The Art of Making Choices

StrategyDriven Decision-Making Article | Exploring the ?Psychology Behind Decision-Making

In a world filled with endless possibilities, navigating the intricate web of choices can often feel like an overwhelming task. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the minute we lay our heads down at night, we are constantly faced with decisions that shape our lives in profound ways. The art of making choices is a skill that requires finesse, intuition, and a deep understanding of ourselves and the world around us. In this article, we will delve into the intricate dance of decision-making, exploring the nuances of choice and the impact it has on our experiences and our destinies. Join us as we unravel the mysteries of choice and discover the artistry behind the decisions that shape our lives.

Exploring the Psychology Behind Decision-Making

When faced with a decision, our brains go through a complex process of weighing options, assessing risks, and evaluating outcomes. This psychological phenomenon is influenced by a multitude of factors, including past experiences, emotions, and cognitive biases. Our ability to make choices is an art in itself, requiring a delicate balance between logic and intuition.

One interesting aspect of decision-making is the concept of bounded rationality, introduced by Nobel laureate Herbert A. Simon. This theory suggests that individuals make decisions based on limited information and cognitive capabilities. In other words, we often settle for “good enough” choices rather than the optimal decision. By understanding the psychology behind decision-making, we can learn to navigate our choices more effectively and make decisions that align with our goals and values.

Mastering the Skill of Prioritizing Options

When faced with a plethora of options, it can be daunting to decide where to focus our time and energy. is essential in order to achieve our goals and make the most of our resources. Whether it’s choosing between different projects at work, deciding how to spend our free time, or making important life decisions, knowing how to prioritize effectively can lead to better outcomes and a more fulfilling life.

One way to prioritize options is to evaluate the urgency and importance of each choice. Creating a matrix or list that categorizes options based on these factors can help clarify which decisions need immediate attention and which can be addressed later. Setting specific goals and deadlines for each option can also aid in prioritization, as it provides a clear roadmap for what needs to be accomplished. By being mindful of our values and long-term objectives, we can ensure that our decisions align with our overall vision for success and happiness.

Techniques for Enhancing Decision-Making Abilities

When faced with making decisions, it can sometimes feel overwhelming trying to navigate through all the choices. However, by incorporating certain techniques, you can enhance your decision-making abilities and make the process smoother and more effective. One approach is to utilize mindfulness practices to help you stay present and focused when making decisions. By being fully aware of your thoughts and feelings, you can better understand your motivations and make choices that align with your values.

Another helpful technique is utilizing decision-making tools such as decision matrices or pros and cons lists. These tools can help you visualize the different factors at play and assess the potential outcomes of each decision. By breaking down the decision-making process into smaller, more manageable steps, you can make more informed choices and feel confident in the decisions you ultimately make.

Mindfulness Strategies for Making Wise Choices

When it comes to making choices in life, it’s important to approach decision-making with mindfulness. By incorporating mindfulness strategies into your thought process, you can make wiser and more intentional choices that align with your values and goals. One effective strategy is to take a moment to pause and reflect before making a decision, allowing yourself the space to consider the potential outcomes and consequences.

Additionally, practicing gratitude can help shift your perspective and bring clarity to your decision-making process. By focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you can cultivate a mindset of abundance and abundance can lead to more confident and grounded choices. Remember, being mindful of your thoughts and emotions is key to making choices that serve your highest good.

Final Thoughts…

Navigating the intricate web of choices that life presents us with can be a daunting task. However, by honing the art of making choices, we can learn to trust our instincts, embrace the unknown, and take ownership of our own destinies. So, the next time you are faced with a decision, remember that each choice is a brushstroke on the canvas of your life. Embrace the beauty of uncertainty, and let your intuition guide you towards a future filled with endless possibilities. Keep creating, keep choosing, keep living.

Defining the Problem Is Often More Difficult Than Solving It 

StrategyDriven Decision Making Article | Defining the Problem Is Often More Difficult than Solving It 

Albert Einstein once said, “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem, and only 5 minutes finding the solution.” Einstein implies that scientific advances come not so much from thinking up new solutions as from formulating problems in new ways or seeing them from different angles.

When it comes to entrepreneurship, Einstein’s emphasis on problem definition is spot on. Indeed, a strong definition of the customer’s problem is essential in creating a winning business solution. However, customer problems are typically not formulaic like scientific problems. Most people struggle with addressing complex problems because they don’t know where to start, which often leads to knee-jerk definitions of the problem. This usually isn’t a wise move. Due to the nature of complex problems, quick decision-making can cause a person or team to miss very important, but not obvious, factors in the situation. Solving complex problems requires slowing down and considering the different variables involved and how they interact.

Defining the problem demands a very organic approach in which unexpected issues can emerge that bring new perspectives on the problem space. Rarely will there be a single “correct” problem. In fact, most problems are interrelated to a set of different and potentially useful challenges.

