Our pre-judgment problem
Most of us can agree that picking a great team is one of the best ways to build a successful organization or project.The problem is that we're terrible at it.
The NFL Combine is a giant talent show, with a billion dollars on the line. And every year, NFL scouts use the wrong data to pick the wrong players (Tom Brady famously recorded one of the worst scores ever 17 years ago). Moneyball is all about how reluctant baseball scouts were to change their tactics, even after they saw that the useful data was a far better predictor of future performance than their instincts were.
And we do the same thing when we scan resumes, judging people by ethnic background, fraternity, gender or the kind of typeface they use.
The SAT is a poor indicator of college performance, but most colleges use it anyway.
Famous colleges aren't correlated with lifetime success or happiness, but we push our kids to to seek them out.
And all that time on social networks still hasn't taught us not to judge people by their profile photos…
Most of all, we now know that easy-to-measure skills aren't nearly as important as the real skills that matter.
Everyone believes that other people are terrible at judging us and our potential, but we go ahead and proudly judge others on the basis of a short interview (or worse, a long one), even though the people we're selecting aren't being hired for their ability to be interviewed.
The first step in getting better at pre-judging is to stop pre-judging.
This takes guts, because it feels like giving up control, but we never really had control in the first place. Not if we've been obsessively measuring the wrong things all along.