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Old 16 April 2018, 20:30
DaveP DaveP is offline
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Decision-making

How (quickly) do you come to an actionable decision?
Has your process evolved - from experience, direct training/education, serving under notable leadership?
Practicing your OODA loop?

Accused (rightly) of impatience most of my life, my tolerance for folks - at work especially, but when I was climbing, even driving or in the grocery store - who seem to micro-analyze their decisions to the point of seeming vaporlock is ebbing noticeably of late. While I'm willing to consider that this is because 1) low T, or 2) maybe I really am a dick, this article suggests another possibility.

https://digitalcommons.tourolaw.edu/.../vol33/iss1/6/
clicking the title will link the text

Jurist leanings aside, I found it interesting reading (while waiting at the hospital to get blood drawn, WTF...); it makes the case that some people can confidently act once their mental calculus reaches a fairly rapid but appropriate tipping point, and some are drawn into long agony of proving the validity of decision to themselves.


Don't get me wrong, I'm a fairly merciless self-critic once the ball gets rolling, whether it's tripping breakers after one of my wiring projects or watching to see if a patient's O2 sat responds to bolus diuretics and a nasal cath; do no harm, but for crying out loud, don't do nothing.

Welcoming thoughts, or alternatively DH deeming "too dumb, even for the Lounge".
DaveP
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Old 16 April 2018, 20:37
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The first thing I determine is "Do I need to make a decision?" Am I at a decision point or do I have more time to gather more information. I think this is something that may rush or cause less than desirable decisions.
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Old 16 April 2018, 22:53
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I recall several old threads in the books section on the topic of making decisions under stress.
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Old 16 April 2018, 23:08
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Hmmmm. Interesting subject.

I'm kinda inpatient as well and have a hard time with stupidity.

For me, I'm very good in a crisis. Instant snap decisions. Right or wrong do something.

As to what tires to put on a vehicle, I could draw it out for weeks.
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Old 16 April 2018, 23:34
DaveP DaveP is offline
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1RS, I think you and the TFG speak to the same thing? Putting urgency up against available information.
Do I need a better decision, or do I need the best decision I can make right now?

It's a little different than Brandeis' 51%, but it still comes down to getting traction without the time/effort/emotion sink of rehashing it to oblivion.
Until things go pear-shaped and then you recalculate.
Tricky balance - can you teach/hone it or do professions requiring it self-select?

ET1/ss nuke, thanks for that bearing; didn't look there but will correct that. I was just marveling at how many views the book threads have.

DaveP
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Old 16 April 2018, 23:35
MacSwarthy MacSwarthy is offline
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I find that the key to making quick decisions that I can support later on is first determining what the desired end state is; preferably knowing what it is before the situation arises (e.g. in climbing: do I want to climb the shortest, fastest, easiest, safest, etc. route?). That alone will eliminate vast swaths of ambiguity. Once that's established, one can perform quick hypothesis testing on the potential means of achieving that desired goal. Once the field of choices is whittled down to a handful of options, test to see if the remaining choices contain an equal amount of ambiguity/unknown variables. If that's the case, then it's usually a matter of just picking a choice since no amount of rumination will provide any more clarity. In those situations, I usually go with my gut, but I make sure that I can explain clearly to myself the reasoning that got me there. If I have the time, I also try to identify preliminary results that will indicate that I've made the wrong choice and formulate what my corrective actions will be. I always try to remain as data-driven as possible since this keeps me from wandering around in the gooey, subjective swamp of qualitative analysis.

I've come to this method through personal experience (and I should probably read some of the book ET1/ss mentioned), but I have found it to provide very quick and acceptably accurate decisions. It's major weakness is that it only really works if one is already familiar with the data relevant to the decision, or, failing that, being able to quickly identify and collect the data needed to make the decision. A prerequisite is that one has to make peace with the fact that one will never have all of the data to make a perfect decision.

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Last edited by MacSwarthy; 16 April 2018 at 23:36. Reason: Errant comma
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Old 16 April 2018, 23:51
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I would say this discussion could break into two different types of broad topics. One topic being your own personal decision making cycle, and the other being in a work environment. For me, my personal decision making cycle is pretty quick during critical situations, because the ripple effect of those decisions is usually small. Work is a completely different beast...quick decisions based off of limited information can often inadvertently raise the level of risk. The ripple effect for quick decisions in a work environment (mostly talking corporate critical incident management here) can easily do more harm than good.

For my own personal decision making cycle, I usually use something along the lines of an OODA loop. For work, in order to prevent making hasty decisions, I would say that I use more of an intelligence processing cycle:

- Collect and sort all available info
- Conduct an initial assessment
- Develop initial inferences
- Are there gaps in information?
If yes -- Find a new collection plan
- Collect further information and evaluation new against old
- Reevaluate and revise inferences
- If no -- Develop final inferences and create an action plan
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Old 16 April 2018, 23:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacSwarthy View Post
It's major weakness is that it only really works if one is already familiar with the data relevant to the decision, or, failing that, being able to quickly identify and collect the data needed to make the decision. A prerequisite is that one has to make peace with the fact that one will never have all of the data to make a perfect decision.

