Making decisions in the fog

Decisions are what we do, when we do not know what to do, wrote Elliott Jaques. This implies that decisions are made under uncertainty and that it can take long time before we can evaluate the decision. It is not easy to get any insight into how higher managers make decisions. Most interviews focus on what has been successful and rarely on the agony of the decision. Oscar winning The Fog of War gives insight into decision making. Making heavy decisions under time pressure, balancing the need of a fast decision against getting more information and time for thought. But also the insight of that it is I and nobody else that can take the decision.

Questions to think about when watching the film:

  • How are decisions taken, what is the process?
  • How is timing balanced between the need of a fast decision against gatting for information?
  • If they had known what was known at the point of the decision, would they have decided differently?
  • Knowing the outcome, should they have handled the decision process differently?
  • How much can a decision maker distance him-/herself from the human and moral consequences?
  • With hindsight, some decisions are wrong, how can one live with that?

My rating:
2 stars