Business Adept Blogs

Decision-making

Have you ever thought how many decisions you make each day? From an owner/manager of a microbusiness to a chief executive of a major corporation, running a business is about making decisions -  decisions about anything and everything, simple and complex:

  • When to undertake a specific task
  • Who should be responsible for it
  • How big a workforce to assign
  • How much stock to order
  • Whether to employ a particular candidate
  • Whether to engage a new supplier
  • Where to build a new factory
  • Which option to take

These are just a few examples.

Have you considered how you reach a decision?

The decision-making process

Whether or not we are conscious of it, we all follow a series steps in order to reach a decision. A few minutes of research threw up several versions of that process, ranging from four to seven steps. I prefer a five-step version:

  1. Define the need for a decision
  2. Determine what you want to achieve
  3. Generate ideas for possible solutions
  4. Evaluate optional solutions
  5. Decide on the action to take

Each of these steps may be performed in a split second at a subconscious level or could involve significant data gathering and analysis. The most interesting point to note, however, is that at step 5, no matter how much analysis has been done or what the results indicate, a gut hunch on the part of the key decision maker will almost always be the deciding factor, overruling any other consideration.

Gut hunches

Is it a bad thing to follow a gut hunch? Not necessarily, many successful entrepreneurs make no secret of their reliance on gut hunches. But what of the rest of us? In business, unless we are key decision makers, we are required to demonstrate logical evidence of the benefits of our proposals. Could we do better?

What are gut hunches? I like to think of them as intuitive hits, when our fickle subconscious mind decides to grant us a ‘Eureka!’ moment. Unfortunately, communication between the parts of our brain is less than perfect - the subconscious has no words. Its language is sensation – the feeling in our gut or our bones, the tingle in our shoulders, that alerts us to a sense of ‘knowing’, a sense that can be so strong it is certainty.

Are gut hunches always right?

Sadly, not. Estimates put the success rate at 70% at best.  Intuition is not infallible. It arises without clearly defined purpose and may be based on out-of-date information. Though right more often than not, to rely on intuition alone is a risky business.

The main shortcomings with gut hunches are:

  • They are elusive – not reliably obtainable
  • They manifest as cryptic and emotional – often lacking in clarity of meaning
  • They have no provenance – their historic basis is not evident and cannot be validated
  • They cannot be shared – they are subjective and experiential, not participative

The benefits of gut hunches

Nevertheless, gut hunches are extremely valuable because they arise from subconscious processing of a vast reservoir of subconscious knowledge and benefit from the supreme pattern recognition inherent in that part of the brain. Also, being subconscious, they come effortlessly and fast.

Imagine how potent they would be, if we could reduce the negative elements. Suppose we could access our hidden knowledge on demand, understand its provenance and judge its validity. And we could even share in group exercises to develop creative ideas and strategies, to trust in our own and others’ gut hunches.

What we need is a tool to help us – Business Adepts Cards

BA Cards are by far the best method of clarifying gut hunches.

Other tools are not as good

Brainstorming is fairly effective at stimulating ideas but is hindered by its reliance on language and goes no way towards explaining hunches.

Mind-mapping is an improvement but suffers from the same limitations. Although some images may be introduced as illustrations, they tend to be retrospective and the product of logic.

De Bono’s Six Hats system is more effective. Role play requires participants to approach issues from unfamiliar angles, exposing new thinking pathways and hidden knowledge. The result is a more comprehensive understanding of the issues and thus better decision making. Nevertheless, this method does not explain gut hunches.

How can Business Adept Cards help?

The BA Card system offers a range of layouts that have the potential for helping make decisions:

1 Card

Single card insight

An important influencing factor, an issue that shouldn’t be overlooked, a significant benefit

2 Cards

Two options comparison

Review the best and worst features for each of two options as an aid to deciding between them

3 Cards

Problem analysis

Review the underlying problem (the root cause), the hindrance to its resolution and a potential solution

4 Cards

Business analysis

Consider the Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat for the whole venture, any individual aspect of it or a related issue

4 Cards

Relationship analysis

Review the interpersonal relationships and how they impact on each option

Although the options comparison layout was designed for decision-making, any of the layouts can be used for that purpose and repeated as many times as necessary, eg a SWOT analysis for each strategic option. Any any number of layouts can be used to clarify and challenge your conventional thinking pattern. Combined with traditional data analysis and intellectual argument, the intuitive element will prove a potent tool.

To sum up

Decision-making is a vital part of business management.

Gut hunches (intuition) drive many business decisions.

Therefore, it pays dividends to improve our understanding and management of intuition.

The best tool to help with this is the Business Adept Cards system.

However:

The best decisions are based on whole-brain thinking – intuition and intellect combined. It is unwise to rely purely on either one.

I’m interested to know your views.

 

Why not experience for yourself the benefit of using Business Adept Cards?  FREE TRIAL

 

Laura Dziaszyk, BAC Co-creator

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