Decisions and Journeys

Every significant decision is a journey, not a single step.

Without getting too metaphysical, a decision journey starts well before you know what decision you are going to take. It starts in the planning stage – usually with a problem. If we define ‘problem’ as the difference between where you are and where you want to be, that problem could actually be an opportunity,

Solving the problem – and considering the options – is the prelude to seeking the preferred way forward. That’s when you are ready to take the decision itself.

The journey doesn’t end there. It continues into implementation, where changes of tack or more serious adjustments may be necessary to navigate towards your goal.

Talking of journeys and navigation, I remember a few years ago when I had a new woman in my life. We travelled together. She led. I followed.

The whole experience gave me a new perspective on life – particularly on the vexed issue of communication between the sexes. You don’t have to be a ‘Women from Venus, Men from Mars’ activist to believe that in business as in personal life, men and women talk to each other in fundamentally different ways. 

Men: how many times have you alienated a female colleague by mistakenly using a male-to-male debating ploy, such as “Which bit of ‘do it my way’ don’t you understand?” Women: can you remember the look on the face of your male colleague when you told him that his breakthrough idea was clearly based on something you painstakingly explained to him six weeks ago? 

My new girlfriend was different. She came up with one word which solved inter-sex communication. When a problem arose, she didn’t go in for womantalk (“I can’t concentrate if you’re shouting at me”), or even mantalk (“Why didn’t you tell me to turn right before we hit the dual carriageway?”).

She simply used the word “Recalculating”. No blame attached. No rancour. No “I told you so”. No “ It’s your fault”. Just “Recalculating”. She didn’t criticise my mistake. She made a positive attempt to find a solution. Pure behavioural economics. 

It works in the car. It would work in the office. Or seeing a decision through. Well done SatNav.

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