Over the past 20+ years, I’ve developed a large portfolio of decision patterns. As a consultant to high-tech industries, I’m often thrown into situations where I’m not a technical expert and I’m in a room filled with lots of folks who are. What do I do to add value when I barely understand the acronyms and buzzwords flying around the room? I cheat. I depend on decision patterns.
My Decision Driven® Strategy pattern is comprehensive – it starts with the vision of the business (or government agency, non-profit organization) and extends down to the detailed design decisions to create its capabilities and solutions. Because I’ve used this decision pattern hundreds of times, I can close my eyes and walk through all of its branches in my head. It’s almost as if the decisions pre-exist the situation; they are really there but just haven’t been recognized and made visible to the team. It usually takes me about 1 or 2 minutes of listening to the subject matter experts before I can locate the decision or cluster of decisions that they are discussing. At this point, I can either take control of the meeting openly or “drive from the back of the bus” by asking questions that steer the team toward a well-framed decision.
Decision patterns are the secret to agile thinking. Once you locate your position within a decision pattern, you understand the context of what must be thought through, even if you don’t fully understand the specialized content. You can also shine the light on parent, sibling or child decisions that may have been overlooked and may be more appropriate to attack. By reframing the decision to be made, you trigger on-the-spot innovation and break a team out of common ruts such as analysis paralysis, jumping to alternatives, diving into detail, and tunnel vision.
Decision patterns are most powerful when used with your customers. Once you master the Decision Driven® Strategy pattern (or your own variant of it) you can walk into a meeting with your customer, use the pattern to build a mental model of their situation and become a partner in developing your customer’s strategy and solutions. That’s a lot better competitive position than being a commodity supplier!
I challenge you to start your journey toward mastery of decision patterns today by learning more about them and their application. Start a trial of the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) by contacting the Decision Driven® Solutions team at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.