in Business, Life

Acknowledging what we already know, when making decisions

When making decisions, I’ve found it can be quite easy to get into a “bikeshedding” scenario, where the deciding parties lose track of the actual decision to be made. This can be internal, or within a group. Something I’ve found particularly useful and interesting recently is to acknowledge what we already know and how we already feel, as a way of helping the decision to progress to the next step (towards ultimately deciding).

Often times, we may already know what we want out of the decision, and may perhaps cloud those feelings with other feelings such as not wanting to cause the other decision makers to feel a certain way, to avoid a confrontation, or to not overcomplicate a decision. Unfortunately, this often overcomplicates a decision, hindering it from progression, which is the exact opposite of the intention.

If your choice is to “go out” or to “stay home”, you most likely already know how you feel. Perhaps the “complication” is that you’ve provisionally arranged to meet a friend for a coffee. It’s cold outside, and rain is approaching, so you’d really rather not venture into that. The heater and a warm blanket are calling to you. Acknowledging what you want is a great step. It doesn’t have to end there, though. By acknowledging that you’d rather stay home, this frees up space to progress to the next question, which could be “how do I feel about cancelling on my friend”. You most likely wouldn’t feel too great about that, so you may give yourself a little bit of a push, and go out and have a good time. You may also not be feeling too well, so you could stop feeling guilty about cancelling on your friend, as you have a clear reason to stay home.

I’ve found myself using this technique a lot with decision making, lately, as a way to get past the initial “small decision”, which I found I’ve almost always had a very clear stance on right out of the gate. In sharing this technique with others, I’ve found it’s helped them a lot as well, so I figured it’d make for an interesting discussion-starter on here.

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