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The “career-making” question that will help you make better decisions

A swimmer dives into the Danube River on August 29, 2020.
Reuters/Bernadett Szabo
“What would it take to change your mind?"
  • Walter Frick
By Walter Frick

Executive editor


Cassie Kozyrkov is the chief decision scientist at Google, serving as an expert within the company in both data science and decision making, so when Quartz asked her for insights for our field guide on decision making, we cut to the chase. If you could suggest one way to improve my team’s decision-making, we asked, without knowing much about our domain or industry specifically, what would you suggest?

Her answer was to ask what she calls the “career-making question for data scientists,” which is “What would it take to change your mind?” Says Kozyrkov:

“Most people don’t ask this question enough and you might be surprised how much your team’s decision-making improves when you start every decision with it. Coming up with an answer forces the team to confront their pre-existing opinions, identify the extent to which their mind is already set, understand how they navigate their context, clarify their assumptions, declare the information they need, and add structure to the decision process. It also adds a layer of protection against cognitive biases like confirmation bias.”

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