“Be patient,” the salesman said. “I’m only on my third point – I’ve got nine more to go.”
Can you think of a better way to kill off a sale?
A radically different example comes out of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.
It was in 1983, when the two bitter adversaries had enormous nuclear armaments trained on each other. A software glitch mistakenly sent an alert to the Soviet duty officer, falsely warning that the U.S. had launched five missiles. There had been no such launch.
The Soviet officer decided any real attack would be a lot more serious, so he withheld any counterattack. Had he acted, there could have been nuclear war.
We project managers can relate to the student sales example; not so the missile one. But one factor in both illustrates a major point for us: the judgment of the decision-maker.