I was watching ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ this week.
And one chap that had £125,000 didn’t know the answer to a ‘2-choices-remaining’ question.
If he got it right, he jumped to £250,000.
If he got it wrong, he dropped £93,000 to his safety net of £32,000.
And because this guy didn’t understand how groups of people react to questions they don’t actually know the answer to.
He asked the audience.
What’s The Question?
Here’s why he lost.
One of the answers ‘sounded’ much more feasible than the other.
And when that happens, it’s a big problem.
It’s a big problem because the contestant thought Jeremy Clarkson was asking the audience this question:
“Which of these two answers is right?”
But Jeremy wasn’t.
Jeremy was actually asking the audience this question:
“Which of these two answers do you know is right, or if you don’t know, which do you think sounds most right?”
And because most people didn’t know the answer.
81% of them chose the answer that sounded most feasible.
81% of them were wrong.
And £93,000 was lost.
Simply because the contestant didn’t understand how groups of people react to questions they don’t actually know the answer to.
‘This’ is Wrong.
This happens in board rooms every day.
Groups of business leaders explore with (allegedly!) experienced and expert marketers and brand builders like myself.
Whether they should do ‘this’ or ‘that’.
And if ‘this’ simply sounds like it could be more right than ‘that’.
Like it ‘worked for them’ so it might just ‘work for us too’.
They choose ‘this’.
Boring, boring ‘this’.
When ‘this’ is wrong.
And the expertly crafted – but unfamiliar, braver and slightly more scary ‘that’ – is right
Group-think compounds the problem, of course.
And the business is dead.
How to Win.
In this over-communicated, oversupplied world of ours.
In order to win you don’t do what others have already done.
You do what others dare not do.
And in addition.
It is just as important to remember this.
Amongst those that don’t really know the answer.
Whether that be in business, life, or who Wants To Be a Millionnaire.
It is very often the case that the answer that sounds most right.