Use Premortems For Better Decisions

It’s a well known fact that 75% of business startups fail in the first year, over 80% fail in the first 5 years, and only 4% survive 10 years. Given these overwhelming odds, why do so many entrepreneurs risk their life savings and start businesses?  When most people anticipate future events, their initial reaction is to be overly optimistic.

We’ve all sat in meetings where the high influencers in the group persuade the team with the optimistic vision.  The opinions of the quiet realists are often overlooked or stifled by the enthusiasm created by the energetic influencers.  Good leaders recognize decisions can be hijacked by the overly optimistic vocal team members and go out of their way to extract the opinions of the less forceful deep thinkers.

One approach is for leaders to challenge their team to conduct a premortem when making important decisions.  When the team has almost come to an important decision, have the team imagine they are a year into the future. They implemented the plan as it now exists.  The outcome was a disaster.  Have them discuss what went wrong that created the disaster.  It’s amazing how engaged the introverted conscientious team members become and how better decisions are made using this approach.

Leaders who empower their decision makers to conduct premortems make more successful decisions.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Communication, Leadership

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