Another day, another prediction. Election season means endless punditry, but who is best at predicting the future? In a recent NPR “On the Media” interview University of Pennsylvania professor Philip Tetlock, author of Superforecasting, says all predictions are not created equal.
Over many years, Tetlock and his colleagues ran a large-scale experiment in forecasting called the Good Judgment Project, which trained and tracked the performance of over 2,000 individuals, and systematically evaluated the factors that lead to better forecasting behaviors. The takeaway: Foxes make better predictors than hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs are people who predict based on their firm belief in what they see as a few fundamental truths. Foxes draw on diverse threads of evidence and ideas. Foxes are also more likely to adjust their forecasts when new information surfaces; hedgehogs often discount new data that contradicts what they think they already know.
We have talked about selective perception often in our courses. After we create a belief theory about another person, we too often fail to notice new data that could contradict our belief about the individual. That’s dangerous hedgehog living!
We want to hear: Do you consider yourself a fox or a hedgehog? How adept do you think you are at forecasting the future? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion