Avoid Some of the Decision Making Traps Based on Appearance

I read the following article in Psychology Today this morning and it struck a cord with me. A friend of mine once made mention of the concept of ‘Big Hat, No Cattle’, i.e. form over substance.

We are all prejudiced in some ways to appearances. It is a fundamental Darwinian survival instinct. We have the advantage over our other animal counterpart in that we have the ability to see it if we give the predisposition to prejudice our attention. Would qualify as prejudice to prejudice?

Anyway the article basically states four thing to watch out for:

1. Keep in mind that the image of professional doesn’t imply professionalism. It simply means that the business or person is good at presenting an image.

2. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. I learned this the hard way a couple of years ago when I engaged a project with a large well known telecom supplier, thinking that since they were the large 800 lb. gorilla in the market that they knew what they were doing. NOTICE: Big organizations are as dysfunctional, often more so, than small organizations.

3. When in doubt, check references. ‘Nuff said.

4. Trust your own critical thinking skills. Don’t give in to conventional peer pressure either by you superiors or peers. More often than not your ‘smell test’ of your skills. Keeping in mind than often decisions by others are often motivated by political or emotional reasons than facts.

We are all influenced by the cover of the book, but we should clearly look beyond it to really make informed decisions.

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