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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Right or Wrong Decisions

A young bachelor decided that is was finally time that he needed to settle down and get married.  He had three amazing girlfriends, but couldn’t decide which one to marry.  He decided to do an experiment. He gave each of his girlfriends $2,000 (with no guidance) to see how they spent the money.

The first one went out and got a total makeover with the money.  She bought new clothes, a new hairdo, manicure, pedicure, the works, and told the young bachelor, “I wanted to look pretty for you because I love you so much.”

The second girl went out and bought new golf clubs, a giant television, and gave them to the bachelor. She said, “I bought these gifts for you with the money because I love you so much.”

The third girl took the $2,000 and invested it in the stock market, doubled the investment, returned the $2,000 to the bachelor and reinvested the rest. She said, “I’m investing the rest for our future because I love you so much.”

The bachelor agonized over the decision, as each girl’s money decision had merit. He thought long and hard about how each of the women spent the money.  It was an agonizing decision, but in the end he finally decided to marry the one who’s dad had the biggest farm.

We all make decisions every day. Some are very small and insignificant and some are large and important. Can we really tell whether a decision was good or bad without the benefit of hindsight? The reality is, of course, you can never guarantee that any decision is going to be successful. It would be great if I could tell you how to do that. But no one can. But Sydney Finkelstein, a professor at Dartmouth and the author of Think Again; Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions says there are some warning signs on whether a decision has, at least, a reasonable probability of being unsuccessful. Here are his three red flags that could lead you to a bad decision.

1) Experience (misleading experience in particular). Most people will think, of course, experience is a good thing. And in many instances, it is, but the reality is that if that experience is not highly repeatable, it could lead you astray. A good example would be the first-time black jack player who wins and logically expects to win every time he plays. Misleading experience could lead you in the wrong direction.

2) Self interest. And you know we all know self-interest is a big driver of behavior by people today. What most people don’t realize is that self-interest often operates at a subconscious level. So much so that we often don’t even know that we’re behaving in ways that are self-interested.

3) Pre-judgments. A judgment about a problem somebody makes really early, and then refuses to adapt and change. This is another one of those things that people aren’t aware of in everyday life – how many of us have just decided something is the way it is and refuse to budge.

I believe moving forward, making decisions here in Tama County, it would be a GOOD DECISION to pay attention to Finkelstein’s counsel—- even if her dad has the biggest farm.


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