the v1.0 principles for the Uncertainty Project:
Normalize 'I don't know'
We live in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment where the only way to stay competitive is to effectively navigate radical uncertainty. This means we need more focus on ways to address unknowns over seeking perfect information.
We cannot alter the effects of bias on individuals, only organizations
The impact of bias on individuals cannot be changed. Even being aware of these biases does not suppress them, but that is not true for a group of individuals. Organizations can systematically correct for the impacts of individual bias.
Analyze less, discuss more
Data is the not the primary factor that drives great decision making, it's effective discourse. Our decision making strategy should focus more on people and less on information.
Information is only an insight when it impacts a decision
We're in a state of information overload and our ability to translate information into actionable insight is a competitive advantage. The value of information is its ability to challenge our beliefs or impact a decision.
We aim for consent over consensus
Consensus breeds complacency and we are facing a complacency epidemic. The goal for better decision making shouldn't aim to please the most people, but provide the best outcome. These are not always aligned. The better decision is not always the most popular.
We do not act as rational agents
Human beings are not rational creatures and should not be expected to act rationally when making decisions, whether individual or business decisions.
Worship no idols
This is the biggest near-term hurdle for decision making in organizations today. We think good decision making is synonymous with individual leadership, but attributing both good and bad decision making to individuals is problematic.
Incentives drive the output of systems
Incentives have a powerful impact on behavior and changing incentives can drive massive change at scale. Transformational change can be daunting, but incentives are a tool in encouraging better ways of working.
We have to assume positive intent
Knowing that individuals will often act selfishly towards an incentive that provides a better personal outcome means it's typically not the individual, but they system's fault for a poor outcome. Individuals will not act in the interest of the business unless incentivized to do so.
Bad decisions are the result of poor process, not poor outcomes
When we get good results, we want to think that those outcomes were caused by our decisions. But good decisions can be followed by undesired outcomes, when factors outside your control tip the scales. Judge decisions by the quality of the approach, not the result.