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Don’t just hoover up facts, think about the decision you face and how best to make it

Michael Mauboussin, Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition (Harvard Bus. Press 2009) at xix, counsels us not to overdo information gathering.

“Indeed, typical decision-makers allocate only 25 percent of their time to thinking about the problem properly and learning from experience. Most spend their time gathering information, which feels like progress and appears diligent to superiors, but information without context is falsely empowering. If you do not properly understand the challenges involved in your decision, this data will offer nothing to improve the accuracy of its decision and actually may create misplaced confidence.”

In-house counsel often want more facts before they make a call, we all want more facts. But Mauboussin’s point is solid: metathinking – how do I frame this decision and make it more effectively – increases the odds in favor of successful judgment more than continued data collection.

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