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The Tip of the Iceberg

An iceberg might symbolize what you know and do not know. It is well known that about 90% of an iceberg is hidden and that the hidden part is the dangerous part. This represents what you do not know—the part that is often the most consequential. What you know is the iceberg’s visible part, and therefore it is the most influential and often deceptive. It can deceive you into thinking you know a lot, yet you may know only 10%.

Applied to decision making, the iceberg metaphor tells us that what we do not know about the possible outcome of any decision (the hidden part) is almost always more than what we do know (the visible part). For example:


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