Sources of Power - How People Make Decisions (Paper) (Anglais) Broché – 31 mars 1999
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During the past twenty-five years, the field of decision making has concentrated on showing the limitations of decision makers-that is, that they are not very rational or competent. Lire la première page
Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Il réhabilite ainsi l'intuition en la définissant et met en lumière les forces et limites de l'esprit humain d'une manière absolument saisissante. Après l'avoir lu et résumé, je m'interroge sur la transformation de ce nouveau savoir en actions concrètes, mais ce qui est certain c'est que j'ai upgradé mon esprit et que je perçois à présent de manière bien plus précise la manière dont l'esprit humain fonctionne et la manière dont nous prenons des décision. Mon modèle mental n'est pas du tout le même que celui que j'avais lorsque j'ai ouvert ce livre pour la première fois, et j'ai l'impression absolument prenante du fait que ce modèle est à présent bien plus acéré et pertinent. Ce qui est fort aussi, c'est que l'auteur met très bien en avant les limites de nos connaissances et de nos approches actuelles, et met particulièrement en valeur les biais qui peuvent corrompre les études scientifiques, tout comme l'infini complexité du cerveau humain et l'importance des choses qui nous restent à apprendre à son sujet.Lire la suite ›
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According to traditional decision making models, first you gather data, then you compile and compare options and decide on a course of action. Studying fire commanders, officers in the military, chess players, and many others in high pressured decision making positions, Klein came to the conclusion that you are more likely to come up with one course of action, run through it mentally to look for flaws. If you don't find any flaws in your model, you act on it, if you do find flaws, you do come up with another possible course of action, but you never compare two options, weighing the pros and cons of each. You simply don't have the time or energy.
Time pressure doesn't just apply to fire commanders and military leaders. It seems that this model holds up to people working under a deadlines that are weeks or months away as well.
Klein calls this the "Recognition Primed" decision making model (RPD). In essence, you compare quickly (and often unconsciously) the situation you're in with a sort of master story of previous situations you've been in. You can then recognize features that are analagous to, or different from, these earlier experiences, allowing you to form accurate mental models and intuit courses of action.
Because of this, experience is extremely important in the decision makin process. If you do not have past experience to draw from, you are more likely to fall back on the traditional decision making models - gathering data and options and weighing them. The more experienced you are, the more clearly you can see a situation for what it is and act quickly. Therefore, training should be geared not towards imparting knowledge, but towards bringing people up to speed and imparting experience. Storytelling as a great way to pass on experience, drills and simulations are also valuable.
In chapter 13, where most books are winding down and getting repetitive, Klein describes "considerations for communicating intent." This chapter, entitled The Power to Read Minds, Klein tells us that giving a laundry list of instructions can be detrimental. It is important that we communicate intent. What we want, why we want it, what considerations we took into account in coming to these conclusions, an image of the desired end state, important decision points and possible obstacles along the way. There's another point or two, but I don't recall offhand.
It may seem obvious, but if these things haven't been clearly communicated, each person will have their own interpretation of their instructions, or even worse, have no understanding of the situation and goals at all and be unable to act if unexpected circumstances should arise. If you clearly communicate intent, people should be able to improvise to get to the end state rather than being stuck trying to figure out your intent based on your instructions. It's a real time saver too because you don't have to think of every contingency and plan for it. You simply have to ensure everyone understands your intent.
This chapter has been especially helpful to me. In the week or so since I've read it, I've used it to speed up meetings, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and has the same understanding of the situation. I've also used it to put together formal proposals, ensuring the client gets what they want.
In a meeting recently, when I saw that everyone was coming up with ideas that conflicted with each other, I asked the meeting leader (in different words) "what is it you're trying to accomplish? what is the end state you envision? what obstacles do you see to us getting there?" Things she had surely taken into consideration, but had not communicated clearly to us.
While everyone else was weighing the options she laid out, stuck on "following instructions," I proposed something she hadn't though of. It was in line with her goals and within the constraints we were given, but not one of the options she thought of, and unlike anything we'd done before. Because I understood the situation clearly I was able to think "outside the box" to come up with a solution. She loved my proposal and the focus of the meeting changed immediately to methods for putting my plan into action.
