I am researching decision making to prepare for my next Firefighter-360 columns. I have read other books and several articles by Gary Klein about how people make decisions and cognitive task analysis. I find it interesting, and maybe the most important area for improvement in the fire service. We need to get better at “bringing thinking to action.”
Do we make decisions with our gut or should we analyze every option? It depends! Klein offers realistic ideas about real-life situations.
The book begins with this story:
A policeman saw a drunk searching for something under a streetlight. “What have you lost, my friend?” the policeman asked. “My keys,” said the drunk. The policeman then helped the drunk look and finally asked him: “Where exactly did you drop them?” “Over there, ” responded the drunk, pointing toward a dark alley. The policeman then asked: “Why are you looking here?” The drunk immediately replied, “Because the light is so much brighter here.”