The Art of Critical Decision Making

Course No. 5932
Professor Michael A. Roberto, D.B.A.
Bryant University
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Course No. 5932
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Course Overview

Whether simple or complex, private or public, decisions are an essential part of your life. Not only do decisions affect your own life for good or ill, they can also affect the lives of your friends, your family, and your community. Indeed, the ability to make wise, educated decisions is essential to living a successful and fulfilled life.

  • When is the right time for your company to change its business model?
  • Is moving across the country for a new job the best option for you and your family?
  • At what point do you roll out a new product or service currently being tested?
  • Should you sell your house now, or wait until the housing market improves?

But making a good decision and avoiding a horrible one is not a chance act. It's a skill—one that can be learned, honed, and perfected. Mastering the art of critical decision making is the key to improving your life at home, at work, or in your community. When you understand the necessary components of a smart decision, you can examine mistakes you might have made in the past and sidestep potential mistakes in the future. And when you know the underlying psychological, social, and emotional components that influence decision making—whether they are your own decisions or the decisions of others—you can make sounder choices that produce better results.

Now you can learn to approach the critical decisions in your life with a more seasoned, educated eye with The Art of Critical Decision Making, a fascinating 24-lecture course that explores how individuals, groups, and organizations make effective decisions and offers you tips and techniques to enhance the effectiveness of your own decision making. Taught by award-winning Professor Michael A. Roberto of Bryant University—a scholar of leadership, managerial decision making, and business strategy—this dynamic course is an engaging and practical guide to one of the most fundamental activities in your life.

Three Levels of Decision Making

The heart of this accessible course is a thorough examination of decision making at three key levels:

The individual level: Studying how individuals make decisions reveals a wealth of insights into how—and why—they make particular choices. Most individuals do not examine every possible alternative but instead draw on experience and rules of thumb. Most of us, it turns out, are susceptible to what psychologists call cognitive biases: decision traps that can cause us to make certain systematic mistakes when making choices. You also learn how intuition, surprisingly, is more than just a gut instinct and represents instead a powerful pattern recognition capability.

The group level: Because you don't always make choices on your own, it's important to understand decision making at the level of group or team. Here, you try to answer the question of whether groups are "smarter" and more capable of making critical decisions than individuals. The lectures show you problems that typically arise in group decision-making scenarios, including groupthink (the notorious tendency for groups to be pressured into conforming to a particular view) and a lack of synergy between team members. You also learn how groups can overcome these and other problems to make better decisions.

The organizational level: Studying decision making on the organizational level requires you to grasp how the structure, systems, and culture of a particular organization shape the behavior of its individual teams and members. Professor Roberto shows you how history's wrong decisions usually cannot be attributed to one wrong decision or poor leader. He also demonstrates how some organizations have encouraged and reliably performed vigilant decision making in the face of risky scenarios.

The Key to Effective Decision Making

The Art of Critical Decision Making reveals that bad decisions are usually made because of a poorly thought-out decision-making process. If decision makers put more emphasis on how to make a decision, ensure that they remove personal biases, collect information beforehand, glean the diverse perspectives of others, and perform a number of other constructive activities, they can vastly improve the strength and success of the process.

Professor Roberto employs the case method used by America's most prestigious business schools, including Harvard University. Designed to expose students to a breadth and depth of real-world examples and scenarios, the case method allows you to compare and contrast various situations as a way to recognize patterns. In doing so, you refine your ability to distinguish between smart and poor decision making.

Among the many compelling case studies you engage in throughout the course are these:

  • IDEO's appropriate use of expertise: You study the decision-making practices of this California-based design consultancy. One of the key lessons you learn is that IDEO uses experts and their knowledge in an appropriate manner—recognizing that sometimes expertise as defined by past successes is not always ideal in a quickly changing environment.
  • Improving patient care in hospitals: Professor Roberto's independent study of hospital staff demonstrated how experienced nurses can positively influence patient care through intuition. By relying on an understanding of warning signs and using the Socratic method of asking questions, veteran nurses were able to prevent patients from experiencing life-threatening problems and reduced the rates for heart attacks and mortality.
  • General Motors' financial woes: In 1972, General Motors was the nation's most profitable company, but in late 2008 the carmaker's profitability sank drastically. According to Professor Roberto, the management team's assumptions during the 1970s—including the persistence of energy sources and the internal promotion of managers—were proved false in the near and long term and only perpetuated outdated ways of thinking in the company.

