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Old 11-02-2012, 04:18 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 78

Errors in Judgement - a critical thinking exercise

Lots of recent events have gotten me thinking about so called errors in judgement, and who's really at fault for any given bad decision, and how often what seems avoidable in hindsight really was.

While it's inspired by recent events, I don't want to make it about them - what I would like is for people to think back on a situation where THEY personally made an error in judgement, and whether or not they believe would make that same error again.

A few years back, as a blizzard was about to roll in to town, my DW and I made a decision to run to the store and pick up supplies for a few days and our upcoming NYE party. It was snowing, but not too bad, and with the weather reports, we were worried that we'd run out or not be able to get to the store for our NYE supplies before the blizzard cleared enough. While we were in the store, the blizzard began it's full assault, and we ended up with a perilous ride home that ended with the car in a snow bank, and us having to walk (with our at the time 3 yr old DS) a half mile or so back to our house in white out blizzard conditions with inadequate snow gear. And then the next day we had to walk back to our car and dig it out.

At the time we made the decision to go, it seemed like a good idea.
- They were predicting the storm would last for 3-4 days, and we might not be able to dig out for a couple days after that.
- the storm wasn't supposed to roll in until midnight or so, it was only early evening.
- the car had relatively new tires, only a few months old.
- we had chains for the car
- we're both Colorado natives who've been through multiple bad CO snowstorms.

Afterwards, though, the facts tell a much different story.
- The storm sped up and hit while we were in the store.
- The storm was pretty much over in 24 hours. It dumped a lot of snow, but it didn't keep dumping for days and days.
- the new tires on the car were replaced by my wife while I was out of town on business that summer, and it turns out the store sold her performance tires, not the all-weather tires I would have insisted on.
- the chains for the car turned out to be the chains for my old pickup truck. One of us, probably me, grabbed the wrong chains when we put them back in the car a few weeks earlier.

Looking back at it, given the same set of facts we had, my DW and I would make the same exact decision we made. However, we both acknowledge that there were a lot of little things that could have changed that decision and the ultimate outcome:

- the local weather forecasters were obviously wrong, or their data out of date.
- I should have double checked her decision on the tires.
- she should have double checked me on whether or not we had the right chains.
- we could have thrown a shovel and more snow gear in the car
- we didn't really need to be worried about how much food we had in the house. Our pantry is pretty well stocked, our big issue was that we would run out of some favorites.

In hindsight, it was a bad decision to go. But as I analyze it, it was not one big error, but lots of little tiny ones, by everyone. Now, I can admit all of my little errors in judgement, because no one is going to sue me or try and blame me over this event.

I could blame my wife for pressuring me to go, for not getting the right tires on the car and not double checking me on the chains. She could blame me for agreeing to go out in a snow storm with her, not double checking her on the tires, not getting the right chains, and since I was the driver, for ultimately being responsible for us ending up in a snowbank covered cutter.

We could both blame the weather forecasters for getting the storm wrong. We could blame each other for no shovel or snow gear. My son could blame all of us for all of the above.

But while we can toss all this blame around, what real purpose does it ultimately serve? Given the exact same set of circumstances, with the exact same knowledge and prior experience we had that evening, we would have made the same decision. Sure, we're to blame, but that doesn't mean we were wrong based on what we knew.

The next time the situation happens, we're not likely to repeat the mistake - but that has more to do with experience adding new information to the decision making process.

My point in this whole story is to get people thinking about their own errors of judgement that have led to bad events, and do some real critical analysis of all the little decisions that led up to things. Why did you make those decisions? What prior experiences did you have that influenced your decisions? How did they add up to things going bad?

Then really, truly ask yourself - would you have done the same thing given the same circumstances, knowledge and experience? Then ask yourself - if the circumstance popped up again, what did I learn the first time that would change my decision now?

I would love to hear some of your stories, and thoughts about your decisions. My reasoning behind this is that when we think and talk about our own decision processes, and critically analyze them, we really become more understanding of others.
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:26 PM   #2
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Sorry, but this has nothing to do with planning a DCL cruise or anything about DCL so I am moving it to the Community Board.

31 DCL Cruises and Counting!
Disney Magic - 19 times - Official Maiden Voyage July 30, 1998, Re-imagined Magic October 27, 2013
Disney Wonder - 5 times
Disney Dream - 5 times - Official Maiden Voyage January 26, 2011
Disney Fantasy - 2 times

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Old 11-02-2012, 06:57 PM   #3
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Sorry, I still think DCL was wrong and put staff and passengers through unneeded discomfort, at best, or risk, at worst.

Late Aug 2004, we were vacationing in Pompano Beach and anticipating meeting my parents in Ft Lauderdale as they returned from a cruise. Our return travel plans were linked to theirs and they were depending on our picking them up at the port. Watching the weather channel, we were tracking Hurricane Frances.

We were caught between "go home while we can" vs. "stay to meet Mom and Dad." The news suggested we make plans to go home but the folks weren't getting the same story from their ship. Their ship continued to make scheduled ports of call and insisted to their passengers that they intended to end the cruise at Ft. Lauderdale on time. My folks heard my interpretation of the weather, but they couldn't understand why I'd want to go home early when their ship said, "All is well."

Ultimately, we made a difficult decision. "Sorry Mom & Dad ... but we are leaving early. I don't believe you will arrive Ft. Lauderdale on time -- I'm pretty certain your ship will stay out of the way for an extra day or two. Be safe, love you -- but we are leaving Florida."

We were successful getting our flights re-booked out of Orlando instead of Ft. Lauderdale for "first thing tomorrow morning." As we packed our car, the hotel staff were going door to door asking people to prepare for evacuation. They had, kindly, arranged for alternate accommodations at a sister property farther inland, if needed.

MCO airport the following morning was extremely crowded. Lots of folks trying to secure seats on the few planes remaining. Ft. Lauderdale had already shut down ... we were extremely fortunate to have already booked our return flight. We were on one of the last planes out before MCO also shut down.

So what happened to poor Mom and Dad? Their ship redirected and took shelter in the Gulf. The ship returned to Ft. Lauderdale a couple days late -- but safe. Mom & Dad both reported having a marvelous time and feeling "safe" all along the journey.

* We did the right thing looking ahead a few days and making a tough decision.
* Good thing we acted early ... we got seats on the plane.
* The ship my folks were sailing on ultimately did the right thing by taking shelter in the Gulf away from the storm's path. Their passengers, while inconvenienced for flights, were safe and comfortable.

Wish DCL had done the same.
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