Severe Optimism Kills

Not by paying the ultimate price (i.e. life) for marketing and business strategies. But by extending the project duration and raising the budget – simply by being optimistic about plans.

Yup.

Optimism sucks.

Haha.

Image from johnnyoptimism.blogspot.sg

Optimism causes us to do Bad Things Like

  1. We don’t look for base rates in similar situations
  2. We think our skills are up to the task
  3. We ignore luck, yet it is far more important than skill
  4. We neglect obstacles

all of that lead to a false sense of control.

It causes over-confidence in a flawed/incomplete plan. That we exaggerate our ability to deliver. That we give overly rosy presentations to prospects as we promise them the ends of the Earth and more.

We could tone down and admit that we don’t know. But in this need-answer-now/I-pay-you-for-answers day, it’s quite possible that admitting ignorance will equate to getting laughed out of the room.

Solution to Optimism: Pre-mortem Your Plan

It’s similar to the post-version. But in reverse:

Imagine the plan 1 year from now and failed miserably. What’s the history of its failure?

This helps to uncover obstacles, point out the elephant in the room, and minimise risk.

At least, as much as it humanly can.

Source: Engine of Capitalism, Chapter 24. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman Get it! It’s a great read!

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