Compelling historical and contemporary examples provide a captivating window through which to see the process of decision making at work. In taking key principles that great scholars and leaders have studied from history, business, and the modern world, Professor Roberto helps you understand exactly how the successful and unsuccessful decisions involved in these and other events are relevant to your own life.

Learn to Make Smarter Decisions

Whether you're the head of a Fortune 500 company, a government agency, or an everyday household, you constantly make decisions important to you and those immediately around you. The Art of Critical Decision Making offers you a toolbox of practical knowledge and skills that you can apply to various decisions—whether large or small—in your everyday life and work.

Professor Roberto's lively lectures are packed with useful anecdotes, tools, and advice designed to improve your own ability to make informed decisions. Among the many insights you gain from these lectures are that

  • a large part of making a good decision is not just solving a problem but accurately defining it;
  • framing a decision in terms of what may be lost usually causes us to take greater risks than if a problem is framed in terms of potential gains; and
  • hidden problems, not visible ones, are the true enemies of effective critical decision making.

Become a Better Critical Thinker

While a thorough exploration of decision making can be a complex endeavor, it takes a professor as knowledgeable and comprehensible as Professor Roberto to expose just how easy to grasp this science is. Warm, engaging, and vibrant, Professor Roberto possesses a passion for his field that is undeniably contagious.

You quickly discover why this former professor at Harvard Business School and former visiting associate professor at New York University's Stern School of Business has won numerous coveted teaching awards. These include Bryant University's Outstanding M.B.A. Teaching Award and, on two occasions, Harvard University's Allyn A. Young Prize for Teaching Economics.

Professor Roberto has also consulted at and taught in the leadership development programs of a number of America's most prestigious firms, including Apple, Morgan Stanley, Coca-Cola, and Walmart. This breadth of real-world experience shines through in each one of these 24 captivating lectures, as concepts and theories that might seem complex and confusing are instead made practical and accessible to everyone.

As you explore the intriguing process of making a good decision, you strengthen your grip on individual theories of decision making and the situations—both well known and relatively obscure—that illustrate them.

