for us to talk about is like, what are the cautions?

So now we've talked about the fact that you've got your gut instinct and your intuition. It's important that you follow as you're making decisions or at least help let you shape the decisions that you're making. Right. Um, and then the reasoning, which is collecting the facts and information and thinking through the situation, maybe talking to somebody else, that has some kind of a, Some kind of a stake in the decision or information around it goes into reasoning just to kind of check your intuition and your gut and make sure that it's a well-rounded decision.

But what are the things that, you know, I think we should talk about the things that we should be cautious of too. And. As I think about that. I think one of the biggest cautions, like when I think about decisions, I'm making every single day throughout the hectic workweek, and I think this is something that's important for all of us to think about is the things that are most dangerous to effective.

Decision-making in my opinion, are when emotions are running high. So an emotion based decisions. If you are emotional, try and take a pause before making a final decision and taking action. Because what I have found is very rarely is an emotional decision, the right decision, because you, when you're emotional, you lack the clarity to really.

Recognize your intuition and the reasoning that you need , emotion-based decisions are often rash and sometimes can result in, The wrong decision. Yeah. Clearly. Right. Another thing is, you know, thinking about other people, sometimes other people are coming to you for a decision about something that could be somewhat important or, you know, maybe it's, maybe it's a little bit of a risky decision and they put a lot of pressure on you you know, like sometimes there's time pressure.

Sometimes there's overall pressure from other. And I would say, you know, try and take a breath and take a beat and recognize that sometimes other people's pressure, there are obviously realities to something being time sensitive, but I would take a beat and, think about that. Is this a time-sensitive decision or is somebody putting pressure so that you make a decision that's less than.

Right? that these are important factors to consider in the decision-making process, 

right? Because sometimes when somebody wants to influence your decision, putting time pressure on, it can be a way for you to do less of the due diligence that you would typically do I think, and really be able to marketing 

one-on-one right.

Put a deadline, put a, uh, uh, urgent. 

Ends in two minutes, when you buy concert tickets, they're like, , you better complete your purchase within three minutes, or we give these tickets 

away. Yeah. You know, you're, you're exactly right. And these are things that are cute and fun in a, in a marketing sense or whatever, but they, they do absolutely cause you to be less than diligent in your decision making process.

Right. Because you don't want to miss this. Deadline. That's an artificial deadline, you know, and it's funny, funny, you mentioned that this is like black Friday, like these black Friday sales and, and yeah, they're very compelling and yes, you can potentially get a good deal. But I always like to say they have those sales that's a month before Christmas.

If you wait a week before Christmas. Yes, you do run the risk that they won't have it in stock, but if it's not so. As it approaches Christmas, the sales are deeper because, 

and I actually had that experience. I went out black Friday one year and I bought a coat that was too expensive. And I was like, okay, it's it was like 40% off.

And I was like, okay, this is great. And then the day before Christmas, they were offering it at like, Well, the, the real funny part actually was the discount was less, but the cost of the coat. Less also, they had literally, I think they had literally bumped the price of the coat up for black Friday so that people felt like they were getting this early bird discount.

Right. And then it was like, maybe it was 25% off, two days before Christmas. But I was like, wait a second. But I paid more on black Friday. That's the stuff where you have to really, like, if I had followed my gut, that's where the reasoning comes in and you say, okay, well, what was the price before?

Was the price the same? Was the discount the same. That's a perfect 


Yeah. That's why I love that you brought, you know, how you brought this out because, those are factors just. A survivorship bias can adversely affect your decision-making cause and effect fallacies cause you to potentially make a wrong decision, right.

Then time pressure that artificial pressures put on you by others, even artificial pressures that you put on yourself. So suppose your boss says, , I need a decision on how you want to approach. some, uh, program that you're doing. And I want that by Friday. And let's say, let's say you do your, you're going to do a great job.

Right? You put together some facts and figures, you do all this stuff. And then you realize that there's a piece of research you'd like to get done, but you don't do it because your boss told you Friday. But if you had called your boss potentially and said, Hey, can I have till Monday? Cause I just have this one piece of information and I, I want to include that in my decision-making.

Yeah. And, and I 

didn't realize that this was an element that I would need to explore something, but a lot 

of people say, 

no, no, no, no. I mean, they would probably rather you explore 

that, but it's like, oh, she didn't know she wanted it on Friday. I have to have it done by Friday. She wanted it. Well, did you ever think to just call her up and say, you know, I have this other element is Monday.

