The error often made by powerful people when taking decisions

Flaws in decision making – the over-confidence of power!

The effect of confidence on taking advice in decision making

Here is an interesting article discussing the level of advice people are likely to take related to the amount of power they perceive they have. It is based on a number of real experiments conducted by the researchers.

In summary, the findings are:

  • People who perceive themselves as wielding power in their own organisation are much less likely to take advice from others when making decisions. This is mainly caused by their level of confidence in their own judgement.
  • This is far more prevalent in men than in women.
  • In the experimental cases, the results of the decisions of the more powerful (and took less advice) groups were less accurate than those groups who considered external inputs.
This reminds me about the findings from Surowiecki’s famous book “The wisdom of crowds” which postulates (and goes some way to proving) that in many cases large groups of people are smarter than a few experts. However, we accept that in many cases, leaders do not have the time (or for other reasons) to tap into large crowds – but that does not mean they should shun all advice. At Genesis we have designed a tool that is perfect for the task of gaining input to strategic decisions: INSTRAT (see below for more details).




(Or see our “Decision Shop” for a special offer on initial use of the tool).


If you would like to discuss this topic with us, drop me a line at and we can arrange a no-obligation Skype call.


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