Decision Making Pitfalls
When we have a problem, an issue we are struggling with, and we ask for advice, the usual question of the problem solver is to ask: “what do you want?” As if you are really clear about what you want then the solution will be self-evident. Or to say it differently, your problem is because you don’t know what you want.
It is not necessarily so.
Many times we know clearly what we want and express it well, but for some reason, we are not able to implement the solution we want which makes us even more frustrated.
This is evident in the consulting profession.
The consulting practice starts with defining goals and proceeds to elaborate a plan of action (at a nice fee) what the company should do. And what happens? The consultant recommends a horse and what emerges at the implementation stage, if at all, is a camel. What went wrong?
The sequence that has been followed is: want > should. This does not work because there isn’t sufficient energy to carry out the decision as designed. Why?
Energy is fixed at any point in time and in the sequence of want > should, there is a “leak” somewhere that robs the solution of energy. That is why we are even more frustrated with our solution that isn’t working than with the problem. Where is the leak?
We ignored the “is,” the reality. As we deliberated what we should do and what we want, deep inside our conscience there were doubts as to what we can do and if this is the real problem, and thus if we are working on the right solution. Subconsciously as you tried to solve the problem, the limited energy got depleted, frustrating you from moving forward. When you admit your disease, you free all the energy that is stuck in fighting your reality, in denying it; all the energy now can be dedicated to designing and implementing a solution.
Notice: you will not lose weight till you honestly admit that you are fat.
You will not resolve your addiction to alcohol till you publicly admit: Hi, my name is, and I am an alcoholic.”
So for problem solving starts with what IS going on, honestly, truly, with no fear nor pretentions.
Next ask yourself, in light of what is going on, what do you want?
Now a gap has been created between what is versus what you want to be.
This gap is frustrating and all energy now can be focused on what you should do to move from the is to what you want. The desired sequence for effective decision making: is>want>should
A common mistake is to start with what we want, ignoring reality, what is or worse, we start with what we should do, again ignoring the is, the reality. Like an architect designing a house based on principles of architectural design, ignoring where the building IS located. We can notice how the practice of medicine follows the right sequence. The doctor knows you want to be healthy nevertheless always starts with diagnosis: what IS going on, and only then proceeds with what the medical intervention should be.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes