Critical Thinking and Decision Making in Negotiation

Effective decision-making is not always easy. We’ve all made decisions we regret, but, when we understand what drives our decision-making framework, we can confidently move forward and make progress.

Annie Duke, a World Series of Poker champion turned business consultant, believes it’s essential to get rid of our constant need for certainty and instead, replace it with a habit of accurately assessing what we know and what we don’t know. Ultimately, by doing this, we will be less vulnerable to biases and destructive habits in our decision making.

It is essential to evaluate the influences of luck in decision-making and negotiating. Sometimes, things turn out poorly because it’s something we don’t have control over. In any situation, we need to get a clear view of what the influence of luck on the outcome is likely to be.

Additionally, ask yourself, “How are the decisions I am making influencing the probability of things going sideways?” We need to assess what our reactions will be in order to be responsive and nimble in our decision-making. Overall, this will allow us to create superior strategic plans.

In a recent conversation we had, Duke said we are prone to believe whatever we’re told, especially if it comes from a figure of authority. She explains that, often, we get caught in a “truth cycle” where we don’t validate the information we’re being told. However, it’s our job as negotiators to objectively assess every piece of information we are given. In doing this, it’s crucial we fact-check and evaluate the details to ensure we are receivers of facts rather than opinion.

In order to improve our decision quality, Duke explains we need to enter a period of self-evaluation. We need to think about our own beliefs and predictions and frame them in an objective way. She believes that decision-making should never be a process that is done completely alone. A mind is a terrible thing to waste — utilize the people around you. Lastly, Duke states that as negotiators, we should have a group of people that holds us accountable to what our best laid plans are.

I believe making better decisions and improving negotiation quality go hand-in-hand. As negotiators, it’s critical we take a step back and analyze what goes on behind the scenes of our everyday decision-making. In order to make significant advancements, we need to check-in with our emotions and biases to make sure we are not leading ourselves astray.

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