Recently I’ve been doing a number of workshops with organisations that want to be fairer and more inclusive. That boils down to making better decisions in general, and in particular, better decisions about people.

Good decisions that don’t bias people and at the same time create a great outcome must be one of the most challenging aspects of leading. Good intentions aren’t enough, although they certainly help! Good methods and decision-making processes are important.

Time and time again I come back to some fundamentals about how to improve decisions, and Adam Grant’s hierarchy of thinking styles is a pretty important component.

Staying in his Learner and Critical thinker zones, as outlined in the hierarchy below, are key to better decision-making. It is hard when you’re smart and accomplished and – under serious time pressure – to slow down decisions to:

  • Make sure you have clear criteria
  • Make sure you have the right kind and amount of relevant information
  • Engage in a deliberative process
  • Open up the decision to scrutiny from others

How are you checking the quality of your decision-making, to ensure you use good criteria?


Triangular diagram showing a hierarchy of thinking styles


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