Difficult Decisions, and How To Make Them Better.

"Nothing comes to my desk that is perfectly solvable,” said Barack Obama “Otherwise, someone else would have solved it. So you wind up dealing with probabilities. Any given decision you make you’ll wind up with a 30 to 40 percent chance that it isn’t going to work. You have to own that and feel comfortable with the way you made the decision."

There is only one President of the USA, but for most business leaders and executives the same sentiment applies. Our decisions may not have an impact on global security, the safety of our military or the economy as a whole...but they could impact job security and growth prospects in our companies. And just like Obama we expect the simple decision to be made before they reach our desk so the decisions we have to make are normally complex, uncertain, tricky, balanced and nuanced. As Obama says, there is likely to be some percentage chance that our decision could be wrong. So why do we treat the process of decision making as if it was a simple, certain Yes/No answer?

In board or team meetings we all ask for views and opinions of course - we think of it as good practice. But we ask as if the question was a 0% or 100% certainty question...which we know it is not. Let's use a sports question to show the mistakes we make, and how to avoid them.

So let's assume the big question crossing my desk today is Who Is The Greatest Sportsman Of All Time: Pele, Muhammad Ali or Roger Federer?  

1. First off I call a team meeting so I can hear the views of everyone. Tom and Sarah give loud and passionate arguments for Pele; John speaks eloquently for Federer. The rest of the team listen but don't (seem to) have strong views. I've been persuaded by Tom and Sarah - it's Pele....but I don't really know what everyone thinks - I trust my whole team, do I really want to ignore the views of the quiet thinkers?

2. So I call a raise of hands vote: 2 vote Pele, 4 vote Ali, 3 vote Federer. Ali it is then..... But as Obama said, this isn't a 0% or 100% question, it's more nuanced than that. Surely it would help to know how strongly everyone felt about each choice?

3. So now I ask them to give a score (say a % rating) of each of their merits to be classed as the greatest. Pele gets an average score of 74%, Ali 71%, Federer 78%. I nearly made a mistake, but I know now - Federer is the greatest of all time..... But why do my team think Federer, and do I agree with their reasons?

4. Finally I ask them what factors mattered in deciding who was the greatest of all time. For some it was Trophies and Titles Won, others said Longevity, one person said Popularity. Other key factors were Global Impact, Skill, Strength and Courage. Some I agreed were important factors, others less so. Now I understand the arguments behind their choices, I can make my decision - actually it's Michael Jordan!

At Somymu.Pro ("So Make Your Mind Up") we passionately believe that complex decision making can be done much better in business and life. Using our tool we allow all your teams voices to be heard equally (solving problem 1). We let you know how strongly people feel about the choices (problem 2) and why (problem 3). Most of all you get to see, hear and compare their results quickly and easily while retaining the richness of the debate (solution 4).

Where did people agree and where did their views differ? Who's contrary view on a factor do you want to hear more about? How has the opinion changed over time? All this and much more is available in our real time results analysis for your questions, debates and decisions.

All of this is done in an app that is quick and easy to use. At Somymu.Pro we call it 3D Decision Making. Set up your question and the possible choices. Dimension 1 is the list of key factors to consider in making the decision. Dimension 2 is the relative importance of those factors. Dimension 3 is the score you give each choice for those factors. Do this all real-time, with immediate feedback (from one to one million participants), to facilitate better discussion and debate of your tricky questions. Wrapped up in an easy to use, attractive app there is a no better way to help you  make better decisions for your business.

Look around our website to find out more. We're offering a free 30 day trial to try it out with no commitment, or contact us for a demo and to discuss your bespoke enterprise needs.