Reading this lucid and intelligent account of the "Recognition Primed" decision making model lays a good groundwork for decision making, and we all make decisions. It doesn't try to tell you how to make decisions, it simply describes how they are made. Beyond just decision making, the chapters for communcating intent, and the team mind have been real eye openers as well. Each chapter has something to offer, and while the book builds on itself, once you've read it, you can (and will) jump around and re-read chapters or sections that are important to you. A well labelled table of contents and index are included to quickly help you find information.
I found it highly readable, well put together, and extremely insightful. Though the tools it gives me lay more in the experience of reading it than the information imparted, I find myself quoting this book constantly, or referring back to it. I'm tempted to buy a second copy for my home (I keep my copy on my office bookshelf). I recommend it to everyone who takes an interest in learning about decision making in the real world.
This book takes all this into account. The authors present a coherent argument. The book's logical organization makes thier points easy to grasp. This book will be of value to both managers and researchers. Unlike many other books on decison making, this one is based on rigirous research spannig many years---not one guy's opinions. Buy it, highlight it, dog-ear it, and absorb it. Sources of Power is truly an excellent source of power about a new, integrative way of thinking. EXCELLENT READ.
- Recognition primed decision making.
- The power to spot leverage points.
- Seeing the invisible, or the big picture.
- Storytelling, metaphors and analogues.
- The power of the team mind.
Rather than grind us through the theory, Klein packs this book with analogies and case studies, well told, that illustrate the points and provide a platform for explaining what it is that's going on when people - often in critical life and death situations - need to make the right decisions. There's no time for a whiteboard session when you're confronting an inferno.
Plenty of people can benefit from this volume. It serves as an excellent introduction to decision theory, an insightful approach to understanding the human mind and a practical manual for qualitative researchers who wish to gain more from their interviews. Quite often, as Klein demonstrates, people make massive decisions without even being aware they're doing so.
Is there a downside here? My only gripe is Klein's tendency to promote his own firm and to remind us that Klein Associates does things to a high degree of professionalism. This occurs to the point where an excellent text takes on, just slightly, the patina of self promotion. But that's a minor thing in the big scheme. "Sources of Power" is useful reading.
With the insights related above, this opens some doors to new ways of understanding why other techniques fail. When formulating a decision problem, the goal must be carefully formulated. Sources of Power will subtly change your approach. Without this understanding of decision support methods, your chances of solving the wrong problem go up exponentially: when you remove expertise from the difficult problem-solving domain, no decision method can save you.
Note that multi-attribute problems still need methodology support: problems comparing "apples, oranges & bananas". See Robyn Dawes' "The Robust Beauty of Improper Linear Models" from "Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases".
What do you do in a group decision-making environment? Delphi? QFD? AHP? MAUT? Once your emphasis changes from "canned" decision-support approaches to context-sensitive approaches then your entire perspective changes. The combination of domain expertise and the other decision support methods forms a new path.
But how do you combine these methods? Sources of Power doesn't provide you a canned answer but it definitely provides you a path - a necessary one for understanding and improving successful decision making.
Tell your colleagues about this book, and let them form their own (expert) opinion.
Klein, by examining experts in their field, concludes that intuition works. His conclusions do hold some weight are are reasonably argued; however I would add one compelling point which sets a firm boundary to his main conclusions: he examines people who are making decisions in a decision space which is clearly defined and largly restricted to their specific field of expertise. In such a clearly defined decision space intuition (based on great experience and previous mistakes undoubtedly) is probably effective. However, it is my premise that using such strategies in a decision space where is expertise is limited, intuitive decision strategies can lead to disasterous results. Unfortunately, most problems fall into the category where the solution strategy cannot solely be based on one particular area of expertise.
Also, there is the well known issue (and often fase decision path) of "all problems look like nails when I'm really good with a hammer." It is all too common to apply a certain expertise to a decision where that skill does not fit well -- or doesn't fit at all.
In the end solid analysis from a variety of perspectives, pursued with some rigor will outperform intuition in the long term. And even if it doesn't a more formal analysis will at least make it easier to track back to the causes of the inevitable faulty decision. Intuition may work in some narrowly bounded cases, as Klein should have been stronger in pointing out. Intuition is certainly faster but it can be a perilous path with some severe limitations in many decision-making scenarios.
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