Tag Archives: business analysis

When Your Gut Screws Up Your Analysis, Shut Up and Listen

True story: my wife and I wanted to move but we weren’t sure where. In true MBA fashion, I set up a spreadsheet to compare candidate locations for a series of factor including outdoor sports, weather, smog, traffic, lifestyle, public education, crime, and so on.

So for each of about 12 possible places I input scores from 1 to 10 for each of the factors I’d identified. And when I didn’t like the original conclusion, I (without realizing it as I did it) changed the input factors until it did. We wanted to live in Eugene, Oregon.

I didn’t realize it then but I do now. I set up an objective analysis and then subconsciously messed with the inputs to generate the conclusion I wanted.

Do you ever do that?

Another true story: One of my daughters struggled with a job decision for weeks. She had a job, and she had a new job offer, and she liked them both. The choice was driving her crazy.

Finally, late one night, she called me up to share a spreadsheet analysis she’d done. As she went through the analysis and the input factors, I realized she was subconsciously cheating the scores towards one of the alternatives and away from the other.

I told her then that I thought she had just discovered what she should do. Her gut had chosen. The evidence was in the way she skewed and biased her objective analytics.

When your gut gets your numbers wrong, and screws up your objective analysis, shut up and listen.

(image: istockphoto.com)