Dilbert does Availability Bias

All aboard!


As promised Dilbert now starts your guided tour through uncharted decision making territory with guaranteed dangerous animal sightings. The first animal you will encounter in this jungle is the availability bias known for razor sharp focus with the deadly bi-effect of tunnel vision – basically where you put your flashlight will be crystal clear, but everything right outside the light will completely disappear.


Availability bias is your tendency to routinely overlook important pieces of information in both assessment and decision phases, because you are too focused on where your flashlight is – the closest bias family members are your low ability to see small changes over time, notice information different from your expectations and properly weigh importance of information that does not come easily to mind. You can recognize the animal, when you feel like “why didn’t I see that” and actually inspect a sample of the species here from the safety of your own home: http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/videos.html – Check out the video before you read on!


WYSIATI – What You See Is All There Is – is probably not the best acronym in the world, but it describes well the situation that Blockbuster found itself in, when the largest global video rental company kept investing in brick and mortar right before filing for bankruptcy. And it is no surprise, because the danger is fourfold, as you tend to fail in seeing, seeking, using AND sharing the relevant information.


Now remember a razor sharp focus is not a bad thing in itself – in fact many businesses have been extremely successful from doing that one thing different: The digital version of x, the sustainable equivalent of y, the healthy alternative to z etc. But those rare but critical decisions deserve a little extra😊


If you are in a hurry a good trick in strategy is to use stretch targets to really put traditional thinking under pressure, but if you are looking at a full blown strategy try megatrend analysis. After creating hundreds of strategies this is still the most powerful way of quickly creating powerful insight.


Identify the current megatrends and research where your industry is impacted by each of them to find key themes in your industry for the next decade. This will also reveal some critical scenarios, where there is no clear direction, so you need to decide, where to place your bets (No, strategy is not about certainty of success – it is about maximizing the odds). Finally, make sure to follow key indicators of the different critical scenarios to allow you to pivot in case something changes while you are executing…


Remember this animal alone has a 16% chance of killing your strategy, and in the next weeks you will meet four other animals with a combined strategy destruction capability of 70%. If you have already ventured too far into the strategy jungle and are hanging by the edge of your seat to handle these animals now, contact me at brian@behaviouralstrategygroup.com or +45-23103206.

Stay safe…

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