Bad news for Brits. It seems that people are willing to spend more time in a queue if they’ve already been standing around for a while in the line – even if there are other better options available.

New research by US scientists has shown that humans, as well as rats, will follow through on bad decisions rather than change their approach. The desire to cling onto the hope that the effort already spent will not be wasted clouds our ability to make the right choice.

You can see this phenomenon in action in business, not just in queues. Nokia’s decline and fall, for instance, was driven in part by management’s continued focus and investment in its clunky and underperforming Symbian smartphone software when other, far better options were available. Similarly, Kodak’s demise can be linked to its continued investment in chemical film processing and its unwillingness to change its business model to the new digital reality.

What about your business? Where are you doubling down on bad decisions when, deep down, you know you should be ignoring the investment already made and making a new decision?


Off The Record: Hungry Heart by Bruce Springsteen


Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack

I went out for a ride, and I never went back

Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowing

I took a wrong turn and I just kept going


© Stuart Cross 2018. All rights reserved.