Decision Making

A large part of any road map creation is making decisions. Decisions about what the goal is, what are the sub-goals, what initiatives you intend to work on to achieve the goal, etc. etc.

I recently came across “The three secrets of wise decision making” by Barry Anderson. It says that there are 3 things that a wise decision maker needs courage, creativity, and balance of complexity.

The three secrets of wise decision making are courage, creativity, and balance in the management of complexity. The courage to be rational faces up to complexity in order to get the problem solved; creativity adds to complexity in order to achieve a more complete understanding of the problem; and balanced judgment evaluates complexity in an even-handed manner in order to reduce it to a choice of the single best alternative.

The three secrets of wise decision making. Anderson, Barry F. Portland, Ore.: Single Reef Press.

Anderson goes on to talk about some warning signs that you are lacking one of the secrets to good decision making, three that stood out are “emotionally based”, “no new ideas” and “overly complicated”.

Warning Sign 1: Emotionally based

It takes courage to take your emotions out of the decision-making process. It is easy to fight for something because it is your “pet project”, or “your idea”, or you just really love doing “that thing”. But a strong leader is able to make decisions without emotion and use a rational process will lead to the best outcome. Rational decision making begins with facts, data, and a value-premises from which leads to a logical conclusion.

By connecting your decisions and ideas to each other in order to fulfil a goal is one way that Munro Maps can help you reduce the emotion.

Rationality is a matter of direction in thought. Creativity is a matter of richness of thought. Which brings us to Warning Sign no.2.

Warning Sign 2: No new ideas

If you are not generating any new ideas, or worse coming up with the same ideas over and over again, then you need to increase your creativity. Sounds pretty simple, but in reality, we’ve all been in this place – the place of ‘no new ideas’.

There are many ways to be more creative – brainstorming, brain-writing, mind-maps, Lotus Blossom technique, the list goes on and on. The thing to remember is that all these techniques are based on a few common principles: change the place, change the process, change the lens you are looking through, change the people, and take a break.

Munro Maps encourages group thinking (not groupthink) by collaborating with a simple process using simple tools.

Warning Sign 3: Overly complicated

If your ideas are becoming more and more complicated then there is a need to simplify. One of the key activities within Agility is the idea of breaking problems down. Munro Maps helps with this by encouraging you to look up and down the ‘mountain’ to see where your initiative fits – the smaller the initiatives the better the outcomes you will get.

Finally, Anderson says that “we would all be better decision makers if we wrote our ideas down and diagrammed the relations between them.” Munro Maps is just one way that you can start to write down and diagram your decisions.

A final thought from me is to remember two of the Toyota Way principles:

  • Base your management decisions on long term philosophy, even at the expense of short term financial goals.
  • Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options and then implement rapidly.

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