Saturday, April 05, 2014

Decisive: no more pros and cons lists (3 of 5)

The second of four steps in a decision making process that should replace pros/cons in your life!! This is from a summary I wrote for work colleagues a little while ago.

Reality-test your assumptions

1. Spark constructive disagreement:
  • Best practice for executives to assign a few people on the leadership team to prepare a case against a high-stakes proposal. (pg 97)
  • When too much arguing in a meeting, take each option and ask, “What would have to be true for this option to be the right answer?” (pg 99)
2. Asking the right questions of proponents of an option:
  • If a non-hierarchical culture/situation, ask probing, disconfirming questions in meetings i.e. Not “what do you think about this option?”, rather “What problems does it have?”
  • If there’s a power dynamic, ask open-ended questions like “what do you think about this option?”
3. Considering the opposite: give people permission to make a deliberate mistake (leaders consciously decide to try something that’s expected to fail if you see a high potential of learnings/benefits)

4. Zoom out: look at the averages or base-rates for results of a situation/decision like yours. Believe them. NOTE: use outside experts for learning about past/present! Do NOT use experts for an opinion about your decision and the future outcome!!)

5. Zoom in: look at decision/option close-up for texture and what’s missing from averages (i.e. instead of just reading reports/reviews, try a competitor’s product for a while)

6. Ooch (“little bets”, or “rapid prototyping”): run small experiments to test our theories. NOTE: This is best for situations where we genuinely need more information and not for situations that require commitment i.e. give potential hires a trial run, but this wouldn’t apply to Army boot camp. Or, the 25-year-old who wonders about marine geology degree from college should ooch, but the guy who knows he needs an M.A. degree but dreads going back should not ooch.

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