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Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions

Decision making lies at the heart of our personal and professional lives. Yet the daunting reality is that enormously important decisions made by intelligent, responsible people with the best information and intentions are nevertheless hopelessly flawed at times. In part, that's due to the way our brains work. Modern neuroscience teaches us that two hardwired processes in the brain—pattern recognition and emotional tagging—are critical to decision making. Both are normally reliable; indeed, they provide us with an evolutionary advantage. But in certain circumstances, either one can trip us up and skew our judgment. In this article, Campbell and Whitehead, directors at the Ashridge Strategic Management Centre, together with Finkelstein, of Dartmouth's Tuck School, describe the conditions that promote errors of judgment and explore how organizations can build safeguards against them into the decision-making process.
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