Quick Links to Articles on Decision-Making

This page provides a brief introduction to certain aspects of the process of making decisions. In truth, it feels somewhat arbitrary to split out questioning from decision-making as the questions we ask shape the decisions we make, so please do check out this page on questioning tools and techniques.

What exactly is a problem? It feels like some form of challenge or impasse we have decided we need to overcome. Whilst there may be a literal problem (my car won’t start), how we frame it conceptionally (my car needs to be fixed, I need another means of transport, this really isn’t my problem, I have other priorities) will condition our next steps.

> Want to rethink your problems?

In truth, we are always deciding. It may thus be best to think of decision-making as an ongoing process rather like breathing.

In much the same way as when we notice we are breathing, there are times when we notice we are making decisions.

More often than not, we simply notice the decisions and rarely delve into how those decisions truly got made.

What might the ingredients have been?

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We make decisions all day every day. Some will matter in 10 minutes, some in 10 months. How do we distinguish and decide accordingly?

Here are a series of guidelines and heuristics I have found helpful in approaching decisions. Remember:

  • Guidelines are like signposts. Just because they are there doesn’t mean we have to follow them.
  • Heuristics are shortcuts. All shortcuts are helpful until they aren’t. Sometimes they add value, sometimes they don’t.

The art of decision-making is in knowing the difference!

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This elegant questioning technique – which I also call Stakeholdering – is about shifting our perspective and, in so doing, sit in other people’s chairs and see the world as they see it.

By doing so, we foster empathy and compassion, recognizing that people have different perspectives based on what they see.

Imagine you are sitting at a boardroom table. Everyone has a different perspective. They are seeing different things. The invitation is to move around the table both physically and metaphorically.

> See how it works!

Decision coaching is not just about making choices. It is about understanding the why, how and when behind each decision and thereby training ourselves to make more impactful decisions over time.

While many of us lean on familiar models like GOFER, real-world decisions, especially in organisations, are complex. They are influenced by a host of factors including past actions, other stakeholders and even power dynamics.

Decision coaching allows us to step into a different thinking environment, in which we can look at possible decisions through fresh lenses and ensure they stay aligned with the bigger pictures in which they sit.

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Beginner’s Mind. Imagine you are “8“.

Embrace the uninhibited curiosity of an 8-year-old to rethink your products, services, strategies or even life. This child-like perspective helps simplify complex ideas, allowing for clearer communication and decision-making. Let go of what you think you know and open yourself up to what you don’t understand.

Embrace ignorance – don’t let what you know cloud what you don’t know.

Don’t shy away from ‘silly questions’ as they often lead to profound insights. Remember, 8-year-olds question without judgment, see connections adults overlook and make fewer (or at least different) assumptions. Their unique perspective can spark innovation and challenge hidden biases, fostering a fresh and creative approach to problem-solving.

Sometimes the most complex challenges can benefit from the simplest and most innocent perspectives. This questioning technique is one of the simplest in theory and yet can be hard to apply in practice until people feel free to give it a go.