Russian roulette with mink

BSG roulette is like Russian roulette but with five bullets aimed at your foot

The Danish government just played BSG roulette with the mink farms – It is an even more exciting game than Russian roulette, as five out of six chambers in the revolver hold a bullet aimed at your foot. Each bullet is named after the five reasons strategy fail and their accompanying biases. How do you think the government fared?


Well, firstly it is important to understand the full context and options available, so you need to get all the right insights and experts to the table to avoid availability bias – the bias where you tend to only look at what you already know. In this case a small group of politicians from just one party with limited real life experience got together without consulting anyone. BANG – first shot in the foot!

Secondly, the actual decision needs to be unbiased, so it is important to either come to the table with no prior agendas and no one holding a particular power position or facilitate your way out of that, as you want to avoid confirmation bias – the bias where the solution is already conceived and everybody is only looking for confirming evidence. In this case our group of politicians have been accused of wanting to remove the mink industry for years and their leader had several times pushed other things through without the direct reports understanding why. BANG – another bullet hole in the foot…

Thirdly, when executing you need to align competencies including organization, processes, systems and governance with your new strategy. It might seem obvious, but overconfidence can easily get you to jump directly to march orders and suddenly hit a roadblock. Here our politicians were quick to issue the order to kill off all the mink only to find a few days later, that they were breaking the law. BANG – a pattern is starting to emerge here…

Fourthly, during execution you need adequate follow through to avoid emotional bias such as status quo, where under uncertainty you tend to stay where you are (which makes a lot of sense). Our group of politicians executed this fast and furiously, so a relaxing and satisfactory CLICK.

Finally, particularly with big decisions you need to prepare for external change – new knowledge, stakeholder reactions etc. – and be ready to roll with it. This is no easy feat, as your often public commitment to a course of action also means a loss of face, if you suddenly change it. You are about twice as focused on avoiding losses than obtaining equivalent gains. In this case many of the researchers and scientists the government should have consulted in the first step were quick to warn against the decision, but so far the government has stood their ground. BANG!

So four shots in the foot in the government’s decision process – expect to see some limping around. If you would like to avoid severe foot pain from your business decisions, get in contact…

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