You’re in your neighborhood bookstore looking for a title about “social media.” Do you immediately buy the first book you see, on the first shelf of the business section? Probably not.
You visit a new restaurant for a tasty dinner, do you only read the top menu item and order it – ignoring the rest of the menu? I don’t believe you would.
In both situations, before making a decision, you would first review all your options. You’d scan each of the books in the marketing section. You would read the entire menu. Then, from that full selection of offerings, make the best choice.
We appreciate and expect variety and choice with these decisions, but often when making bigger, more financially critical decisions at work… we deny ourselves options. We thwart our capacity to be innovative.
In the name of efficiency, when faced with problems or challenges at work, we go forward with the first workable option we can think of. Business pressure – to get things done quickly and efficiently – causes us to miss options. This can cause us to miss the best solution.
One Item – If you go with the first, only idea you have, that isn’t decision-making. That’s a last resort. Decisions require choosing from a pool of options.
Two Items – Selecting among two alternative ideas isn’t a decision either — it is only choosing this or don’t do this.
Decisions improve in proportion to the number of interesting, attractive, and doable alternatives you have to consider.
We must pile-up a list of unusable ideas. The more ideas you think up, the more likely you are to arrive at one that is brilliant and remarkable.
Even if you think you’ve happened upon the best idea right from the start, you should think up a few more. Picking one idea from a pool of one isn’t a choice. Don’t stop at the first one that seems to fit. Keep thinking. Come up with at least two more ideas for a total of three to choose from.
If that first idea is the one you go with, you can have the confidence that you’ve made a choice. That you weren’t just forced into using the first idea that popped into you mind.
Choice and options, when it comes to important decisions, isn’t a luxury, but a requirement. The next time you or your team start moving with the first idea that pops into mind, entertain other options. You deserve the right to decide, not simply be forced with an approach due to haste. Brainstorm a few more workable ideas. You deserve choices. Remarkable ideas spring from choices.