Moving from the Spreadsheet to Irrational Logic

Logic is a powerful tool. With the development of our massive neocortex we have the ability to use logic instead of emotion alone. This trend begins with the Greeks and goes right on through the Age of Reason to where we are today.

Most of the time we believe that logical decisions are better than emotional decisions. This is why major corporations and large companies have professionalized the purchasing process. They want to make sure that their buyers won’t (and can’t) make an emotional (or from their view, irrational) buying decision. Someone with a deep relationship built on trust and caring might be able to command a higher price than their competitor. That deep relationship is perceived as a threat to the buying company’s profitability. Paying a higher price is irrational.

The spreadsheet is intended to be logical and rational. Buying organizations determine the criteria in weight that criteria to make rational decisions. Emotions and intuition are seen as weakness, something less than logic. But this isn’t true. There is another form of logic at work in relationships, even commercial relationships.

Let’s call this type of logic irrational logic. It isn’t subject to a decision tree. You can’t embed it in a spreadsheet. It’s full of emotions and intuition.

  • Think about the most important decisions you make in life. Think about who you choose to marry. Did you create a spreadsheet with weighted criteria? Love is totally irrational.
  • Think about where you choose to live? What criteria was most important to you as you made that decision? Was it about how you were going to feel? Was it about the quality of your life? Was your choice of where to live the A-column in the spreadsheet you created?
  • The last time you made a buying decision, was how much you trusted the seller and the company you bought from an important factor in making that purchase? It used to be that you trusted big companies. Now even size and brand are greeted with skepticism–at best.

Things like trust and caring are important. They are an irrational form of logic. You may not be able to objectively identify and weight the criteria on the spreadsheet but there is something inside you that Intuit when someone is trustworthy, when someone truly cares about you, when someone is going to make a good partner, and when you should do business with them.

Spreadsheets are not the very best way to make decisions. Just like a pre-employment screening, they are one tool you can use to get one view of a decision. But that tool is not in any way superior to your irrational logic, that logic you feel in your heart and in your gut.

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