Resistance to assessment, prediction and tracking methods
Kahneman writes in detail of the level of resistance, even hostility, that he and other researchers have met with when presenting the results of his research on this topic. From medical professionals to psychologists and wine producers, these experts either rejected or ignored the results, and in some cases responded with derision. Perhaps this is predictable, because these results challenge the assessment and predictive capabilities of these same experts who have developed their skills over many years and have rightly developed high opinions of their capabilities.
Kahneman quotes Gawande who writes in his book “The Checklist Manifesto”:
“We don’t like checklists. They can be painstaking. They’re not much fun. But I don’t think the issue (people resistance) here is mere laziness. There’s something deeper, more visceral going on when people walk away, not only from saving lives, but from making money. It somehow feels beneath us to use a checklist, it’s an embarrassment. It runs counter to deeply held beliefs about how the truly great among us – those heroes we aspire to be – handle situations of high stakes and complexity. The truly great are daring. They improvise. They do not need protocols and checklists. Maybe our idea of heroism needs updating.”
I agree with this sentiment. I have experienced this kind of response, verging on disdain when developing various checklists related to change and transformation in organizations undergoing transformation and change. Somehow a checklist, algorithm or computation trivializes their personal sense of the expertise, making them feel less expert. Trusted leadership coaches can greatly overcome these kinds of fears and resistance.
However, I believe a key element of introducing assessments and checklists is missed in Kahneman’s dialogue. These tools should be developed – as best as possible – together with the experts that will ultimately use them. This is a basic “behavioral change” principle, designed to overcome the “not invented here syndrome”. This principle has helped me introduce checklists into organizational change initiatives where many executives feel they “know it all”.Download Article 1K Club