You Have One Watch You Can Tell Time; You Have Two Watches

The title is a saying I heard the other day and well basically it means that if you have too much information you get information blindness. Much like the “Too Many Papa Bear Companies” post you not only need to right size the inventory but information flow needs to be right-sized as well.

Have you ever been shopping for a gift for someone and when you go to buy the present you learn there are 100’s of different factors to consider. I had this problem when I was buying a cooking pan for my mom. I started doing my research and found out there are too many things to know. I spent hours researching reviews, handle shapes, Teflon vs. non-Teflon, durability, temperature limits, etc. Needless to say I really couldn’t go to the store and pick up just any pan.

I had information blindness form all the information I was gathering and I couldn’t make a decision quickly and effectively. The same is true with your work; too much information can hinder your ability to make a good decision.

If you have ever read the book Blink you are familiar with the fact that decisions are best made from thin slicing all the facts. In other words you only need a certain amount of information to make the correct choices. The more of an expert you are in the field then more information can actually be useful. The example the book gave were mayonnaise experts who ranked mayonnaise in 40+ categories. The average Joe could pick the same “best” mayonnaise as the expert but couldn’t tell you why. If you had asked the average Joe to use a mayonnaise scoring card then they actually get it wrong and do not pick the “best” mayonnaise.

The message here is you don’t need all the information you think you need to do a good job. Being flexible and moving into action is sometimes better than looking at every little nuance of a situation. By the way I bought my mom a spa day instead of the pan. I thought she would like that better anyways.

How are you hit with information blindness on a daily basis?

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