You Can Normally Halve It

I had a dental check-up today. The dentist and I were chortling about how infrequently grown-ups visit the chair of torment when he mentioned something remarkable.

You can normally halve it

…referred to how long people think it is since they last attended surgery. If they say it’s a year, then it’s likely been nearer two.

He didn’t say this in a Dr House “all patients lie” way, merely that time flies and people often lack any tangible reference point to pin down the precise lag from their previous consult.

I immediately wondered whether the same effect impacts prospects when they try and quantify an issue? I leant towards thinking that it indeed does.

In fact, it probably works both ways. A number is likely to be either halved or doubled.

Ask them how many hours they lose because of some bottleneck, or how much more productive they’d be if it were cleared, and these two phrasings of the question (experienced versus desired) could yield two wildly differing figures.

The trick is, you suspect, to be able to apply the Dentist’s Fix to them so that you sufficiently interrogate until the real amount emerges.

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