In the first of the series, I shared my two favorite decision-making frameworks, Cynefin for deciding what type of decision you are making and WRAP to walk through a process to make an optimal decision. This is the sixth in the series and fourth on WRAP – Prepare to be Wrong.
It is inevitable. We are going to be wrong. Especially if we are looking to scale our companies or grow ourselves. You have to try new things, push the envelope, stretch outside of your comfort zone which leads to messing up now and again. Here are some great ideas from the Heath brothers about preparing to be wrong from their book Decisive.
The mission: To avoid being overconfident about the way our decisions will unfold and, instead, taking the opportunity to plan for both good and bad potential scenarios.
Core Ideas: The most important tools to keep in mind
- Bookend the future.
- Run a pre-mortem and pre-parade.
- Use a safety factor.
- Create a “realistic job preview.”
- Set a tripwire.
- Use “pattern-matching” tripwires.
Here are a few examples from the list above.
Run a pre-mortem and pre-parade. Run a pre-mortem for your decision: It’s a year from now and the decision was a disaster. Why did it fail? (Note that if you’re doing the pre-mortem with colleagues, don’t share answers until everyone has brainstormed on their own.) Then, later, run a pre-parade: It’s a year from now and our decision is a huge success. How did we do it? Make sure to consider these negative and positive bookends separately—that will help you surface more of the relevant issues on each pole.
Set a tripwire. Imagine that your organization is someday used as an example of the “frog who doesn’t jump out of the pot of boiling water” cliché. You got stuck in a slowly changing environment that eventually killed you. If that were true, why would it be? What industry forces do you need to keep an eye on? Can you encourage your team to set the right tripwires?
Use a safety factor. People tend to be overconfident. They think their plans will go more smoothly—and unfold more quickly—than usually happens. Probe to see if they can prepare to be wrong by giving themselves a buffer. Can they build in some extra slack in the schedule? Can they keep some powder dry in their budget in case things go wrong?
Enjoy this great video (7 mins) from Daniel Kahneman illustrating the Planning Fallacy (and pre-mortem) which shows how we can be overconfident even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
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Bill – Certified Growth Coach
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