Turning Emotion-Based Decisions into Fact-Based Decisions

March 27, 2014 - , CEO

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We talk about computer-human synergy a lot here at TARGIT. It's a big part of our philosophy to create and continuously advance the platform that is most compatible with the meat machine that is our brain.
At TARGIT, we have tools that make it easier than ever to communicate with your computer with things like voice recognition and the ability to speak in natural language to create and use all kinds of decision-supporting objects. Even at home, I'm seeing technology work increasingly in synergy with its human users. My kids interact with their Xbox just by waving at it and talking to it.

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about the human side of this computer-human equation. Until the past few years, the bottleneck in the interaction between human and computer was the computer. As decision makers, we had a backlog of information because we were waiting on the machine to provide us with accurate information. From a Business Intelligence perspective, if you needed information to support your decisions, chances are the computer was only able to deliver a part of what you needed to make a wholly educated decision. To get more information required more skills or assistance from the IT department.

Those days are gone. Today, the human is the bottleneck in the decision-making process. The computer is able to deliver oceans of information on a variety of devices-desktop, tablet, and mobile phones. And that creates a new challenge for us: We must now sift through all this information at our fingertips and decide what is relevant and what isn't for our task at hand. We're no longer searching for information; we're drowning in it.

I know that we've been talking about this for a while at TARGIT, but it's never been truer. If we're not careful with how we process that information with our brains, we won't find the courage to act; we'll just be confused. 

I recently had a situation at work when an instance of information overload actually led to inertia on my part. I had access to all the information I needed that would have made a tough decision clear, but I chose to look at the data that supported the easier way out. I picked through the information that supported what I wanted to see. I made excuses and supported my own inaction with data.

But that wasn't going to help TARGIT improve as a company. I had to step away, let the unbiased, unfeeling computer show me the data I needed to see, and gain the Courage to Act.

Another example is our transformation of TARGIT as a company. When I looked at all that company data that was presented to me, it was easy to continue down the road I had been following for many years. The company was successful, employees were comfortable, there was no need to change. 
But soon I realized when I forced myself to look at the right information, if we were ever going to be true leaders in the Business Intelligence universe outside of Denmark, change was necessary. If I didn't, I'd be using BI to keep me on the easy path. So I left Denmark, established TARGIT in the U.S., and re-launched our entire company profile.

It's easy to avoid change, especially if that change is going to pull you from your comfort zone. It takes courage to step out and put yourself, your company, and your employees at risk.

These examples just showed me that the human challenge is often to recognize when there are feelings clouding our vision. Humans have always and will always make decisions based on emotion. (Cue the launching of millions of marriages, divorces, births, deaths, wars, and excellent movie plots.) But as leaders and decision makers, it's critical that we recognize when the information that should give us the Courage to Act is blurred by our own bias.

Business Intelligence is worth nothing if you don't change your behavior. Investing in BI is not only an investment in the tools, but in a change in company culture. At TARGIT, we're not just selling Business Intelligence, we're selling a new way of behaving.

Instead of letting the computer drown you in data, trust it to lead you to a conclusion. Even, and especially if, that conclusion forces you out of your comfort zone. Have faith in your data and let it give you the Courage to Act.

Technology-wise, TARGIT makes it possible to skip the human side of the confusing intermediate results and go directly to the best unbiased decision. But I'll tell you much more about that another time.

I shared two of my recent "Courage to Act" moments today. And we're holding a contest for you to do the same. Just tweet @TARGIT with your story when you had the #CourageToAct and you'll be entered to win a GoPro camera so you can capture your next act of bravery on film. 


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