Okay. I'm not, I'm not missing. I can give you something Friday, but I think I'll have a better decision on Monday. You, you follow. So we even put deadlines, we even put pressure, I should say on ourselves and then make a less than optimal. 

Yeah, and I, I don't know if anybody else is watching the show winning time.

It's about the rise of the Lakers dynasty, and it is absolutely incredible on HBO max, if, you have that, but, um, one of the Jerry West. The previous coach of the Lakers before magic Johnson and like Jerry buss, the new regime had come in. I have no idea what she's talking about, dad, you know what some of our listeners might know.

And I actually, I love this show. So there's finally something sports related that I can, that I can actually speak competently about. You could just take a nap over there, but anyway, they, you know, had a really big decision to make about the coaching. I feel like I can give this away without giving the show away, because this is big.

This, this all happened in real life many, many years ago, and now the show is about it, but, , there was a super big decision to make. And, , at the time Jerry West was like, he was kind of like the recruiting. Um, I don't know he was in the back office, he was no longer coaching. He was helping with, decisions and, you know, an influencer.

So, , They had, , the, the owner of the team had asked him, you know, I feel like I'm out of my skis and I need to make a decision on who to go with. and, it kind of goes to this, right? You've got your gut feeling.

So like Jerry West went back and he's, he wasn't willing to give a gut like an answer. , and he said, I need the night to sleep on it and think about it. And then he went back and he made like, I always talk about.

Dinosaur and me, I, made a list, right? The pros and cons of each, and started jotting things down with the facts and what he knew, the possibilities of what could happen, kind of thinking forward, , what's the best case scenario, worst case scenario, and then came back with a decision based on that.

And I just, I don't know the show, I'm just looking for any opportunity to plug the show because it's so good. But, it was a perfect example of , you know, that was a really big decision and sometimes you need to write it down on paper. That's something that I always, I always do put it on paper, build a little chart, the pros and cons so that you can actually start looking at it and seeing it outside of just your head.

Okay, I'm back. I'm back now. Thank 

you. Took a sip of coffee. Um, I didn't get, so 

I'm not going to tell what the decision was. That's part of the show. I'm not trying to it's no spoiler alert. I was just simply saying how he went about making his decision. Why are you on the edge of your seat to know what the decision was?

It? You don't even know what I'm talking 

about. No idea what you're talking about. 

Anyway, probably the listener, sorry, listeners. You may not be following at this point anyway, but the point, the moral, the moral of that, the moral of that little like end-around story was just to say that sometimes you, somebody might ask you again, like I said, the time pressure, somebody might ask you for a decision in the moment and it's okay to take a pause and ask for time.

It's okay to ask for more time, if you need it. Sometimes there is a reality in that time pressure. The whole point of that is put it down on paper and start to like, look at things and figure it, you know? So it's not all in your head and, and, you know, you can really start to visualize. 

So let me ask you this question when you put it down on paper and that's a great, that's a great idea.

Put it, or however you document it need to put stuff down, whether it's electronic or on paper, it doesn't matter. It's the same, same difference, right? When you do. How often do you, uh, or, or then do you look at, and kind of diagnose within those that you are you've placed down there? What was, uh, your intuition speaking?

What was reason speaking? What 

was cause and 

effect speaking? What was survivorship bias? 

I think it's no, it's almost like we could almost do a chart right. Where I think it's a great idea. I've always done just like a pro and con chart. And within that there's elements that are, you know, definitely intuition there's elements that are definitely fact-based there's elements that are assumptive.

And then there's elements that are probably. 

Yeah, because here's the thing you do that if you put this all day, if you put this all down, which is great and fantastic, and then apply the filters that we just talked about, those also help you when this decision, when you present your decision to people, you can prevent it from being attacked.

If someone says, well, what made you say this? And if you say, well, I said that because the last time this happened, that happened well, that's a cause and effect of a fallacy. That doesn't mean it's true. Well, what made you say this? Or why? Why is this. Well, because I've noticed that everybody who succeeds had that attribute well, that's, that's survivorship bias.

You're so right. But then you can break it down to, here are the facts right here are the facts I found. These are the things that were, you know, fact-based for the reasoning. And then I think you can help you're so right. You can help other people to get on board with your decision because sometimes a big part of decision-making is you're getting other people to buy into your decision.

