- HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU'VE MADE A GOOD DECISION?
Thanks Mitch for the "Head Scratcher!" challenge!
First, I suggest we lose the word "Good."
Next, as I understand the application for this decision is in a somewhat uncommon, less anticipated situation, it suggests going forward with "Baby Steps" and lose any "Just do it!" mentality.
Seems like a valid approach to begin to better understand what this known-unknown is about would suggest use of the Deming Plan->Do->Study-> Act approach with the initial pilot [ attached].
As the study group's level of understanding increases, the boundaries for the PDSA application increase.
p.s. The decision group's usual people-challenge when working incrementally are the "I get it now, let's just do it!"
William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
"It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880
Sent: 03-15-2021 02:39 PM
From: Mitchell Winkler
Subject: How do you know if you've made a good decision?
We make decisions every day. Many of these decisions are small, within our 'wheelhouse' of knowledge and expertise and possibly of minor consequence. Occasionally, we are faced with decisions that might be out the ordinary and have some combination of complexity, medium to high consequence, and with uncertainties. How do you develop confidence that you are making a good decision – especially in this latter case?
In the recent thread on Cognitive Biases, Professor Bill Bulleit made reference to work by Kahneman and Tversky showing that humans have two modes of thinking: a System 1 where we think fast and predominantly rely on instinct and emotion and a System 2 where we think slowly and predominantly rely on deliberation and logic. Not surprisingly, System 1, also called the lazy part of our brain, dominates most of our decision making. This can be trap. Professor Bulleit provided a link to paper he authored showing the implications of this work to structural engineering but with insight and conclusions that are far more general in nature. Have you found yourself in the System 1 trap?
One way to mitigate the System 1 trap is to apply a structured approach to decision making. An approach is Decision Quality. There are a lot of great references on the web, but I particularly like the approach used by SDG. This approach breaks the decision into discrete attributes, thus allowing the attributes to be assessed and quantified prior to implementing. While one cannot control the outcome (e.g., uncertainties may prevail), one can control the quality of the decision. Decision Quality typically has six attributes including:
Appropriate Problem Frame
- What decision are we trying to make?
- Do we have the right scope for the decision?
- What is the context and background of the decision?
- Do stakeholders understand and agree with the scope of the decision?
Meaningful, Reliable Information
- What do we know?
- Equally, what do we not know?
- Have we identified the key decisions?
- Do we know and trust our sources of information?
- What are the options or choices?
- Are these doable and actionable?
Clear Values and Tradeoffs
- What do we want to achieve?
- Do we understand our value drivers?
- Do we know the relevant tradeoffs?
Logically Correct Reasoning
- Are we using good logic to evaluate our options?
- Are we using available information and keeping in mind what we want?
- Have we applied appropriate decision-making tools?
Commitment to Action
- Are our stakeholders ready to make the decision and ready to act?
What other approaches have you seen or used to avoid the System 1 trap?
Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE