Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

I finished reading Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip HeathDan Heath. This is a great book on decision-making. They introduce a four-step process to counteract biases in your decision. Below is the WRAP process and links to workbook (requires a login),

The Decision WookbookDecision

The WRAP Process:

Widen Your options

Narrow framing leads us to overlook options. (Teenagers and executives often make “whether or not” decisions.) We need to uncover new options and, when possible, consider them simultaneously through multitracking. (Think AND not OR.) Where can you find new options? Find someone who has solved your problem. Try laddering: First look for current bright spots (local), then best practices (regional) and then analogies from related domains (distant).

Reality-test Your assumptions

In assessing our options, the confirmation bias leads us to collect skewed, self-serving information. To combat that bias, we can ask disconfirming questions (What problems does the iPod have?). We can also zoom out (looking for base rates) and zoom in (seeking more texture). And whenever possible we should ooch, conducting small experiments to teach us more. Why predict when you can know?

Attain distance before deciding

Short-term emotion tempts us to make choices that are bad in the long term. To avoid that, we need to attain distance by shifting perspective: What would I tell my best friend to do? Or, what would my successor do? (Or try 10/10/10.) When decisions are agonizing, we need to clarify our core priorities—and go on the offensive for them. (Remember the stainless steel bolts on the Navy ship.)

Prepare to Be Wrong

We are overconfident, thinking we know how the future will unfold when we really don’t. We should prepare for bad outcomes (premortem) as well as good ones (preparade). And what would make us reconsider our decisions? We can set tripwires that snap us to attention at the right moments. (David Lee Roth’s brown M&M, Zappos’ $1,000 offer


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