Most important, by the end of The Art of Critical Decision Making, you'll become a better critical thinker. You'll possess a stronger ability to learn from your mistakes, be able to approach and weigh individual choices more effectively, and make smarter decisions.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Making High-Stakes Decisions
    Examine the myth that bad decisions are most often made by bad leaders. Professor Roberto uses the examples of the Challenger disaster, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and Daimler's acquisition of Chrysler to uncover why good leaders can make bad decisions if the decision-making process they use is flawed. x
  • 2
    Cognitive Biases
    Using the story of the tragedies on Mount Everest in 1996, Professor Roberto introduces you to three cognitive biases that play a role in bad decision making: sunk-cost effect, overconfidence bias, and recency effect. x
  • 3
    Avoiding Decision-Making Traps
    Explore more decision-making traps you can fall into if you're not aware of them, such as confirmatory bias, anchoring bias, attribution error, illusory correlation, hindsight bias, and egocentrism. Darwin avoided confirmatory bias by keeping a separate record of observations that contradicted his theory of evolution. x
  • 4
    Framing—Risk or Opportunity?
    The way you or others frame a problem or decision can have a significant impact on the choices you make. Understand why framing a decision in terms of what you have to lose causes you to take more risks. x
  • 5
    Intuition—Recognizing Patterns
    Discover how to use intuition as a powerful tool in decision making when combined with rational analysis and acknowledge the cognitive processes that are part of our intuition. Professor Roberto recounts case studies from firefighting, health care, and the video game industry to explain the potential and pitfalls of intuition. x
  • 6
    Reasoning by Analogy
    Learn how the Korean War differed from the threat of Adolf Hitler. Professor Roberto explains reasoning by analogy and how you can use analogies to make sense of a complex problem. At the same time, we must avoid the common tendency to overstate the similarities of one situation to another and overlook key differences. x
  • 7
    Making Sense of Ambiguous Situations
    We might like to think that we carefully examine our choices before we make a decision. However, we often do the reverse—make a decision and then figure out why, and base future decisions on how we made sense of other decisions. This process, called sense-making by Karl Weick, constantly influences our behavior. x
  • 8
    The Wisdom of Crowds?
    This lecture includes examples from game shows such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and from the business world that demonstrate the usefulness of decision making by groups and the potential problems if group members are not fully engaged. x
  • 9
    Groupthink—Thinking or Conforming?
    Discover why even diverse groups can make bad decisions if members are not able to express divergent opinions. This lecture focuses on how groupthink led to the Bay of Pigs invasion. x
  • 10
    Deciding How to Decide
    After the Bay of Pigs failure, President Kennedy and his advisors reflected on their mistakes and created a new process for group discussion and decision making to prevent future groupthink and promote diverse perspectives. Here, Professor Roberto introduces the concept of developing a decision-making process. x
  • 11
    Stimulating Conflict and Debate
    Learn how constructive conflict can lead to new insights and stronger decisions. Discover four methods to stimulate useful debate: role plays, mental simulation techniques, creating a point-counterpoint dynamic, and applying diverse conceptual models and frameworks. x
  • 12
    Keeping Conflict Constructive
    Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for conflict to become unproductive. Understand how to look for and eliminate dysfunctional conflict to cultivate effective teams. This lecture includes cases on Sid Caesar's comedy writing team, health care, and the nonprofit sector. x
  • 13
    Creativity and Brainstorming
    IDEO is one of the world's leading product design firms, expert in developing creative and innovative products for many industries. What makes their process so effective? To help you understand their formula at work, Professor Roberto describes an experiment in which IDEO staff worked to design a new product in just one week. x
  • 14
    The Curious Inability to Decide
    Often as individuals or in groups we become paralyzed by indecision—unable to commit to one path or another. This lecture examines three modes of indecision in groups: "the culture of yes, the culture of no, and the culture of maybe." x
  • 15
    Procedural Justice
    Using case studies about Daimler Chrysler and an aerospace and defense firm, Professor Roberto explains the challenge of building consensus among team members once a decision has been made so everyone will work together to implement it. x
  • 16
    Achieving Closure through Small Wins
    To move forward through the brainstorming and decision-making processes, groups must find intermediate moments of agreement that Karl Weick calls "small wins." This lecture looks at how teams achieve closure through small wins, using cases about D-Day, Social Security, and the CEO of Corning. x
  • 17
    Normal Accident Theory
    Discover how organizational culture and structure affect decision making by individuals and groups. Learn about the Three Mile Island accident to understand what went wrong in that system, and understand how catastrophes more often stem from a domino chain of bad decisions rather than one wrong choice. x
  • 18
    Normalizing Deviance
    The tragic explosion of the Challenger space shuttle was likely the result of a flawed culture at NASA. The repeated and increased tolerance of questionable data and decisions ultimately led to a large-scale failure. How can leaders reform such cultures? x
  • 19
    Allison's Model—Three Lenses
    Learn Graham Allison's approach to examine decision making through three lenses. Use Allison's model to explore the Cuban Missile Crisis from the individual and cognitive perspective, the group dynamics view, and the vantage point of organizational politics and bargaining. x
  • 20
    Practical Drift
    Uncover why organizations make decisions that contradict their own rules and regulations. The concept of practical drift explains this phenomenon, as you see by studying a military friendly-fire case from 1994. x
  • 21
    Ambiguous Threats and the Recovery Window
    When a threat is ambiguous, organizations are likely to minimize the possible risks. Look again at NASA but this time at the Columbia space shuttle accident, 17 years after the Challenger explosion, to understand how conditions changed or stayed the same in that culture. x
  • 22
    Connecting the Dots
    Often in large organizations, no one individual can see or understand all the elements at the same time. Great organizations integrate various pieces to see the big picture. Discover how failure to connect the dots led to an inability to recognize the extent of the threat of a terrorist attack on American soil and therefore a lack of appropriate action before September 11. x
  • 23
    Seeking Out Problems
    Explore how complex, high-risk organizations succeed by focusing on the possibility of failure. Leaders at these organizations proactively look for problems rather than ignore red flags. Also, learn how Toyota's application of these principles has contributed to its success. x
  • 24
    Asking the Right Questions
    Examine the trend of leaders moving from making decisions themselves to focusing on how decisions are made by everyone in their organizations. Smart leaders, as you discover, ask the right questions to glean the collective wisdom of their colleagues and staffs. x

