Chris Croft's Personal Blog

February 6, 2010

Should we regret our mistakes?

Filed under: Managing People, News and Politics — chriscroft @ 12:51 pm

There has been so much muddled thinking concerning theTony Blair / IRAQ / WMD enquiry

It seems to me that there are two separate questions that are getting muddled up:

Question 1 – If you had to make that same decision again, only knowing what you knew then, would you make the same one?

Question 2 – If you had known then what you know now, would you have done it?

For most of us who thought at the time that Saddam probably did have WMDs, the answers would be 1: Yes 2: No, so it’s very hard to give a good answer if the two questions are muddled up.  when Blair is answering Q1 with Yes (and it is Q1 they are asking since Q2 is pretty pointless) then the papers can easily accuse him of answering Q2 with a Yes, which is much more controversial.

Of course, it’s possible that Blair would answer Yes to Q2, and maybe he did already know then that there were no WMDs but still wanted to get Saddam for whatever reason.  But that’s not what this article is about.

My point is that if you take a risk in business, say you have a 90% chance of winning but in fact the 10% comes up, you may be accused of making the wrong decision (Q2) but actually, if you think about Q1, the answer should be “I regret nothing and would do the same thing again”.  Or at least you may well regret the outcome (which could even be the death of people!) but not the decision-making process: you would make the same decision again if you had the same information and the same odds next time.

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