Avoiding either-or binary decisions

People often state a personal or professional decision as an either-or or binary (2 alternative) proposition.  Should I build a new house or stay where I’m at (do nothing)?  Should I build a new custom home or buy an existing house in my community?

When I hear this I want to shout “TUNNEL VISION!”.  While there may be situations in which there are only 2 alternatives for a decision, framing a decision this way prematurely cuts off the creative thinking that can lead to solutions that are far superior to any “off-the-shelf” or “top-of-the-mind” alternatives.

Why not buy a “spec” home?  Buy a condo? Remodel and flip a foreclosure?  Lease a condo?  Rent an apartment?  Build a multi-family dwelling and lease the other units?  Go on the road with an RV? Go live with rich relatives?

To help you avoid the tunnel vision trap, the patterns in the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) always frame a decision as a fundamental question that demands a solution, without embedding any specific alternatives in the decision title.  “Housing Strategy” invites you to think of many creative ways to meet your housing needs.

Most great (novel, breakthrough) answers are the product of “synthesis” – the process of putting together a set of parts/pieces in a unique way.  A quick form of synthesis is to create a hybrid, to combine the best features of 2 alternatives to produce a superior third alternative.  Then combine these two alternatives a different way to form alternative #4.   You get the picture…

So the next time someone comes to you with an either-or proposition, surprise them by suggesting a third, fourth and fifth alternative then reframe their decision as a “solution-independent” question.  They might even thank you.

You can use the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) to frame your decisions as “solution-independent” questions.  This simple skill can trigger an innovation revolution in your business or life. Get started by contacting the Decision Driven® Solutions team at trial@decisiondriven.com or solutions@decisiondriven.com to start your free trial of DDSF.

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
This entry was posted in Decision Concepts, Decision Driven Innovation, Decision Driven Life, Decision Driven Product Development, Decision Driven Strategy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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