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  • 128-page printed course guidebook
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Your professor

Michael A. Roberto

About Your Professor

Michael A. Roberto, D.B.A.
Bryant University
Dr. Michael A. Roberto teaches leadership, managerial decision making, and business strategy as the Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. He joined the faculty at Bryant University after teaching at Harvard Business School for six years. Previously, Professor Roberto was a Visiting Associate Professor at New York University's Stern School of Business. Professor Roberto earned an...
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Reviews

The Art of Critical Decision Making is rated 4.2 out of 5 by 102.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Art of Critical Decision Making Very informative and easy to under stand. May be helped if there were more graphics/multimedia etc.
Date published: 2014-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Recommended: valuable & useful course Well-constructed and well-presented series of lectures, providing logical reasoning to assist in forming decisions. These talks are valid for individuals and groups, to help in refining your decision-making processes, from the easy, obvious aspects involved, to the more elusive and difficult considerations and analyses needed to come to the "right" conslusions. Strongly recommended.
Date published: 2014-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More than Interesting--Very Useful! This is one of the best courses I have purchased. Some of more than 40 courses have listened to I enjoyed enough that I intended to revisit them in the future; this one I know I will review several times. The course is well structured, uses excellent examples, and is very well presented. Very little room for improvement, in my view.
Date published: 2014-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Course I thought of myself as a good decision maker, but after this course I realized how many influences actually go into making a decision. Prof. Roberto describes in great detail the personal, relational, emotional, and other myriad influences that affect decision making, whether minor or major, and everywhere in between. The course presentation is good with the initial chapters laying solid groundwork for the chapters that follow and decent tie-ins to earlier chapters in the latter chapters. I can't put my finger on it, but something niggles at me about the whole presentation, thus four stars (been through it twice); I wish I could put it into words. I would recommend this course to everyone who has not done this in college, as I had not. It reveals the processes and influences involved in all manner of decision making whether it be 'What shall we have for dinner?', to 'How will we maximize our winnings from the $480 million lottery prize?'.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Has helped me succeed, excellent course! I found the presentation very refreshing and spot on. It was masterfully informative and moderately easy to follow. It does however help a lot to take notes in this course. I have used the knowledge I have learned in this course to great success in both business and politics, so I know from my own personally experience that this course is worth the time and money. A real masterpiece of TGC! The professor is great, and that also makes a big difference in the genuine quality of this course. I highly recommend this course because it has such a broad spectrum of uses for everyone who watches it.
Date published: 2013-10-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Very Solid 4 Star Course The first couple of lectures had me a little concerned. Professor Roberto's style is really that of the academic and not of a business style that I expected. He reminded me of the stereotypical college professor who comes in to a business to advise but has no real business experience. But he does come in armed with lots of studies. We shouldn't dismiss the value of studies. I gradually got past my early impression and came to enjoy his academic style. Still, he reminds me of the professor who has the knowledge but not the real experience but gets tapped for some high level government position. One thing that disturbed me was he often referenced the Cuban Missile Crisis. That was nearly 50 years ago and the Kennedy administration is hardly the gold standard for great decisions. This is hindsight thinking. Looking backwards to see forward. Now that sounds pretty nasty and that's not my intention. There is a lot of very good material here and I draw on this material often in my own practice. Much of it I knew from experience and books read on the subject. Some was new to me. Some of the material reminded me how to utilize and how to present these topics to clients. So the course is good and I did benefit from it. It's not one you'll need to pause and ponder. Just watch and learn. A solid 4 star set. If you haven't read nearly every business book published in the past 20 years, you'll find a lot of good material in this course. And, if you have mid level managers in need of professional development, there is a lot of good stuff here for them. So yes, I do recommend the course. And I'll say again that nearly everyone will get something beneficial from this course.
Date published: 2013-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific course I am interested in this topic, but not passionately so. The speaker held my attention, explained things I have observed but never articulated, and offered a prescription for improvement that can be implemented at the smallest, most mundane level, or at the top, when making decisions of earth shaking importance. Terrific course!
