September 24, 2020

The ‘least-worst’ Decision

There are always many decisions that need to be made every day, whether you’re running a business or just going about your day-to-day life. Some decisions are big, some are small, but the one common feature most of them have is that it’s not always obvious what the right decision is.

One strategy to deal with this can be summarised as:

“I/We may not know what the right decision is in this scenario, but can I/we reduce our risk of making the wrong one while maximising our chance of success?”

Taking 5 or 10 mins to write (and yes, writing is key to the process in my experience) down the various scenarios and then see if there is a scenario that gives you the greatest chance of success while limiting your chance of failing.

It’s really important to emphasis that limiting failure and increasing the chance of success really aren’t the same thing. Furthermore:

  • This isn’t a surefire way to succeed 100% of the time (no one method does or should).
  • You shouldn’t be afraid of not succeeding this time. It’s part of the process!
  • The scenario you pick should actually help you achieve what you want to achieve. Saying that the best way of not failing in your goal of going to the gym 5 times a week is to not go to the gym at all is not what I’m advocating here!
  • Making the ‘not wrong’ decision is not the same as the ‘right’ one. Try and differentiate the two.

It may be that when you’ve looked at all the scenarios, that you have to risk more than you’re comfortable with, be willing to fall down, or fail in order to succeed.

Hard as that is, I’ve always found that I’m happier to take that option than the alternative of never having tried, or of keeping the status quo that I’m clearly not happy with.