March Tips Tricks Reminders

Tips, Tricks and Reminders is here again to help you recall stuff you have heard or know already and show you how to use it in your every day jobs.

In March’s Tips, Tricks and Reminders we discuss

Decision Making – What is it?
Making better decisions: 
– 5 things to think about

Option Trees and The Four Eyes Principle – What are they?
This month’s Skill Shot: – Making better Decisions

Plus, a recommended Pod Cast, Ted Talk and Book

Decision making

definition is the process of reaching decisions, especially in a large organisation or in government.

Reminder – Why is decision making so important?

Research shows that of the four behaviours which most consistently lead to people being recognised as leaders Deciding with speed and conviction is by far the most important and the second most important is Delivering reliably.

Source: Botelho article “What Sets Successful CEOs Apart” in the May-June 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.

So being able to make sound decisions quickly which deliver results put you well on your way in business.

But how do you ensure you can make sound decisions with speed and conviction?

Tip – How to make better decisions

There are several key points to making better decisions unfortunately most of us use the benefit of hindsight when judging decision making rather than looking at the process. It was either good or bad decision making rather than an unexpected turnout.

The primary issue is often that our view is too narrow, we don’t notice that there be other places that we could and even should be looking.

Here are 5 rules of thumb for making world class decisions.

  1. Develop at least 3 options:
  2. Try not to make rush decisions:
  3. Avoid making decisions when you are hungry
  4. Don’t feel too confident when you are taking decisions.
  5. Test your assumptions.

Develop at least 3 options: At least 3 options: Higher quality decisions come when there is a wider field of options – how often do you simply stop at the first choice – could you brainstorm, recruit others to help, recruit from disparate fields to give options – as Huston says – there should be at least 3 options as a rule of thumb.

Try not to rush decisions: To get a little bit of distance between the choice of options and the actual decision makes a significant difference to the quality of the actual decision made. Often you hear, “can I think about it overnight and get back to you tomorrow”. Whether or not it’s sleep that makes the difference, the idea being that getting some distance from the decision is a really important step. You may not be able to take a week, but at least an hour could make a big difference.

Avoid making decisions when you are hungry – evidence from a study by the psychologist Roy Baumeister and his colleagues outlined in Daniel Kahnman’s (Thinking Fast and Slow p. 43) where parole decisions made by hungry judges were less sound than when they had just eaten.

The idea of mental energy is more than a mere metaphor. The nervous system consumes more glucose than most other parts of the body, and effortful mental activity appears to be especially expensive in the currency of glucose. When you are actively involved in difficult cognitive reasoning – decision making or engaged in a task that requires self-control, your blood glucose level drops and your ability to make good decisions drops.

Don’t feel too confident when you are taking decisions:  try to look at the negative options as well as the positive outcomes but be positive when you have decided and are selling the option to your team or other parties.

There is some evidence that women tend to be more collaborative in the real world than men as well as evidence that they are more likely to look for feedback on their decisions than their male counterparts too.

Test your assumptions: A great question to test assumptions is – once the decision is almost made ask yourself or your group “OK, what assumptions would have to be true for this option to be the best choice?”


So have at least three options. Take a little time – don’t be rushed, make sure you are not hungry, manage your confidence level when you’re actually making a decision, but convey the choice confidently once it’s made. Test your assumptions about the decision.

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Tip – Option Tree explained

If you have multiple options and you want to be a little more scientific about which decision works best, then you can develop a prioritisation Matrix or an option tree

Option Tree
The way this works is straight forward.
Work out your measurement criteria. In this option I used the following:
• Size of the prize
• Cost of implementation
• Timescale
• Impact on Competition
But you can use any criteria you feel fit your needs.

You can set your own measurement criteria – then allocate a score – so in the example above
Size of the prize £250K or more gets 5 points as a score and £10K gets just 1 point

This allows you to compare each option across a range of metrics to determine the best options to pursue. In the example above – Option 3 scores 14 points on the chosen criteria and therefore has the best chance of delivering against the chosen SMASH objective. Therefore, this is the one you should prioritise for delivery in the coming year.

You could of course, chose multiple options for your available resources to deliver change against your objective.

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Trick – The Four Eyes Principle

The four eyes principle is a matter of finding colleagues who you trust and ask them to look at your proposed decision – walk them through the reasoning and explain the process. What sources you have consulted, what ideas you have rejected and why, what needs to be true for this to be the best decision. Ask them to challenge you – it is critical that you trust them enough to listen to their advice and feedback.

Don’t be afraid to go through the four eyes procedure with more than 1 trusted advisor – you can do this at the same time or in sequence.

It is worthwhile being someone else’s ‘four eyes’ advisor too, you will be surprised what you learn, not just about someone else’s decision-making process, but also it will improve yours!

Now it is up to you…
will you do it?

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‘Skill Shot’
This months Focus is:-

Making better decisions

During the day the following subjects will be explored: –

  • What is the process of decision making
  • Are all decisions the same?
  • Who to involve in critical decisions and why?
  • Review of real-life business decisions.
  • Practice.

The Book Club

Start With Why 

by Simon Sinek

Why are some people and organisations more inventive, pioneering and successful than others?

And why are they able to repeat their success again and again?

In business, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters WHY you do it.

Why do we do what we do? Why do we exist? Learning to ask these questions can unlock the secret to inspirational business.

Sinek explains what it truly takes to lead and inspire and how anyone can learn how to do it.

Our suggested Podcast of the month is:-

Digital Human

Digital Human explores the interface between what it means to be human and technology

Here Aleks Krotoski explores how technology can empower a person to become a rescuer, but can rescuing others hide a need to rescue oneself?   – why not give it a try here

This months suggested TEDTalk

Start with Why

According to Simon Sinek – We can all achieve more  –

This is just an awesome explanation of a process – ‘start from the inside and work out’.

Everyone in business – NO JUST everyone should watch this because if you ever want to persuade or inspire someone this is what you need to do.

The book is a must, but so too is this TED Talk Watch it and let me know if it’s true!
See what you think.  Try it here

Thanks for reading …

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