Date published: 2013-05-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Read this book; don't listen I could get through 75% of this, then fled, shrieking in pain. Prof Roberto is knowledgeable and his lecture(s) are well written but a horror to hear. 1. His voice is metallic-y grating - he does NOT have to project across a crowded room, have him tone it down... 2. "Nuclear" is NOT "nuke-ya-ler" (did he go to the GWBush school of public speaking?) 3. "Etc" is NOT "eck-sedera" 4. He inserts the word/question "right?" about 5 times per minute - bad, bad habit These repeated gaffes make this unbearable listening after awhile. I think he's trainable - how come the editor/producer doesn't coach him on good public speaking/recording techniques?
Date published: 2013-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful course The Professor start out slowly but builds up all thru out the course.I can see where the company I work for that make mistakes.Poor management decision.I will tell my company about the problems I have learn and tell them about it and see their reaction. I never thought i would get this much information out of this course.I learn alot and can use that thinking to help myself in my own decision making.I would highly recommend the course and anyone whom doesn't like the course is either in denial or already know the course.Not only does it help in business but also in life.I found out some good things and things I never knew happen.Such as President Kennedy backup advisor and that person taught and mentor Kennedy which stunned me .It's a wonderful course and it really wakes you up.
Date published: 2013-02-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Best for Corporate Settings As others have stated, I found this course to be an in-depth study of many aspects of decision making, most useful in the world of business. Dr. Roberto does not spend much time on the process of decision making by individuals, so if you are looking for a personal guide to helping make meaningful and rational decisions in one's own life, this is not that course. The professor employs two vehicles to make points in each lecture. The first is his comprehensive use of references, in which he quotes the work of authorities in the field of each subtopic. The second, as exemplified in discussions of the Bay of Pigs, the NASA Challenger disaster, and later in the IBM Corporation story regarding Lou Gerstner's impact on that company, Dr. Roberto uses the Harvard Business School case study model. These (and several others) were extremely interesting- he describes each problem, the decision processes employed, their results, and why these decisions were reached. While I found 24 half hour lectures to be more than a casual introduction to "Critical Decision Making", I would highly recommend this as a useful tool for executives of any corporation. The lessons of how corporate philosophy can influence and cause poor decision making is alone worth the price of this course.
Date published: 2013-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Definitely Worth a Listen Professor Roberto offers lots of food for thought. This 24 lecture course is divided into three major sections. The first emphasizes decision making of individuals from cognitive biases to the pattern recognition skills often described as intuition. Decision making by teams and groups follows with discussion as to why groups are sometimes better, but sometimes worse, than individuals in their decision making. The final section concludes with thoughts about organizational decision making including the topic of whether failure may be inevitable in some very complex organizations. Analysis of the case study, a teaching method used at Harvard Business School, forms the focus of some lectures. These case studies examine failures, sometimes catastrophic, followed by an analysis searching for reasons for their occurrence and ways in which they might have been prevented. Two Teaching Company courses provide an excellent foundation to better understand the material offered here by Professor Roberto - Thinking Like an Economist by Professor Bartlett and Understanding Complexity by Professor Page. Some prior knowledge of uncertainty and probability theory might not hurt either. Professor Bartlett covers some of the same material as in this course; however, Professor Roberto takes issues to a deeper level of analysis. Complexity theory as discussed by Professor Page would seem to be a perfect fit for this type of analysis and brings much to the topic that Professor Roberto could incorporate in his future work. A few concerns - Professor Roberto possesses rather poor diction. He will likely never be a great Shakespearean actor. However, I did not have difficulty understanding his speech, as other reviewers have noted. Robert McNamara critiqued the case method used in this course (as Professor Roberto brings forward in the 23rd lecture) for its emphasis on finding solutions to problems, but not actually finding the problems that needed the solutions. In addition, the case method lays out the story of a failure in a retrospective fashion, often after years of in-depth analysis. This retrospective approach fails to consider the difficulty of making decisions in real-time when outcomes are more uncertain and little appears clearly black and white – as it often can when seen retrospectively. Large complex systems, like NASA, or the U.S. government intelligence operation, are full of uncertainty. Adaptation, as occurs routinely in complex systems, was mentioned in the lecture on “practical drift” but did not receive the attention it deserves. As complex systems make better decisions to solve problems in the present, the system adapts, making it difficult for that change to have lasting value over the long haul. I enjoyed the course and do recommend it. I work within two large complex organizations in my day-to-day life. One seems to have studied decision making and leadership and incorporates a number of safeguards in their practices to insure against the problems outlined in this course. The other seems totally clueless - maybe I need to provide them with a copy of this material?
