Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Too much information can be counterproductive

I'm listening to Malcom Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. I've read two of his other books (The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference and Outliers: The Story of Success) and enjoyed them considerably, and so am not surprised that I'm finding this book to be quite good, too.

Gladwell gives some examples of situations where decision makers are overwhelmed with information, which actually both slows them down and fails to improve their decision making. In the case of cardiac doctors, their old methods of addressing lots of details about a patient's history slows the process down and proves unnecessary (we actually learn that less is better at diagnosing patients); the same applies to psychologists and military commanders.

Can we learn something from Gladwell when considering what we give to clients? What is the point of our reporting? Can we provide them with the information they truly need in a more succinct manner? Something to consider, yes?

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