And sometimes your decision is just something you're presenting to someone else to approve and then make a decision on, 

um, immunized yourself around this and put a, put a real good solid protector around your desk. Is you ferret out all the other crap that's in there after you've written it down.

That's why I love what you say. Write it down, write it down then question. Cause I'm telling you, I will say this in every, probably every episode question everything and every one question, it doesn't mean you're not hiring a person. It doesn't mean you're not making the decision. It doesn't mean you're not accepting the decision question.

Because, and then question again and question again. So this comes back to, we've done this before with questioning. You ask a question, you get an answer and I'm even talking about question yourself, dammit you for what you just did. Why did I put this down? Why did I feel that that was an important assumption?

Did I make an assumption? did I fall into cause and effect? did I, am I, is this really 

what I feel? Yeah. Is it, am I emotional? 

Right. So I, I, we can recap this whole episode. I 

hope you can, because 

we can, cause this is, this is, what's so powerful about this.

Decision-making when you're going to make a decision, you put down everything, pros, cons your backup, your support, write everything down, take every one of those things that you wrote down and test it for survivorship bias cause and effect fallacies, Intuit. Reasoning for things, test every one of those things that you just put down.

Now, if you ended up with nothing left on that piece of 

paper, when the decision is no,

the decision is 

yeah. So, but what it does, w whatever you have left, and by the way, there's nothing wrong with making a decision saying you don't. I don't know how we should go, but here's what I analyzed. And my gut tells me we should turn left. You know, we should go this way. There is nothing wrong with that.

So I'm not saying that that you have to, that we have to be. You know what I'm 

saying? And not every single decision is going to require this level of detail. Right. We're not suggesting, like I mentioned, when you walk right left there decisions that just happen. Right. There's some decisions that this is for the big stuff.

Right. Um, I'll be sports guy. This'll be like that Lakers decision, you know? Do, do we 

bring on the right team name? 

Yeah. I don't know what they do, but it's like, but you know, do we hire this new coach or do we stay with what we. You know what we have I'm making. I don't know if that's was that decision essentially, essentially.

Okay. see that's why sports bore me because it's not that 

hard. Yeah. Well, why don't we, you know, maybe I wish we had mom here for this episode. We could maybe ask her what she would have done in the way of a chart when she was thinking about whether to marry you or. 

Yeah, I don't want to go through that.

I'm going to maybe present some of these ideas to her. Maybe we can, we can chart it out. It could be, you have an anniversary coming up. We can go through a, you know, like a requalification process. That's true. 

Yeah. Yeah. I, I better be looking for an 


I better be looking for another place to live, but, uh, but this was good. you know, that's it, that's my. listeners, I really think if you apply this in your decision-making, and if you are making a decision that you have to present to somebody else apply this technique, it'll, uh, I use the term immunized, because it really does inoculate you against criticism because you'll have answers for the criticism.

If it comes. , and you will have eliminated the obvious, blatant things you probably should have not included in there. 

Yeah. Because very rarely does somebody feel good about a decision if you just reply, because I feel like, and then Bubba. 

Exactly, exactly. Even though that may be the rationale and there's nothing wrong with that.

Again, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, 

right. But if you have some, if you have some reasoning and facts and other things to back up your feelings, Always going to be better served for helping others to get on board with your decisions. That's it. 

So I feel like this was a good episode.

Well, we'll have to see what the numbers we'll have to see what the numbers say after. 

Tell us, listen to us. Please tell us because my feelings don't count. So 

my gut tells me this, this is going to be extended. 

Yeah. Cristina just questioned by, uh, my feelings. And so I need 

you to valet time with this episode.

So listeners, hopefully you are enjoying yourselves as well. And if you like what you heard. Hit the subscribe button, share with a friend and leave us a review and 

share, share it, share it. That's what I just said to him. Well done, but really share it 

out. Like not figuratively, like really, really. Anyway. I think it's time to shut this down, dad.

Thank you everyone. 

Wherever you are, whatever your story. Thanks for spending time with us this morning. Go and make a difference in your world.

It's still like the way I play 

this, I feel like nobody is going to believe that I actually have dogs now because these guys are straight up silent. They're such like they are much better at being quiet during a podcast episode than mom is, or we were so boring 

that they fell asleep 

by everybody.