Date published: 2013-01-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Insight into Organizational Decision Making A very good introduction into the processes used to make decisions in organizations. This course does not address individual decision-making, but that's fine. Much of the information involved in group decision making is applicable to the individual. Overall a good course if you are involved in or impacted by decisions made by groups.
Date published: 2012-10-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Some good info - poor presentation Interesting content, but doesn't really help much with individual decision making beyond covering cognitive biases. The instructor has an inclination to speak in a mush-mouthed fashion, jambs significant words together as one word that includes contracted words that shouldn't be contracted, yet stretches out parts of sentences that have no real relevance in an awkward manner. In some parts I had to keep rewinding to try to understand what he was saying and finally discovered that after a couple of attempts that I was better off continuing until he revisited the words so that I could understand them. I'd recommend the first two CD anyway.
Date published: 2012-10-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Teams and economists. I own about half the courses from the teaching company and this will be only the second I return (the other was redone because others complained. This course is problematic to me for two reasons (at least): 1. It is really about team decision making. Unfortunately, most decisions I make I do not have the luxury of a team like Kennedy in the Cuban missile crisis. Most decisions are made in isolation. 2. I was bothered by the fact multiple chapters opened with how economists think incorrectly and ignore the human side. A. He must be talking about microeconomics and many economists here use game theory or Bayseian approaches to the 'human side'. Macroeconomics falls under the umbrella of what are known as complex adaptive systems (The complexity course by the teaching company), spans fields from medicine to physics to sociology to hurricanes. The approach is top-down. By that I mean you are looking at how the whole system responses to pertubations so the human side is automatically incorporated. When examining hurricanes or the cardiovascular system, you are not looking at the behavior of individual water molecules or cells, but the entire system. The presenters assertions that 'economists think' is very simplistic and myopic.
Date published: 2012-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful lectures I enjoyed every minute of these lectures and would recommend them to anyone who wishes to have the insight to make good sound decisions be it at work or at home.
Date published: 2012-08-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Tedious I usually devour these courses. What I wanted was a review of how decisions are made and how that process can be improved. Many of the examples given were interesting and relevant to the individual experience. This was the first video presentation I ordered. I found the lecturer distracting. He has certain patterns of speech and mannerisms that irritated me. I watched a few episodes but most of it has remained unseen. That being said, if you have no problems with the delivery, the lectures are informative.
Date published: 2012-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Art of Critical Decision Making What a great way to take a long business drive. So much better than listening to just another radio station. It was so enlightening.... felt so much better because I was thinking and learning on my drive, rather than just listening to another talk show host complain about things. A truly refreshing way to take a business trip!!!
Date published: 2012-05-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Group Think Primarily If you are interested in making group decisions you might find this course useful, but it is terrible for how individual's make decisions. It just goes to show that there is a lot to decision making that a professor at a major university doesn't necissarily know. Examples include 1) motivation strategy; 2) convincer strategy, 3) understanding how NLP thinks about strategies and the importance of submodalities. For example, suppose you are trading the stock market and need to develop a system. How would decide what system to use? If you want to know answers to questions like this one, look elsewhere.
Date published: 2012-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If you make decisions take this course. Superb, outstanding examples, and common examples are treated with more nuance than is common. I enjoyed the entire course and I have listened to it three times.
Date published: 2012-04-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Art of Critical Decision Making I found this presenter's mannerisms and demeanor so irritating that I returned it after not-quite making it through the first lecture.
Date published: 2012-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic set of lectures Although I get a sense of the course being aimed at some future CEO for a major company, I still found it very useful as a university student trying to work in groups with other people. I am more aware of my own biases, and the problems often overlooked in group problem solving. Amazingly fascinating presentation.
Date published: 2012-03-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from where you stand depends on where you sit I have no formal management training but my work place requires me to take a leadership role, which, over the years I have found to be an ongoing challenge and learning experience. This course opened my eyes a bit wider and presented ideas regarding individual and group cognitive processes and pitfalls in a wide variety of interesting decision making historic examples. Very entertaining and informative
