So far, we have looked at two phases of decision-making illustrated by two decision-making frameworks:
- Cynefin framework – Use to decide the type of decision; Simple, Complicated, Complex, Chaotic
- WRAP – Use to optimize the decision process.
- Widen your options
- Reality test your assumptions
- Attain distance BEFORE deciding
- Prepare to be wrong
This post is the second related to the WRAP framework – “W” – Widen Your Options. Here are the Mission and Core Ideas that were taken from the Decisive workbook from the Heath brothers.
Mission: To break out of a narrow frame and expand the set of options you consider
Core Ideas: The most important tools to keep in mind
- Expand your options.
- Consider the opportunity cost.
- Run the “vanishing options test.”
- Multitrack – think AND not OR.
- Toggle between the promotion and prevention mindsets.
- Find someone who has solved your problem.
- Try “laddering.”
Below, I offer a bit more depth on a three of these.
The Heath Brothers share a number of approaches to widen your options, here are a few you can try:
- If you are not sure if you have considered all the viable options, you can run the “Vanishing Options” test. That is, assume the option you are currently considering suddenly is no longer viable, ask yourself what you would do instead. The optimal way to do this with your team is to have each of them write one to two alternatives down and then share individually. I like to have folks put each idea on a stickie, stick them to a surface, group them by category, name the category and then discuss each grouping.
- Find someone else who has solved your problem. In most cases, someone with the circle of contacts you and your team have access to have run into this problem before. Also, there may be an analogous problem you have already solved in the past that you can apply here. I recommend the same brainstorming process as above. You may be surprised what you finally come up with.
- Lastly, consider the opportunity cost. People don’t naturally consider their opportunity costs. Ask them, “What’s the next best use of the resources you’re talking about spending?” Force them to push their spotlights around by asking about different domains: For instance, if they’re waffling about whether to spend time and resources on a specific project, ask what other ways they could spend the time and/or money if this upcoming project was not an option. Once you have come up with a few alternatives, you can determine which of these options is best.
These are just a few ways to widen your options. As humans our ideas are like children – none are so wonderful as our own. That means that we can get irrationally attached to our own ideas that can blind us from considering other options. Confirmation bias is an ever-present danger – we all do it. Sometimes we argue, unwittingly, to defend our ideas versus making sure we explore all viable options to reach our team goals.
Using the WRAP framework is a way to increase your chances of making an optimal decision. Reality check your options coming next in the series.
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