Heads or Tails?

Not all decisions are as simple as “heads or tails,” are they?

Dan and Chip Heath have a new book, Decisive, out that offers great practical advice–and freedom–on how to make good decisions.

This is one of those rare business book gems that helps as much in your personal life as your professional life. Ever involved in a decision-by-committee? Use Heath’s WRAP process when you are involved in a making a group decision to establish a common framework for discussion.

Wonder if Decisive is worth your time? We think it’s a gold mine of great tips but you decide. Here are just a few nuggets of gold from the Heath’s WRAP decision-making model:

1. Widen your options/avoid narrow framing. Anytime in life you’re tempted to think “should I do this or that? Instead ask “Can I do this *and* that? It’s surprisingly frequent that it’s feasible to do both things.

2. Reality Test Your Assumptions. Be careful that to make sure that you’re not seeking out data that only validates your decision. Construct small experiments to test your hypothesis.

3. Attain Some Distance. Overcome short-term emotion using an elegant solution called 10/10/10 that asks you to think about your decision in three different time frames. How you will feel about this decision 10 minutes from now? How about 10 months from now? How about 10 years from now?

4. Prepare to Be Wrong.   60% of 2,200 executives polled said that bad decisions were as frequent as good decisions. If you engage the first three processes listed above, you can’t help but reduce the percentage of bad decisions you make. By using the “bookend the future” and “tripwire” methods described in this last strategy, you minimize the risks associated with wrong decisions–which are inevitable. When you understand the variables and indicators to watch for, you can affirm a good decision, or minimize your time and losses associated with a bad decision.

 “When it comes down to it, it isn’t always the major choices we make in life – career, marriage, etc. – that count the most. It is the everyday, minor decisions that make life work for us.” –Shad Helmstetter