How To Decide
Decisions decisions. There are good ones and bad ones.
Sometimes the judgement of “good” or “bad” is subjective. In other cases, things seem clear. In 1962 a fellow named Dick Rowe at Decca Records decided to pass on a deal after listening to a 15-track audition tape created by a new guitar group. Dick asserted that guitar groups were on their way out and left the group for EMI to sign instead. The tape was recorded by The Beatles.
Bad decision, right?
Well, The Beatles story wasn’t so clear at the time of the decision itself. Things became apparent only after the decision was made.
So how do we decide what to decide when outcomes are unknown?
One approach is to consider the Ds surrounding the decision:
Deliberation is the notion of conscious intention + careful consideration. Why are we making the decision in the first place? What’s the criteria for the decision? Why do we care? It’s a safe place to start and is characterized by questions more than answers.
Pro/con analysis. Considering multiple perspectives. Closely looking at opposing views. Imagining potential outcomes. This is important when multiple people are involved in the decision. Genuine participation fosters buy-in and activation (and usually better decision-making).
Arriving at a conclusion. The decision itself.
Outwardly stating the decision and the logic surrounding the decision. This is important when leading teams. The declaration clarifies, solidifies intentions and coalesces energy and focus. But follow-through is key.
Acting upon the decision.
Learning from each decision, decision-making process and the associated outcomes. Optimizing for next time.
We might be prone to conflate most of the above and think of decision-making as one big singular act at a precise moment. But decision-making is a process where the decision itself is only a subset.