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The solutions to today’s challenges become tomorrow’s expectations.

The cycle of technology advancements do not depend on the size of the problems but the impact of the solutions.

Solving a problem is not about making decisions but making several decisions that end up being right. If my goal is Z and I am at A, the probability of making the same decision at Y as B to reach Z are extremely low, if not impossible. The further you get to your goal the more accurate your decisions become. At early stages of decision making, it is more about moving than it is about moving in the right direction.

Think of a survival scenario where you are trapped in an arctic tundra and you can either stay where you are and freeze while waiting for someone to save you or journey out and try to find help. This example is harsh but this is in reality how many people make decisions. What if the decision you are making is not life and death? What if it really didn’t matter? What if you put so much importance in the decision that you loose the ability to feel confident in your choice. Being able to make decisions and adjust is more valuable than delaying a decision. In a world that moves so fast and with real time data, delaying a decision can have more of a negative impact than not making a decision at all.

Failure only starts when you stop.

Risk plays a role in every decision, however, the concern normally is caused by the unknown not the known. With every decision you lessen the unknown to known risk ratio gap.

Systems, applications, databases, processes, all have ways of enhancing performance but the ripple effect of indirect impact is greatly overlooked and miscalculated when defined solutions are determined at A and not J or K. I hope this alphabet reference makes sense. Let’s simplify a little further. 26 steps may seem like a lot, but considering that a person driving for 30 minutes will make nearly 5000 decisions, 26 doesn’t seem all that many. But as I said let’s simplify; here are 7 stages of decision making:

  1. Define your Objective (The Problem)
  2. Gather Information (The Discovery)
  3. Identify Alternatives Solutions (The Fork)
  4. Evaluate all Alternatives (The Alternatives)
  5. Make a Choice (The Choice)
  6. Take Action (The Action)
  7. (The Outcome) Evaluate Decision and Close Feedback Loop

The Problem 

Defining the objectives are key to setting expectations and ensuring you are successful. If you want to make apple sauce and your problem is that you don’t have any apples, you would not plant a pear tree. Right away, you are able to make a good decision that puts you on the right path just by defining the objective.

The Discovery 

This stage is all about information. You are not worrying about what to do with it, just collect as much as you can. I use this method a lot at the grocery store. Some times I have no idea what I am going to cook so I just get a lot of food. This way I can decide what to do with it later, also, if I change my mind on what to cook, I have options. More is always better in this stage.

The Fork 

Alternative solutions may seem like a waste of time, but most of the time, it helps you make a more stable decision. Going back to the apple sauce example. If I need apples, I could grow an apple tree, but I could also go to the local store and buy apples…

The Alternatives

Having other options are always good, they can act as validation of an already good solution or can question it entirely. There is a theory of the 10th man. You can look it up; just google Theory of the 10th Man & World War Z. Pretty interesting concept.

The Choice

Coming up with all the variables is nearly impossible and trying to do so just delays the action of making a decision. At some point you have to make a choice or come to the fact that you may not be the most qualified to make that choice.

The Action 

This is simple, do something! Every step before this one has led you to make a decision or take an action. So just do it!

The Outcome 

Setting expectations is key in this step as you have to be willing to accept an outcome you did not plan for or do not like. This is not a bad thing, it only gives you more information to make a better next decision. Sometimes an outcome will make you question your earlier steps and that is okay. There is no exact science to this, it’s called life. Feel free to re-work your steps knowing that you are closer to solving the problem by merely moving in one direction or another.

When you alter the expectations, you may solve a comfortable problem, do not be discouraged, but be empowered, for you are changing the universe.

Every process in the universe is repetitive, from gravity, time, and even our daily routine such as waking up, going to work, eating, going to sleep, etc. There is an expectation in everything we do or that we are involved in and decision making is no different. Do not get trapped in thinking every decision will be a success or a failure. When you alter the expectations, you may solve a comfortable problem, do not be discouraged, but be empowered, for you are changing the universe.