Convener and Notetaker: Michelle F.
Summary: Michelle Florendo (@whatifyoucouldb) shared frameworks for rational decision making and demonstrated how they could be used as women evaluate what steps to take next in their careers
Michelle’s philosophy on decision making and choice:
ÂÂ Â Â Life is the sum of all of your choices
ÂÂ Â Â You always have a choice.Â Every day.Â In every situation.Â Even when it doesn’t feel like nothing is within your control and you don’t have a choice, you do: you can choose how you perceive and respond to the situation.
ÂÂ Â Â Just because you choose to go one direction now, doesn’t mean you can’t choose to go another direction in the future.Â At any given point in time, you can choose to keep doing what you’re doing or change course.
Why people often feel tension around making decisions:
ÂÂ Â Â Fear
◦Â Â Â Â If there is a possibility that something bad may happen, some people attempt to avoid making a decision at all.Â They are afraid that if they make a decision, something bad may happen, so if they avoid making a decision, perhaps the bad thing won’t happen.
◦Â Â Â Example:Â I am deciding between going to the beach and going to Tahoe.Â There is a chance that it rains while I am at the beach, and that’s bad.Â There is a chance that there will be no snow while I am not there either, that’s bad.Â I don’t want anything bad to happen, so I am going to avoid making a choice at all.
◦Â Â Â Example: I am deciding on whether to go to the beach, but I don’t know whether it will rain or shine.Â If it rains while I am at the beach, that is bad.Â I don’t want this bad thing to happen, so I am not going to make a decision.Â (The fault in this logic is that what I choose has no effect on the weather.Â The weather is out of my control.)
ÂÂ Â Â Regret
◦Â Â Â People are often afraid they will make the “wrong” choice.Â Their logic is that if they make a choice and it results in a bad outcome, they made the “wrong” choice.
◦Â Â Â According to the principles of decision analysis, the quality of a decision is independent of the quality of the outcome.Â In other words, decisions are distinct from outcomes.Â It’s possible to make a good decision and have a bad outcome, and also possible to make a bad decision and have a good outcome.
◦Â Â Â To avoid regret, make as good of a decision you can now, based on the information you have now, and then move on.Â In the future, as things play out, you may get more information and uncertainties may get resolved.Â However, when you look back, recognize that you made the best decision you could given the information you had at that point in time.
◦Â Â Â Also, as mentioned before, after making a decision, you still have the opportunity to make subsequent decisions.Â You still have the ability to choose how you move forward.
Using the PrOACT framework to make good decisions.
ÂÂ Â Â Pr: Define the Problem
ÂÂ Â Â O: Identify your Objectives
◦Â Â Â What do you want?Â What matters to you?Â What will make one outcome more desirable from another?Â Of your objectives, which are most important?
◦Â Â Â Be specific!Â You want to reach a level of specificity that will enable you to evaluate to what degree each alternative meets each objective.Â For example, if your objective is financial sustainability, what does that look like?Â Specifically how much money do you need for that objective to be met?
◦Â Â Â After identifying your objectives, feel free to go back and redefine the decision problem if necessary
ÂÂ Â Â A: Brainstorm your Alternatives
◦Â Â Â Think big and brainstorm all of the different options you have, even undesirable options.
◦Â Â Â The key here is to brainstorm your alternatives first, and leave evaluating your alternatives for a different phase.Â If you try to brainstorm (using divergent thinking) at the same time as you evaluate options (using convergent thinking), you will likely get stuck.Â Be sure to separate the two processes.
ÂÂ Â Â C: Evaluate the Consequences of each alternative
◦Â Â Â Use a matrix (alternatives across the top, objectives going down) to record to what degree each alternative meets each objective.
◦Â Â Â Eliminate dominated alternatives.Â An alternative is dominated when there is another alternative that meets each objective to the same or greater degree than the dominated alternative.
◦Â Â Â Eliminate any objectives that are met equally by all alternatives.
ÂÂ Â Â T: Use Tradeoffs to continue to whittle down alternatives and objectives
◦Â Â Â Among your remaining alternatives, use tradeoffs to make all things equal for a particular objective.Â Do this by creating an “equivalent alternative” to substitute into your matrix.
How to think about what your objectives are
ÂÂ Â Â When thinking about what you want in a job, think about three areas:
◦Â Â Â Daily work: what type of work do you want to be doing on a daily basis?
◦Â Â Â People: who do you want to work with and how?
◦Â Â Â Organization: what type of organization do you want to work for?
ÂÂ Â Â Check out the Quickstart Guide for Figuring Out What’s Next for more prompts on how to think about what your objectives are