Beyond the Pro/Con List…What Do You Do When Things Get Weird?

Last week, I heard an excellent interview on 1A with Steven Johnson, the author of Farsighted. (Some of you may also have seen Johnson’s opinion piece in last Sunday’s New York Times).

Why did I find it so compelling? Primarily because I am a longtime listen-to-your-gut decision maker and so, am always looking for strategies that will allow me to apply at least a veneer of logic to my choices.

My favorite strategy outlined by Johnson in his interview is one called “Scenario Planning.” The idea? Tell three stories about the possible result of a decision: one where things turn out well, one where they turn out poorly, and one where they turn out weird.

Why did I like this one so much?

I think it’s the fact that framing outcomes as a story (I love storytelling) short-circuited my strong dislike of ‘make believe’. (Dressing up for Halloween is my idea of h*ll) 

I also discovered that contemplating the way a decision might get weird, not only jump starts my creative thinking, it also gives me insight into how strongly I cared about the decision at all.

It seems when I want things to work no amount of weird is off-putting to me.

Should you be interested in adding a few decision-making strategies to your repertoire, I highly recommend a listen.

For other decision-making tools, you might also take a look at “How Distillation Helps with Decision Making.”