Such organic problem definition utilizes two tools to successfully capture the customer problem space: challenge statements and challenge mapping.

Challenge Statements 

Framing problems into challenge statements is one of the most important skills in problem definition. The phrase, “How might we?” is the powerful phrase that transforms converged facts into actionable challenges.

For example, a fact such as, “The customer prefers to shop with others as a group experience,” can be converted into the challenge statement, “How might we make our store more inviting for groups to shop?” Seeking possible solutions — including those beyond the obvious — is a critical practice in creative problem-solving. Therefore, we might also convert the fact into “How might we design the store layout to be more comfortable in dressing room areas?” or “How might we provide customer attention geared to groups and not just individual shoppers?”

These are just a few examples of the challenge statements that could be derived from this fact. There are potentially many more.

Challenge Mapping

Challenge mapping enables you to get a 50,000-foot view of the problem space instead of being mired in one particular aspect of it. In crafting the challenge map, gather easel paper, large Post-It notes, sticky dots, and markers. As a starting point, write a “How might we” challenge statement on a Post-It note and place it in the middle of the map.

Next, broaden your “How might we?” point of view by using a “why-what’s stopping us” analysis. For example, using the earlier retail store example in which the challenge is “How might we design the store layout to be more comfortable in dressing room areas?” ask the two simple questions, “Why would we want to design the store layout to be more comfortable in dressing room areas?” and “What’s stopping us from designing the store layout to be more comfortable in dressing room areas?”

State a specific answer to the question in a simple, complete sentence — so for the question “Why would we want to design the store layout to be more comfortable in dressing room areas?” an answer might be “So that groups will linger longer in the store.” If the other question is asked, “What’s stopping us from designing the store layout to be more comfortable in dressing room areas?” an answer might be, “We haven’t found room to put sofas and chairs near the dressing room.”

Convert the answers into new “How might we…?” statements: “So that groups will linger longer in the store” now could become “How might we entice groups to linger longer in the store?” And “We haven’t found room yet to put sofas and chairs near the dressing room” now becomes “How might we find room for sofas and chairs near the dressing room?” Asking the question “why” of a challenge and then restating the answer into a new challenge broadens your problem definition.

Write the “why-what’s stopping us” answers on Post-It notes and stick them in their appropriate locations under the “how might we” notes on the map. As you answer the questions, you may find that another answer to a “why” or “what’s stopping us” question alongside an earlier answer fits between the challenge statements. Draw arrows connecting logical connections.

The map’s organic quality enables the original “How might we” question that started on the map to become only one challenge among many. A problem space can begin to emerge by repeating the use of the “why-what’s stopping us” analysis. Each answer leads to at least one more fresh challenge that offers new insights.

A good challenge map is considered complete when participants can no longer generate answers to “why-what’s stopping us” questions. It’s now time to converge on the key problems found on it.

Ask each participant to identify the top two or three “How might we” statements on the map that, if solved, would bring great satisfaction. Have them place a dot on the two or three they consider the most important obstacles to clear.

Next, ask each person who marked the Post-It to explain (clarify) why they did so. Clarification often helps participants see the choices in a new light, so a selection that received only one dot may actually end up being chosen in the end. This is why simply voting isn’t advocated.

After clarification is complete, the group chooses the top two-to-five challenge statements to move forward.

The essence of good problem definition is that a complex problem is actually a field of connected broad and narrow problems. Successfully capturing the problem space through challenge statements and challenge mapping allows people to intuitively think about different issues around a problem. Without a process, they lack a coherent view of the big picture.

*     *     *

Min Basadur is Professor Emeritus of Innovation at McMaster University, Canada, and founder of Basadur Applied Creativity. Michael Goldsby is Stoops Distinguished Professor of  Entrepreneurship and Chief Entrepreneurship Officer at Ball State University. Rob Mathews is Executive Director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute at Ball University. Their new book, Design-Centered Entrepreneurship, Second Edition (Routledge, 2022), provides a research-driven, step-by-step approach to creative problem-solving. Learn more at

How to Enhance the Decision-Making Skills of Managers

StrategyDriven Decision-Making Article | How to Enhance the Decision-Making Skills of ManagersBuilding a successful business requires the ability to make decisions. It is imperative for entrepreneurs to make the right decisions and put them into action effectively.

As humans, we have the privilege of being able to learn and enhance our decision-making skills.

You will find a list of skills you will need to develop in order to become a more effective manager and leader in this guide.

What Can You Do to Make Better Decisions?

Management decisions have a direct impact on everyday business. Making the correct decisions requires using the most relevant information and delivering the intended results. In any situation, whether decisions affect one person or a whole organization, a step-by-step framework ensures good results.

