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How To Make Good Decisions

The Pulse by TOGETHER 4

"We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.” – Daniel Kahneman, 'Thinking, Fast and Slow'

You believed in the plan.
Made a decision.
It fell flat.

Is that a failure?
Did you make the right decision?
How do you know?

As an impact leader, you are required to make many decisions. Yet, how do you learn to make good decisions?

Making good decisions is not just about the outcome; it's about the process and mindset behind the decision-making itself.

Annie Duke, in her book "How to Decide", emphasizes that your decision-making is often clouded by biases and uncertainties. She highlights the concept of resulting, where you judge the quality of a decision solely by its outcome, which can lead to faulty reasoning. Duke argues that instead of striving for perfect decisions, we should focus on improving our decision-making process.

Chip Heath and Dan Heath, authors of "Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work", expand from a decision mindset to a decision process via The WRAP method:

  • Widen Your Options
  • Reality-Test Your Assumptions
  • Attain Distance Before Deciding
  • Prepare to Be Wrong

By using the WRAP method, you can gain clarity and confidence in your decision-making process. You become more aware of biases and blind spots, allowing you to make decisions that are more aligned with your goals and values.

All in all, both The Heaths and Annie echo that the HOW outweighs the WHAT. When you increase your decision quality by evolving your decision-making process.

In this edition, we've curated an array of example processes to strengthen your own decision-making approach. Let's dive in! 


The Paradox of Choice

(video | words) – via Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz studies the relationship between economics and psychology. In "The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less," he debunks one of the great myths of modern civilization: That abundance makes us happier and greater choice equals greater good.

Through solid behavioral economics, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, Schwartz makes a compelling case that abundance exhausts the human psyche, sprouts unreasonable expectations and ultimately makes us feel unfulfilled.

Alongside the research, he offers simple yet effective strategies for curbing the disappointment consumerism has set us up for and living lives that feel more complete.

The Biggest Bluff

(audio | words) – via Maria Konnikova

In the midst of a maelstrom, Maria Konnikova became interested in the world of poker. She entered it as a psychologist on a philosophical inquiry — how often are we actually in control when we think we are, how do we navigate uncertain situations with incomplete information, and how can we ever separate the product of our own efforts from the strokes of randomness governing the universe? She emerged an unexpected master of the game, master of her own mind in an entirely new way.

The record of that experience became The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win (public library) — an inspired investigation of “the struggle for balance on the spectrum of luck and control in the lives we lead, and the decisions we make,” partway between memoir, primer on the psychology of decision-making, and playbook for life.

How To Make Better Decisions

(audio | interview) – via Annie Duke

It seems like investors are especially obsessed with the psychology of decision making — high stakes, after all — but all kinds of decisions, whether in life or business — like dating, product management, what to eat or watch on Netflix — are an “investment portfolio” of decisions ... even if you sometimes feel like you’re making one big decision at a time (like, say, marriage or what product to develop next or who to hire).

Obviously, not all decisions are equal; in fact, sometimes we don’t even have to spend any time deciding. So how do we know which decisions to apply a robust decision process too, which ones not to? What are the strategies, mindsets, tools to help us decide? How can we operationalize a good decision process and decision hygiene into our teams and organizations? 


Introducing: Collision Groups

TOGETHER 4's Collision Groups are curated cohorts of nonprofit leader that meet for 30-minutes each Monday and Friday for 4 months.

Applications are OPEN for our launch cohorts (only 16 slots available). These cohorts are FREE to join, yet require active participation (~2 hrs per week). 

Sign up by April 26th to be included in the launch groups this May.

Curious, yet unsure? Join me on LinkedIn Live this Thursday, April 25th at 10a PST / 1p EST to learn more about Collision Groups.