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How to Decide 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:

  1. Deliberation: 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
  2. Debate: 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)
  3. Decision: Arriving at a conclusion. The decision itself
  4. Declaration: 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
  5. Doing: Acting upon the decision
  6. Deliberation (again): 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.

What important decision(s) are you looking to make right now? Which D-words are most dominant in your mind? What’s next?

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Craig James
Craig Jameshttps://cat-strat.com/
Craig is a curious Writer, Conversationalist, Coach and Business Advisor. He believes the world can be a better place if we have the courage to conduct the conversations we need to have—and if we share wisdom and ideas with love and a spirit of abundance. He craves ideas. The serious credentials? Craig spent many years in the I.T. industry as an executive—leading business and technical teams. Unisys and Sun Microsystems (now Oracle) are on the list of companies for whom he’s worked. His experience has equipped him to bring insights as a Business Advisor and Strategist (via CatalystStrategies/Cat-Strat Services). Leadership, Business Development, and Strategic Planning are sweet spots. He also helps leaders-of-leaders tap their own wisdom via Executive Coaching. Coaching is quite the passion for him—and increasingly—his practice includes healthy doses of Career and Life Coaching (Who isn’t reevaluating and reinventing themselves these days—right?) Cat-Strat, the firm, was founded in 2001. Currently, Craig is Co-President of the Northeastern Ohio Chapter of Conscious Capitalism. He and his business/life partner (Sue James) share the role. His most recent podcasting activity is as Host and Co-Executive Producer of “Big Audacious Idea”—a podcast about the greatest questions of the human experience. Hiking, guitar, skiing, golf, and reading are some of his favorite activities (not all at the same time), and indulging in exceptionally bad puns remains a persistent and irritating habit. Photo: David Allen Moss

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