I am including here a link to an interesting and thought-provoking article called “How to Make a Decision on Just About Anything: by Craig Reid, CEO of the Process Improvement Group.
I commented on his article as follows:
As Señor Wences might have said “Easy for you, difficult for us”
Making the right decisions has hurdles every step of the way.
- All options – the ones to worry about are the ones you did not think of.
- Eliminate all options that don’t work – you often don’t know if an option will work/not work until you try it. Going down multiple garden paths takes time and money.
- List your criteria – good move, but who says the criteria you list are in your or your corporation’s best interest?
- Give the criteria weightings – again, good idea. But how do you do this non-subjectively, taking into account risk, uncertainty? Not easy to be certain about uncertainty.
- Review all options from the start – you can loop again and again and make the same errors/omissions each time. No guarantee any of this advances your ability to make a good decisions. The best advice here is ‘include what you forgot to include’.
- Adding up the scores – somewhat less difficult but consider the number of spreadsheets out there with faulty calculation rules that are being used to “steer the ship”.
Donald Rumsfeld did a pretty good job of highlighting what needs to be considered when making decisions.
I would have loved to have been there to see the expressions on the faces of those who were present when he said the following:
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know”
When we examine some of the bad decisions made over time by governments and industry, it’s clear there is a fourth category that needs to be considered i.e. “unknown knowns”, which is information we have (somewhere) but may not be available to us at the time we need it.
Get a good handle on all four categories and you have the basis for making good decisions.