Make the Right Decision

March 15, 2019
It’s important that we don’t confuse good luck with good choices.

I recently caught an interview with radio personality/podcaster Jordan Harbinger, who was sharing some concepts he learned from a professional poker player.

You might be thinking poker and aviation don’t really go hand-in-hand. But consider that both come with “high stakes” situations that can lead to devastating results if bad decisions are made.

While Harbinger spoke to poker player Annie Duke about her book “Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts,” they investigated the concept of separating luck from decision-making. If luck gets confused with decision-making skills, a person can convince themselves they made a good decision despite the outcome.

Harbinger learned from Duke that “resulting” can be a dangerous concept. Since we can’t control luck, we should focus on the quality of our decisions. But it’s easy for people to associate the quality of an outcome with the quality of a decision.

However, negative results aren’t always a result of bad decisions; and positive results aren’t always the result of good decisions.

Over the course of time, bad decisions may not yield poor results (thanks to luck). And as a result, we may inadvertently train ourselves to become bad decision-makers.

So, Harbinger encouraged people to think of decision-making as a skill and attempt to better develop that ability, rather than blaming bad luck for an undesired outcome.

In short, while it’s easy to be focused on results, spend time thinking about the process that led to the result.

In the aviation industry, and ground support specifically, a bad decision can cause catastrophe. Evaluate your processes and consider how decisions are made. If it is time to update your process, there are numerous industry organizations poised to help improve safety and overall operations.