Decision Making

Good Decision Making Requires You To Consider The Other Side

The Value of Changing Perspective in Decision Making

Recently a client of mine was frustrated in selling her services. When she met with potential clients, the meetings would go really well until the point they started talking price. At which point some would comment about how expensive she was. She said she didn’t know how to reply and what to do, when this type of objection came up.

I told her to ask them, “So what will happen, if you don’t do anything?”

The reason I tell you this story, is not because there is some sort of magic in the statement. The thing I want to point out is how too many times, we only evaluate things from one perspective. That perspective of, “what will happen if I do?” You will find out how that maybe impacting your decision making.

Let’s use an example to show you what I mean.

An employee asks you for a new computer. Chances are you immediately evaluate that question from what will happen if I do;

  • I will have to find extra cash to pay for it,
  • I will have to pay someone to get it set up,
  • Everyone else will want a new computer,
  • I don’t have time right now to be worrying about this,
  • Etc.

Once you put enough hurdles in front of yourself, you finally tell the employee “no” and you give them all the reasons why not.

What if you were to consider the opposite?

What will happen if I don’t buy the new computer;

  • I would continue to lose productivity with old technology,
  • I won’t be able to upgrade to the newest level of software,
  • I am just kicking the can down the road when it comes to buying one and it could fail when I really need it,
  • My employee could leave because they are frustrated with the tools I provide them.
  • Etc.

You can see that in exploring the other side of the argument it changes things. Just by brining in new information you are able to give your decision making a broader perspective. It doesn’t necessarily mean your decision in the end will be any different. However, if it isn’t, it gives you an opposite perspective and identifies things you might never have considered, until it is too late.

Why is knowing and practicing this so important to you in your business?

I think it boils down to two things:

  1. Removes some of the tunnel vision – Business owners and entrepreneurs like to believe they have great ideas. In some cases, they do, but a lot of times they don’t. They wake up in the middle of the night with the next great idea, but often lose stream or change direction when they run into the hurdles, they would uncover if they were to consider the opposite side of their plan, before they got started. Practicing this in the beginning helps with follow through, saving both time and money.
  2. Keeps your thinking open – The world is constantly changing and you need to be prepared to morph and adapt. Considering the opposite side, keeps you open to possibility and options. Too many times we are limited by our own thinking or what is possible. There can be great solutions to some of your challenges, right in front of you, as long as you remain open to see them.

In the case of my client, the potential customer may talk about it being expensive, but the cost of doing nothing far out ways the cost of the service she provides, especially when you consider time. It is easy to evaluate options in terms of time and money, but paying a little money right now, can provide you with payback right away, that ultimately saves you time and money in the long term.

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