I’ve just read a good book about decision making called, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Business by brothers Chip and Dan Heath.
I thought it worth summarizing 4 lessons I took from the book since if you’re considering a change of careers and you’re trying to narrow in on the one that is right for you, you’ll know already that decisions like these aren’t binary.
In other words, each decision has a consequence that might be unintended but you know that its worth going down that route since it will pay back the most dividends further down the line.
The writers lay out the following four steps that should be included in the decision making process:
- Consider at least two robust options for every decision.
- Don’t be afraid of “firing” yourself and removing yourself from the decision making process. Doing so can allow the hypothetical question to be asked as to what your “successor” would do in the same situation.
The book gives the example of the mid-1980s when Intel’s Andy Grove managed to break the company’s indecision of how to allocate resources and whether it should move its investment from the firm’s well established memory chips business into the emerging microprocessors sector.
By asking what his successor would do were he fired allowed an objective decision to be made and one which placed it at the center of the new industry for the years ahead.
- Set an ultimatum so if a team or company goal is not achieved then by X time in the future then it should revert to a plan B.
Despite our high convictions, the book points out that our predictions are often incorrect. Research has shown that 40% of doctors who are 100% sure of their assessment of patient illnesses are actually wrong. By introducing a deadline for the desired outcome it forces us to “divorce” ourselves from what we are aiming for.