Friday, June 28, 2019

Decisions on auto-pilot

[Some decision analysis'] have been going on for long enough that they've built up their own speed and force. ... We call them decisions, but they really aren't. [They are] the sum of so many previous events and determinations that they have a weight that feels like a layer of time
David Ignatius
"We call them decisions but they really aren't".
The worst variety of such auto-pilot decisions is trying to rescue or justify "sunk cost", to wit: we've invested so much that we can't afford to decide anything else but to keep going 

Invested in vain
"Sunk Cost" is the cost already expended for which you can't recover. It's no basis for a decision. Decisions should be made on the outcomes to be had by further investment: the ROI on the future.

Of course, easy to write this; harder to execute. No one wants to be embarrassed or fired over wasted or abandoned effort and cost. No one wants to explain a sacrifice or supreme effort made in vain

Advance in a different direction
But a Marine general in Korea, circa 1950, was heard to say (or so he was alleged to have said): "Retreat, hell! We've advancing in a different direction"

Sometimes that's the decision to be made in spite of "...  a weight that feels like a layer of time"

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