Think Again

Questions to support the intuitive search for Red Flags

Primary questionsSupporting questions
What inappropriate self-interest might distort the decision maker's choices? 1. Are any of the options likely to be particularly attractive or unattractive given the personal interests, particularly the short-term interests of the decision makers? e.g.,
  • Achieving financial rewards, job perks, and career advancement
  • Hitting particular goals and targets
  • Enhancing prestige and reputation
  • Being popular
  • Having fun at work
  • Achieving a better lifestyle

2. Are these interests likely to conflict with the interests of the main stakeholders?

3. Are any conflicting interests likely to be strong enough to significantly distort the decision?
What inappropriate attachments might distort the decision maker's choice? 1. Do any of the options affect people, places, or things to which the decision maker is likely to be attached or hostile? e.g.,
  • People working with the decision maker
  • People with non-work affiliations to the decision maker
  • Elements of the business

  • Iconic things

  • Places


2. Are these attachments likely to conflict with the interests of the main stakeholders?

3. Are any conflicting attachments likely to be strong enough to significantly distort the decision?
What misleading experiences might distort the decision maker's choices? 1. What are the main uncertainties involved in this decision

2. Does the main decision maker(s) have sufficient relevant experience to be experts at judging these uncertainties?

3. If the answer is no to question two, does the main decision maker(s) have any experiences that may potentially mislead their judgements with regard to any unfamiliar uncertainties? e.g.
  • the organization or the individuals have had an established strategy (that relates to this decision) for a number of years
  • the organization or the individuals have had some particularly successful or unsuccessful experiences in the recent past (that relate to this decision)
  • there is an established industry strategy, some important received wisdom or a recent importnat event (that relates to this decision)
What misleading pre-judgments might distort the decision maker's choice?1. What are the main uncertainties involved in this decision

2. Has the main decision maker(s) pre-judged any of these uncertainties? e.g.,
  • Assessment of the situation
  • Options to consider or ignore
  • Definition of objectives, criteria or constraints
  • Assessment of our capabilities
  • Assessment of likely options

3. Are the pre-judgments well supported by objective evidence? If not they may be misleading