Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

January 13, 2013

Easy Decisions, Part 1

James Kilts has discussed in Doing What Matters what he calls the "Quick Screen" method. I am summarizing his tips from my memory.

You can take action under the following circumstances without much further deliberation.

  1. The status quo is crippling you. The situation is deteriorating too fast too soon.

  2. Your research and discussion are going in a circle, or have reached a dead end.

  3. You are acting in accordance with a basic principle. e.g. Satisfying your customers, promoting your brand, and like actions that can never go wrong. Something basic and fundamental.

Another way (James Kilts') to speed up decision making is to accept any proposed decision and then think about whether the resultant future scenario is possible or not, and whether you can like it or not. As an example, he discussed his decision not to disinvest parts of his Gillette company. Some consultants had advised him to sell parts of his company. He wondered what would happen, what would need to happen to accept this idea, like this, in my paraphrase:

To sell this, there must be buyers for this. Since there are no buyers, this won't work.

To sell that, there must be buyers for that. Yes, there are some buyers. But, since they won't offer prices acceptable to us, this won't work.

And so on.

This is reminiscent of what President Lincoln did to a newspaper editor. The editor wanted the North to offer peace to the South. Lincoln knew that peace was not palatable to the South. The editor pressed on so hard so long that Lincoln finally decided to agree, and asked the editor to lead a peace delegation to the South. The mission failed as Lincoln expected, and the editor accused him of playing a cruel joke on him.

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