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Why is common sense most often used to influence our decision making?

Luvata poll commentary

Commentary by Dirk Greywitt, Vice President & General Manager Luvata Formed Products Business Unit

Everyone makes hundreds of decisions a day; what time to wake up, what to wear, which roads to travel to get to work, what to eat for lunch, which task to do first, and on and on.  Until finally you decide to go to bed. This process repeats 365 days a year, forever.  Some decisions are big, small, easy, tough, important, not important, high risk, low risk, etc.  Some affect only you and some affect lots of people. 

You can probably name someone you think is a good decision maker.  Someone who is quick at assessing all the relevant facts, that has the right experiences, background and common sense.  You can also probably think of someone you consider bad at making decisions (no names please).  

From my experiences, I believe that everyone is good at making decisions.  I will also add that I think all of us can be bad decision makers.  Confused yet? Let me explain by way of examples. 

When my daughter asks me to decide what she should wear to school, I immediately  check my phone to see the temperature (collect data), scan her closet to see what is clean, pick some pants and a shirt that match in color, and then notify her of my decision.  To me, this was a very practical, quick, logical and efficient decision.  I was totally wrong - just ask her.

Similarly, when I ask her to help me make a decision about a customer or a supplier, or something else that she has no background in, she too becomes a bad decision maker.  When we are making decisions (especially those that are big, important, risky and that affect many people), in areas where we lack experience, data or input from others, we will surely be viewed as a bad decision maker. 

Now, you might wonder how does this relate to the recent Luvata quick vote?  Participants were asked to pick one area that influences their decision making the most.  Participants could only pick one.  An overwhelming majority (87%) chose common sense.  Does this mean nobody thought that consensus, data, experience or instinct were important?  I don’t think this is the right conclusion.  More likely, people are viewing common sense as a combination of all the other factors. 

I think everyone has the capacity and ability to make good decisions.  We all use our common sense to make decisions. Common sense is derived from our unique background, experience, and the data available to us.  We all run the risk of making bad decisions if we stray into areas where we lack common sense.  


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