Tough Questions

Daniel Kahneman explores the perils of confidence in deliciously insightful detail here for the New York Times.

One point was particularly intriguing for advisors. How many times do clients “who face a difficult question often answer an easier one instead”? And how often do we advisors help them dumb down the issue into one we can quickly resolve?

Think about it. The tough question: “Why are we failing to close new business at the rate we used to?” morphs to “How can we re-tool our website to attract more clients?”

Or, “Our revenue is down across the board—how can we grow sales?” becomes “What can we eliminate to reduce costs?”

It’s an advisor’s job to ferret out the hard questions. To be sure they see the light of day. It’s not to simply address the presenting issue (although we must do that also), but to thoughtfully deal with the real truth.

Now if we could only get our politicians to try this.


  • You have to be saying this “tongue in cheek” Rochelle. To get our current set of politicains in office to admit to anything negative is simply never going to happen. I have become so disallusioned with the current group inside the beltway. I believe the only way to get us back on track is to remove and replace every elected official in the House and Senate. Newly elected officials go to D. C. with good rhetorical intentions. Then they meet incumbents and their position changes to “WIIFM”.

  • I like the reference to pols and thought of it while reading before I got to the close. Fact is, they look to cut necessary programming and services rather than at initiatives that grow revenues and probably make more sense.

  • Ed and Corey,
    Thanks for your thoughts! Growth vs cutbacks feels like the way to go….

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