Below are some steps to consider taking to enhance your decision-making skills within the workplace:

  • Find the Problem: Don’t forget to ask questions, get feedback from key players, and consider all angles. If you thoroughly understand the scenario, you will be in a better position to make an informed decision.
  • Re-Examine the Data: Make sure you collect as many applicable details as possible. A team member familiar with the work area should be assigned data-gathering tasks whenever you’re considering a bigger decision.
  • Examine Each Choice: Choose the path that offers the best chance of success after weighing the pros and cons of various options.
  • Pick a Plan of Action: Decide on the overall best course of action.
  • Execute Your Plan: Develop a clear, specific, and actionable plan. Provide employees with information and encourage them to go forward with the plan.
  • Check Your Final Results: You can learn from every course of action you take. Take note of your results to identify areas where your decisions need to be improved. Is the data you have accurate? Is each option being considered or recognized? How well do you communicate with your employees?
  • Stay Up to Date With Plans: Reorient your course of action by making the necessary changes. Keeping track of the things that worked and what didn’t will enable you to make better decisions in the future.

Decision-Making Skills for Effective Leadership

The below skills will enhance your ability to make the best decisions to drive personal and professional development, growth, and success:

  • Identifying Problems: Making decisions requires the ability to recognize problems and find solutions. Problem-solving skills allow you to remain calm under pressure and find the best possible solutions.
  • Processing Data: Assimilate the information by performing your own analysis or delegating the task to the corresponding employees. It is also important to know what type of data you require.
  • Managing Your Time: It is necessary to make certain decisions quickly. The ability to make informed decisions within the required timeframe is essential for success.
  • Communicating Effectively: Decisions must be communicated clearly and effectively. It is possible to stay up to date on project progress, work processes, and employee performance by actively listening. When you need to make a quick decision, each conversation becomes information.
  • Maintaining Humility: Sometimes it’s about acknowledging that another employee’s solution is better than yours. Making the right choice is essential, regardless of who developed the solution.
  • <strong”>Practicing Mediation: /strong> Achieving fairness, assessing everyone’s viewpoint, and diffusing conflict are crucial.
  • Planning: There are often unexpected pitfalls associated with business decisions. Having a good plan allows your team to avoid unforeseen problems.
  • Ongoing Training for Leadership Best Practices: The best decisions are useless unless they are shared with others. Leading effectively is dependent on a leader’s ability to convince others of the rightness of their decisions.

What You Need to Know About Decision Making

A business’s success depends on its ability to make decisions. Making decisions is most effective when evidence is interpreted in conjunction with previous experience. Take advantage of decision-making opportunities in your business and learn from your decisions. As you gain experience, you will become more effective and comfortable making decisions.

What are Some Ways that You Can Encourage Ethical Decision-Making?

Those who make ethical decisions consider their company’s bottom line as well as their community’s impact. It is encouraged that employees do the same. It is not only beneficial to your business to make ethical decisions, but also to the community as a whole.

One way to achieve better decision-making skills in the workplace is to invest in executive coaching for professionals.

Evaluation and Control Program Warning Flag 1 – The Illusion of Accuracy

Evaluation and Control Program Warning Flag 1 - The Illusion of Accuracy | StrategyDriven Evaluation and Control Article | Warning Flag“Measure with a micrometer, mark with a crayon, and cut with a chainsaw”
Author Unknown

Evaluation and control programs provide executives and managers with the critical information they need to make effective business decisions. However, an equally critical component of the decision-making process is the understanding that no data-set is a perfect reflection of reality. Therefore, it is important for business leaders to recognize the potential inaccuracies associated with their data in order to fully assess the risks these flaws pose to the achievement of desired outcomes.

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The following StrategyDriven recommended best practices are designed to reduce the likelihood leaders will receive data presented with an exaggerated accuracy.

Decision-Making Warning Flag 1b – Weak Analogies

StrategyDriven Decision Making Article | Decision-Making Warning Flag 1b - Weak Analogies“The fallacy of Weak analogy is committed when a conclusion is based on an insufficient, poor, or inadequate analogy. The analogy offered as evidence is faulty because it is irrelevant; the claimed similarity is superficial or unrelated to the issue at stake in the argument. Or the analogy may be relevant to some extent yet overlooks or ignores significant dissimilarities between the analogs.”

Paul Leclerc
Community College of Rhode Island

Citizens have been asked to cast their vote for a referendum requiring those seeking to purchase a hammer to undergo a registration process similar to that for firearms. Supporters argue that because hammers, like guns, have metal parts and can be used to kill people that these tools should be legally controlled as guns are. These proponents are using a Weak Analogy to advance their position.

Weak analogies are used to support business decisions every day. As with all logic errors, decision-makers fall prey to the appearance of reasonableness, especially when the position supported justifies their desired course of action. Although difficult, recognizing and eliminating the use of Weak Analogies in decision-making is absolutely necessary.

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Additional insight to the warning signs, causes, and results of logic errors can be found in the StrategyDriven website feature: Decision-Making Warning Flag 1 – Logic Fallacies Introduction.