How to be wrong (less)

A comprehensive guide to the cognitive biases that could derail your decision-making.

by Bill Borrows

Ask a team of business students to build the tallest tower possible in 18 minutes using 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string and a marshmallow that must be placed on top, and you’re likely to be disappointed with the results.

Ask a bunch of pre-school children to do the same thing, however, and they’ll likely do a much better job. Why? Because as designer Peter Skillman, the original architect of the ‘spaghetti tower’ experiment, points out, none of the children spend any time “trying to be the CEO of Spaghetti Inc”.

In his best-selling book The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, Daniel Coyle describes the different approaches the teams take to Skillman’s team-building exercise. The business students, he notes, got right to work: “They began talking and thinking strategically. They tossed ideas back and forth and asked thoughtful, savvy questions. They generated several options, then honed the most promising ideas. It was professional, rational and intelligent.”

Sign in to continue

Sign in

Trouble signing in?

Reset password: Click here

Email: mtsupport@haymarket.com

Call: 020 8267 8121

Register

FREE

  • Up to 4 free articles a month
  • Free email bulletins

Register Now

Become a subscriber

From £52 a quarter

  • Full access to managementtoday.co.uk
  • Exclusive event discounts
  • Management Today's print magazine
  • Plus lots more, including our State of the Industry Report.

Choose a Package