September 6

Inductive Reasoning – The Common Misunderstanding That Becomes a Minefield 

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In our last blog post we discussed the need to transform your culture by treating your employees as a new category of “customers.”  

Here’s a major challenge to doing that. Faulty inductive reasoning

Fundamentally, inductive reasoning is the science and art of developing probabilities based on the results of a sample and attributing those results to a larger population, i.e. what is true for the sample will be true for the whole. The accuracy of inductive reasoning is based on the source and intelligence of your assumptions and the size and appropriateness of your sample.

Inductive reasoning hurts you when you take too small a sample (like one event) and attribute the result to your entire population.

For example, you’re a boomer. You hire a millennial. He spends too much time playing video games. You fire him. You conclude that all millennials are lazy. You will never hire another one. You dramatically shrink the size of your talent pool. 

You’re a millennial, leading a tech company. You hire a boomer for a role in strategy development. He is slow to grasp the tech knowledge needed. You fire him. You conclude that all boomers are dinosaurs. Then, you find yourself disadvantaged because none of your employees have the needed wisdom to develop great strategies. 

That kind of simplistic, inductive behavior is normal for most people, most of the time. It comes into being whenever you don’t want to think more deeply. It becomes the cover story that justifies your unwillingness to act transformationally. You are leading by allowing the situation to define you, rather than you shaping the situation. It is NOT the way great leaders operate.  

What should you do?

In our next blog post we’ll take a deeper dive into how to use inductive reasoning in ways to improve the quality of your decision making while avoiding the minefield of mistakes that explode when you make decisions simplistically.

To explore more in upcoming posts, follow us at Axies Group on LinkedIn.


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