How Do Decisions Get Made?

My life’s work has focused on enabling bias-free decisions by facilitating the human criteria that often distort decisions. Until now, I’ve focused on helping sellers gather and support the Buying Decision Path. But I’m moving beyond sales to leadership, change management, and decision sciences.

As I venture outside the field of sales I have been meeting decision analysts, coaches, and organization development folks who believe that decision making is different for them.

I’m here to tell you that all decisions, regardless of bias, industry, type or importance of the end result, have the same basic human components, separate from the analysis, weighting, or outcome of the decision sought.

  1. Those responsible for the end result must have at their disposal the full fact pattern of their status quo (the rules, people, activities, culture, output, outcomes, beliefs). For sales, change, and leadership, everyone on the Decision Team must understand ALL of the systems elements that must be included for congruent change (or a new decision) to be effective. And all new decisions become a change management issue.
  2. The system will have difficulty changing it perceives there is any possibility the underlying problem can be fixed by any element of the system. It’s the law of Homeostasis in action.
  3. All – ALL – of those who will touch the solution must buy-in to the change (the new decision) and know how to bring in the new elements without disrupting the system. The system is sacrosanct, and must know how to end up congruent as part of any change or decision-inspired initiative.

ALL DECISION MAKING IS THE SAME AT THE HUMAN LEVEL
Regardless of the outcome, the type of decision, the import, the amount of change – i.e. is it a large implementation that involves many factors and people? or a small change that can be made by one person? – the steps are the same.

Regardless of the focus of the decision – whether it is for decision analysis to choose the best oil rig, or for a software implementation – all of the above steps must be taken. And to ensure bias and buy-in are managed adequately, everyone who will touch the solution must be involved at the human, internal criteria/beliefs place.

Information – that which we collect or share to sell solutions, or which we offer to lead an initiative or gather decision criteria – is the last thing that should be addressed. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to focus on this first, thus biasing the end-result.

What would you need to believe differently to be willing to put the people piece first? What skills would you need to add to what you are doing to delay the information aspect of your approach?

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