Business leaders need to prioritize diversity as a top company goal, not as a scattershot reaction to pressure from customers and employees

Coauthored with Susan Alban, Chief People Officer at Renegade Partners

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Diversity goals and business goals are inextricably linked; diversity translates into better business results and more innovation. Yet, we have seen that increasing pressure to address diversity concerns from customers, employees, and the general public has resulted in executive teams responding quickly and acting out of fear, without a clear, comprehensible rationale rooted in the needs of the organization. Without this grounding, their efforts have been reactive and scattershot, and will likely lack the stickiness we know is necessary to enact long-term systemic change.

For changes in the employer-employee relationship…

The Democrats’ obsession with the Rust Belt doesn’t make sense in 2020

Joe Biden visits an aluminum manufacturing facility in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Photo: Jim Watson/Getty Images

On December 22, 2001, Richard Reid boarded American Airlines flight 63 from Paris to Miami. During the flight, Reid took a match to his shoes in an unsuccessful attempt to ignite the explosives hidden in them, earning him the infamous moniker, “the shoe bomber.” Reid’s attempt to bring down an airliner with his shoes may have earned him a life sentence, but it also earned the rest of us a lifetime of taking off our shoes every time we go through airport security.

That X-raying our shoes is still a thing 20 years after Reid boarded that flight offers a…

A professional poker player’s advice for optimizing outcomes

Woman aiming with a bow and arrow at a target.
Woman aiming with a bow and arrow at a target.
Photo: hobo_018/Getty Images

Most decisions are ultimately a guess. You can’t be certain that anything you do will lead to a specific outcome, and you can’t know the exact likelihood of any outcome at all. Part of becoming a better decision-maker is shifting your mindset about guessing.

I may be a professional poker player, but I approach decision-making the way an archer thinks about a target.

Archery isn’t all or nothing, where you get points only for hitting the bull’s-eye and everything else is a miss. An archer gets points for hitting the target at all. Decision-making is similar. …

Companies don’t have the luxury of waiting for a stable decision-making environment

Illustration: Shira Inbar

Prior to the pandemic, I had been advising a business on forecasting their projected revenue based on their sales pipeline. This involved meticulously reviewing their leads to determine both the size of the potential sale and the likelihood the sale would close in order to calculate the expected value of each lead, then turning these into a weighted average that could serve as a more accurate and reliable forecast of projected revenue.

After the pandemic hit, I went back to them to ask if they had made adjustments to the forecasts I’d helped them create. They hadn’t. “There’s too much…

Should we wait for more certainty about COVID-19 before taking drastic measures?

In a recent piece called “A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data”, Stanford researcher John Ioannadis has suggested that we should pump the brakes on drastic measures like lockdowns until we have more certainty about the course of COVID-19. Cognitive psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer has suggested that we might be overreacting to the pandemic in the same way that we overreact to the vivid-but-uncommon threat of terrorism. What if COVID-19 turns out to be less deadly than the…

World champion poker player, Annie Duke, on “Thinking in Bets”

Humans seem hard-wired to seek credit and deflect blame. Instead, congratulate yourself for leveraging a learning opportunity others will miss.

Photo Credit:ivanmateev

Phil Ivey is one of those guys who can easily admit when he could have done better. Ivey is one of the world’s best poker players, a player almost universally admired by other professional poker players for his exceptional skill and confidence in his game. Starting in his early twenties, he built a reputation as a top cash-game player, a top tournament player, a top heads-up player, a top mixed-game player — a top player in every form and format of poker. …

In light of #WorldMentalHealthDay theme of mental health in the workplace. I wanted to share my post about how resets predict when we look for a new job.

Did you know job search activity jumps after class reunions, birthdays, and work anniversaries, and actually declines after work-related feedback like bonuses and performance reviews?

Imagine overhearing this conversation: Person 1 asks, “Are you happy?” Person 2 responds, “Compared to whom?”

If you are the first person, you probably think that response is not a good sign. If you are the second person, however, that response is actually pretty reasonable. For all…

The situation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria has been dire. The lack of electricity has made it difficult to broadcast all the details, but what we already know is undeniably, horribly bad. BuzzFeedNews correspondent Vera Bergengruen (@verambergen) tweeted on September 26, from a Pentagon source, “Approximately 44% of the population of Puerto Rico is without drinking water. Eleven of 69 hospitals have fuel or power.” …

I recently visited the Lake Placid Olympic Museum and saw a quote from Eric Heiden, arguably the greatest athlete in the history of the Winter Olympics:

My goal was always to cross that finish line with nothing left, and if I did that, I really didn’t care what anybody else had done. I had been successful, I had satisfied my desire to do well at this race, and if it was a gold medal, it was great; if it was tenth place, it was just as good because I’d learn something about my ability.

That is a particularly remarkable thing…

I recently read an interesting opinion piece from Tom Nichols about Americans seem to be unable to talk to each other about politics or current events. The title of the article, sums up the starting point of his analysis: “Americans are now utterly intolerant of ever being told they’re wrong about almost anything“. Nichols starts with the sound behavioral argument for our information intolerance: confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is our tendency to process information in ways that agree with what we already believe. …

Annie Duke

Author of Thinking in Bets and How to Decide. Co-founder of The Alliance for Decision Education

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store