Decisions!

We all make hundreds – or even thousands, maybe millions – of them a day.

What to have for lunch? How to answer a question? What to watch on TV? Whether to keep reading a blog? But how do we make these decisions? It’s not surprising that so many great minds have pondered this question over the ages, since decision making is so fundamental to our species. Let’s just focus on the decisions we make in our work lives. These are the decisions that define our success or failure as professionals.

For leaders, decisions are arguably more important than those we make about whom to vote off the island when we’re watching trash reality TV. But in your experience, how many of them seem to be making strategic decisions in a reasoned, analytical way compared to the number just going by ‘gut feel’? Let’s face it: instinct is probably the prevalent decision-making framework in the corporate world, even if it’s dressed up with lots of spreadsheets and business cases. Luckily our unconscious minds are quite often right, but that’s another topic.

So, let’s say gut instinct is ruling the corporate world (to some extent), and we’re unlikely to change that since it’s inherently human to follow your intuition. Even in today’s age of data, leaders will still very often say they made a decision on ‘what felt right’. But what we’ve tried to do recently is augment that gut instinct with a little bit of ‘360’ thinking. Through TetraMap’s lens, that means approaching decisions (or at least trying to) from four perspectives:

  • Earth like a mountain is FIRM. I am decisive, results-oriented and FIRM.
  • Air like the wind is CLEAR. I am objective, analytical and CLEAR.
  • Water like a lake is CALM. I am caring, patient and CALM.
  • Fire like the sun is BRIGHT. I am fun-loving, enthusiastic and BRIGHT!

Let’s say you’re strongly Fire. You might struggle to channel a little Air.

But by taking the time to try to be ‘objective, analytical and clear’, you’ll bring a new dimension to your decision making. Then, looking at the problem through ‘caring, patient, and calm’ eyes, and then ‘decisive, results-oriented, and firm’ eyes, you’ll have a pretty clear perspective on the key issues – and you’ll probably uncover some new potential solutions.

By stopping and considering problems from perspectives you wouldn’t normally use, you’ll likely become more reasoned, analytical, considerate – and hopefully successful – in your decision making. That’s where we (and others) use TetraMap as a thinking framework for decision making.

Let’s try to consider a business ‘problem’: should we add a new product to the range? The thinking, from four different perspectives, could unfold something like:

 

Earth like a mountain is FIRM. I am decisive, results-oriented and FIRM.

What will we achieve from this new product? What are the outcomes?

Air like the wind is CLEAR. I am objective, analytical and CLEAR.

How will the product sit in parallel with what we already have?

Water like a lake is CALM. I am caring, patient and CALM.

What impact will this product have on our people?

Fire like the sun is BRIGHT. I am fun-loving, enthusiastic and BRIGHT!

How will we bring this product to life? How will it add value to customers?

That’s an oversimplification, of course, but it might help you to envisage the way that the ‘four different perspectives’ approach could be applied to problems.

You decide!

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