Repost – Choices Vs. Decisions and Working Through Multiple Options

Reposting an older blog post I like from a Sutton Enterprises’ internal team blog area.

April 2014 
Choices Vs. Decisions and Working Through Multiple Options

4/1/2014 This is not an April Fool’s joke, rather will help us all be less of fools… 🙂

I came across a posting from Nov. 1, 2013 by John Cameron about making better business decisions that I liked: http://www.rock-solid-business-coach.com/better-business-decisions It emphasizes the relationship and difference between choices and decisions. It  reminded me of something I’ve tried to follow since my early days at Beloit College.

I like to say “You have Choices. You may not always like the choices you have, but you do have choices.” The concept of your choices leading decisions is important. For example, choosing to do nothing can lead to a decision by default and it may not be one in your best interest.

This approach can be enhanced by incorporating a concept in science called “multiple working hypotheses” (note 1) or in lean development called “set-based development” (note 2) that can apply to most aspects of life. The methods are closely related and involve having a set of concepts that you work through. You don’t pick one, rather you focus on evaluating the group of ideas and eliminating ones that don’t meet your needs / criteria / set of requirements, then you refine or combine ones that meet most or some. Repeat! Your set gradually narrows and you make your choice at the latest point you need to make a decision.

No matter how short or long of a time you have to make the decision, the choice you make will address at least some your needs and interests. You end up with better and faster decisions because you don’t spend the time and rework involved in starting over when you decide without considering the options and it fails.

Notes:
1. T.C. Chamberlain. Science. 1890 see: http://arti.vub.ac.be/cursus/2005-2006/mwo/chamberlin1890science.pdf
2. Durward K. Sobek, Allen C. Ward, Jeffrey k. Liker “Toyota’s Principle of Set-Based Concurrent Engineering” Sloan Management Review 1999. see: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/toyotas-principles-of-setbased-concurrent-engineering/

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© 2014. Sutton Enterprises Inc.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tricia Sutton, PMP  is an innovator. As the leader of Sutton Enterprises Inc., she has been able to instigate strategic change in not-for-profits looking to improve their practices and performance. Tricia works relentlessly to be on the cutting edge of knowledge and technology, including authoring and co-authoring many articles and serving as a volunteer in professional associations.

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