Date published: 2012-02-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Especially aimed at "group" decision making Although the initial lectures are helpful with individual and personal decision-making, the majority of the lectures deal with the even more difficult topic of group decision-making; which makes this course especially useful and especially aimed at "group" decision-making techniques and processes. So, if you are involved in business, education, volunteerism, nonprofit, religious, governmental or civic groups, then you will find this course useful. Prof. Roberto' s lecture style is both energetic and enthusiastic. Well known in business, defense and academia, Prof. Roberto provides you with a framework for what both works and fails. Using interesting case studies, he provides real life examples. Many of the concepts here harmonize nicely with other TTC courses such as Prof. Randy Bartlett's "How to Think like an Economist". I recommend this course for those tasked with making good critical decisions, especially within the context of the group.
Date published: 2011-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging Stories, Among the Best During my life, I’ve worked in nine different organizations located in the USA, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. I’ve seen organizations that function well, and organizations that are highly dysfunctional. Critical factors include: 1. management style, 2. a willingness to engage in open debate, and 3. the freedom to express yourself Decision making styles and processes can either enhance or constrain the effectiveness of an organization. One should never underestimate the benefits of creative and constructive conflict within a group -- or the perils of groupthink. Diversity of ideas is absolutely critical, and this diversity must be supported by an environment that promotes open communication, with constructive and heated debate. Without these factors, a business will gradually whither or suddenly be blindsided by poor risk management. Professor Michael Roberto’s case examples are pertinent and his recommendations are sound and proven. He delivers his message with an engaging and energetic style; it leaves you wanting more. While a majority of the lectures are oriented toward groups and organizations, the early lectures are also applicable to solo decision making activities such as trading, where a grasp of your own psychological composition becomes critical. I highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2011-11-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A Chore To Listen The audio CDs : The professor uses pretentious jargon and some annoying mispronunciations . I found his presentation cloying, insistant and repetitious . Much of the material is common sense . There were valuable principles discussed but they were presented in tiresome detail .
Date published: 2011-11-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from does not compare well to a pro audiobook I think the lecturer would be surprised to listen to this recording and see how many times he says "Now" and "Harvard Business School." He is clearly knowledgable about the subject, and the stories he tells are often interesting (Bay of Pigs, etc.), and the info about biases is potentially very useful. But, there is precious little useful info in between the stories. This does not compare well to a pro audiobook.
Date published: 2011-10-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good but not the very best This was a good course and added value, but isn't in my view among the very best of the teaching company's offerings. I think the best part of the course was the use of many specific examples to illustrate the various points. I would have preferred more insight into how individuals make decisions as opposed to groups. In addition, the professor had an annoying habit of saying "in other words," quite often -- which in my mind either means the professor didn't explain the point very well the first time or the listener is too dumb to understand in just one try.
Date published: 2011-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the Best This is simply one of the best courses available from the Great Courses. It is a course that almost anyone can benefit from.
Date published: 2011-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well worth the time! As a director of our hospital's ICU and a member of multiple committees, I truely found this course invaluable. I did not realize so much research has been done on decision making. If you participate in any decision making meetings regularly, then you will find this course fascinating and rewarding. The presentations are excellent and the content is applicable to real life issues. Though the course lingers a bit towards the end, its worth the effort.
Date published: 2011-08-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Critical Decision Making--Too Long! This course took me back to the Sloan School of Mangement using the case-method to support the lectures. In my opinion, the couse was repetitive and redundant with the same cases--Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, Discovery Explosion--used to exhaustion. I found Dr. Roberto to be self-serving in his presentations--often referring to his work with colleagues at the Harvard Business School. From his discussions, one would think he was the seminal thinker. However, the bibliography does not support the magnitude of his contributions. Dr. Roberto did reference Graham Allison, author of The Essence of Decision. This is a seminal work on the decision process used by the Kennedy administration during the Cuban missile crisis. Further, I was distracted by the quality of the audio. There were frequent "skips and lapses" in the CD version--probably related to editing the lectures. Despite my somewhat harsh comments, I recommend this course to others. It codifies the decision-making process in the areas of individual thinking, group thinking and institutional thinking. I highly recommend it for individuals at middle-management who aspire to senior executive positions. The ideas in the course can help the individual avoid pitfalls in making the transistion, and provide a process framwork for engaging others in the organization.
Date published: 2011-06-08
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