Susan Potter
software: Created / Updated

How to make seemingly impossible decisions

Originally published as a Twitter thread starting here.

In the realm of technical and people management leadership, decisions loom large, often presenting themselves as formidable challenges. But fear not! Join me on a recent coaching expedition, where I guided a colleague through the treacherous terrain of decision-making. Surprisingly, what seemed insurmountable at first turned out to be conquerable. So, let's embark on this process together and unlock the secrets to confident decision-making.

Unveiling the Process

Behold the roadmap to clarity. This process holds the key to conquering difficult decisions, one step at a time. We'll traverse the following stages, unraveling their essence along the way:

    1. Identify your options.
    1. List the risks & possible mitigations (for each option).
    1. Relatively rank risk ranges and expected risks (across options)
    1. List benefits (for each option).
    1. Decide and take next steps!

Step 1: Identifying Options

Venture into the realm of boundless possibilities. We'll ignite your creativity, urging you to explore uncharted territories. Embrace diverse perspectives, take a refreshing excursion, or let the melodies of forgotten music guide your thoughts. From this vast expanse of options, we'll narrow it down to a select few, ensuring a manageable array for consideration.

Step 2: Risk Assessment (Per Option)

Face the risks head-on and devise strategies to mitigate their impact. We'll dissect each option, meticulously listing the potential risks and brainstorming ways to tame them. Assess your control over these mitigations and gauge their likelihood of success. Fear not, for we shall navigate these treacherous waters with clarity and confidence.

Step 3: Relatively Ranking Risks (Per Option)

Prepare for a subjective expedition. We'll embark on a quest to rank risks, considering the magnitude of potential problems. Delve into the consequences of unmitigated choices and ponder the influence of perfectly executed mitigations. Remember, we aim to address the negatives that truly matter, preserving the harmony of your decision-making symphony.

Step 4: Celebrating Benefits (Per Option)

Revel in the bountiful benefits that await. Let us refresh your memory on the virtues of each option. Filter out the mediocre and embrace the extraordinary. And if fate smiles upon you, you may find yourself with a clear frontrunner—a decision poised to claim victory.

Step 5: The Grand Finale

Now, my friend, it is time to make your choice and seize the moment. Give yourself a reasonable timeframe, negotiating if necessary. Consider the ideal conditions for your preferred option, but do not linger too long. Unleash your decision upon the world, bidding farewell to unfinished business and embracing the liberation it brings.

Words of Wisdom

As we navigate this decision-making odyssey, keep these pearls of wisdom close to heart:

  • This process thrives when choices seem dire, not when the path is clear from the start.
  • Swift decisions have their time and place, but do not hesitate to revisit enticing offers that may still be within reach.
  • Find serenity amidst the storm. Tame anxiety and stress through methods that resonate with your soul.
  • Embrace imperfect information, for it is the essence of our modern world.
  • Beware the stampede of woolly mammoths! Should they cross your path, abandon this process and run for your life.

By journey's end, may you emerge with newfound clarity and a renewed sense of control. Remember, the exploration of options is the secret to swift decision-making. So, step forth, my fellow adventurer, and conquer the art of choices not just in your professional realm but in every facet of your life.

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