The Fantastic Life

Making Good Decisions


Make good decisions, seems simple enough… right?




The Fantastic Life Rule #15: Take the Decision Out of the Moment
When you have to make a knee jerk reaction in life – what are the values that show themselves when you don’t have the time or the option to stop and think things through? What is the framework that you live in when there isn’t a storm?


Making Good Decisions

What Will


More often than we like, most of us are faced with choices that can have serious and lasting impact on our lives. Do we go along with the crowd? Do we tell someone off, quit a job, end a relationship? Unfortunately, these decisions are not preceded by a drumroll warning us that the stakes are high and, even worse, we often don’t have a lot of time to figure out what to do.

So it’s no surprise that most bad decisions — the ones that mess up our lives — are made impulsively or without sufficient reflection.

Ancient proverbs warn us to “Count to ten when you’re angry” or to “Think ahead.” But anger and the lack of pre-planning are only two factors that can impede excellent decision making. Fatigue, fear, frustration, stress and impatience also create obstacles to wise choices.

Just as we learned to look both ways before we cross the street, we can learn to systematically analyze every important decision-making situation to allow us to arrive at conclusions that are both effective and ethical.

So each good decision should start with a stop — a forced moment of reflection to let us clarify our goals, evaluate the completeness and credibility of our information, and devise alternative strategies to achieve the best possible result. The stop also allows us to muster our moral will power to overcome temptations and emotions that can lead to rash, foolish or ill-considered decisions.

While it’s great if you have a day or two to “sleep on a problem” or even a few hours to make a decision, many situations do not afford us that luxury. But even a pause of a few seconds can be enough.

Here is some additional info on making decisions:

LIFEies 38

Michael Josephson on The Bare Essentials of Home-Run Decision-Making: Choices that Produce the Best Possible Result


In both our work and our personal lives, all of us regularly face situations that raise the most common and basic question: “What should I do?”

In all these cases, we must first decide what we should do and how we should do it. Then, we have to decide whether we will, in fact, do what we should do.

The best decision makers are not content with avoiding bad decisions or even with making acceptable ones; they want to make a decision that achieves the best possible result (BPR) in the situation. That’s what we call an exemplary decision.

In working with senior executives in government and private enterprise, I’ve dealt with a broad array of complex decision-making situations. In the process, I developed a decision-making strategy that I think is easily adaptable to handling problems all of us face. The central goal of the process is for the decision maker to get the most out of every problem-solving challenge by identifying and pursuing an outcome that represents the  best possible result (BPR) under the circumstances.

A decision that produces the BPR accomplishes the decision maker’s short- and long-term goals, without causing negative unintended consequences. It’s the home run of decisions.

Let’s start by recognizing that there are two critical aspects to an exemplary decision: The decision must be both effective and ethical.  In other words, a good decision works, and it gets the results you want, but also does so in the right way.

A decision is effective if it efficiently accomplishes intended and desirable objectives without causing unintended and undesirable results. The most effective decision is one that accomplishes the BPR.

A decision is ethical if it reflects an understanding of and commitment to core ethical values such as trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. These core ethical principles are referred to as the Six Pillars of Character.

Good decisions require both discernment (knowing what to do) and discipline (the strength of character to do it).

There are four steps in the BPR model of decision making:

1) Eliminate options that are either illegal or unethical.

2) Identify the important things you want to achieve.

3) Identify options that will effectively achieve that result without causing avoidable negative unintended consequences.

4) Choose the option that is most likely to produce the best possible result (the BPR).


JANUARY 12, 2012

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