Home Tools Coaching Questions Soliciting the Pre-Mortem and Riding the Change Curve: Coaching Tools, Strategies and Concepts for Effective Planning

Soliciting the Pre-Mortem and Riding the Change Curve: Coaching Tools, Strategies and Concepts for Effective Planning

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The Nobel-prize winning behavioral economist, Daniel Kahneman, has a very interesting relationship with Gary Klein—with whom he both conflicts and collaborates. As Kahneman notes, in alignment with both Frans Johansson (2004) and Scott Page (2011), great diversity of opinion and perspective is likely to yield creative solutions and breakthrough thinking and analysis—as is the case regarding his relationships with Klein. In his extraordinary book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman (2011) writes about his extensive and successful use of an analytic tool devised by Gary Klein. It is called “The Pre-Mortem.”

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Optimism

Like many of his behavioral economics colleagues, Kahneman points out that optimistic thinking (and the avoidance of analyses concerned with failure, loss and risk) is both a strength and weakness. On the one hand, we get a dose of dopamine when imagining positive and rewarding outcomes.  Dopamine, in turn, is a great motivator (but not a primary source of pleasure as some neuroscientists in the past assumed). It moves us to a state of activity – rather than the passive state in which we find ourselves when pessimistic and (at a more extreme state) depressed. Chronic depression is actually often linked to the absence of dopamine in our neural system.

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