-MacS
This x1000. I consistently see corporate security approaches that involve a checklist for low-level security personnel to revert to during an incident. The issue I have with this, is that by the time senior staff capable of making decisions finally get involved, the threat environment has already changed and we're behind the curve. This has caused severe latency in the development of any action plan, and the resulting outcome is always less than desirable. This may not pertain to everyone's situation though.
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Old 17 April 2018, 00:26
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While it may be impossible to foresee every possible event in one's future, when I complete the set tasks before me I use the luxury of my remaining time to ponder the possibilities of the future, not in an effort to have a precise response programmed within myself, but to have a general azimuth as to what direction has proven itself to be more effective in totality.

A careful reexamination of any shortcomings in my personal and professional life allow me to continually adjust the compass. When the heat is on, I don't look for a detailed map, I simply run toward to the needle that's been set and reset over the many years of experience.
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Old 17 April 2018, 00:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveP View Post
1RS, I think you and the TFG speak to the same thing? Putting urgency up against available information.
Do I need a better decision, or do I need the best decision I can make right now?

It's a little different than Brandeis' 51%, but it still comes down to getting traction without the time/effort/emotion sink of rehashing it to oblivion.
Until things go pear-shaped and then you recalculate.
Tricky balance - can you teach/hone it or do professions requiring it self-select?

ET1/ss nuke, thanks for that bearing; didn't look there but will correct that. I was just marveling at how many views the book threads have.

DaveP

It can be taught, but again I was in a profession where the audience was self selected. Still, those selected many didn't make the cut. At least w/o retraining.

As for decisions that allow time to consider the outcome. Many things have to be taken into consideration:

What's the desired outcome/end state
Risk management
Research
Cost/budget

Wow! This could be a long list. Smarter guys will add on.
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Old 17 April 2018, 01:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick View Post
This x1000. I consistently see corporate security approaches that involve a checklist for low-level security personnel to revert to during an incident. The issue I have with this, is that by the time senior staff capable of making decisions finally get involved, the threat environment has already changed and we're behind the curve. This has caused severe latency in the development of any action plan, and the resulting outcome is always less than desirable. This may not pertain to everyone's situation though.
Great post! Expecting people under stress to remember very detailed instructions, of which they never even train on (in some cases).
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Old 17 April 2018, 09:51
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An interesting phenomenon for sure. The two ends of the spectrum, IMO analysis/paralysis and mentally shoot from the hip are not outliers and I see them all the time. The best decision makers are like anything else "gifted". Yes you can train responses, but the best guys I have worked with are like the best pro athletes time slows down, the inputs arrange them selves in a progressive order and the output happens and sometimes that is take no action at all.
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Old 17 April 2018, 10:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick View Post
This x1000. I consistently see corporate security approaches that involve a checklist for low-level security personnel to revert to during an incident. The issue I have with this, is that by the time senior staff capable of making decisions finally get involved, the threat environment has already changed and we're behind the curve. This has caused severe latency in the development of any action plan, and the resulting outcome is always less than desirable. This may not pertain to everyone's situation though.
My boss tasked me with writing SOP's/Emergency protocol. He wanted a lot of detail, but I really didn't like that idea; whatever specific instances I could manage to cover pretty much ensure that those are precisely what will not occur, and agents may fixate on 'the rules', instead of relying on experience and flowing with the situation (nevermind that few guys will actually read a damn book, fewer still remember what they read, and no one has time to pull out an sop mid-event, if it's serious). Luckily I'm not dealing with lower end personnel, that would be a nightmare, and at that point it probably becomes a cya situation for management.
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Old 17 April 2018, 10:30
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My boss tasked me with writing SOP's/Emergency protocol. He wanted a lot of detail, but I really didn't like that idea; whatever specific instances I could manage to cover pretty much ensure that those are precisely what will not occur, and agents may fixate on 'the rules', instead of relying on experience and flowing with the situation (nevermind that few guys will actually read a damn book, fewer still remember what they read, and no one has time to pull out an sop mid-event, if it's serious). Luckily I'm not dealing with lower end personnel, that would be a nightmare, and at that point it probably becomes a cya situation for management.
Commander's intent. I will tell people what needs to be done and let them loose.
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Old 17 April 2018, 10:32
Paul85 Paul85 is offline
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Some details are important, some should be passed over, some can halt entire process. It takes experience to find out what ingridients you need in certain decision making processes to make them effective. That said, I always believed in simplicity. Once you start to ovecomplicate things you're doomed to fail IMO. Because try as we may,w e are just human beings and not omnipotent HALs 9000 (and look what it did to HAL lol). Also, there's something called common sense.

For me, decisions have windows during which they carry a meaning. After that window closes, the decision might be useless because window of opportunity to fix the problem has closed.

I also often see decision-making algorithms in some companies that are so complicated that before they are finished the situation at hand does not need them anymore. Sometimes it's the good idea fairies needlessly complicating simple things. Because PowerPoint and paper will take everything. Write away. To hell with people who one day might be unlucky enough to use the procedure.
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Old 17 April 2018, 11:59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1RiserSlip View Post

For me, I'm very good in a crisis. Instant snap decisions. Right or wrong do something.

As to what tires to put on a vehicle, I could draw it out for weeks.
Pretty much the same here. My selective procrastination drives my wife nuts.
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Old 17 April 2018, 12:17
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Commander's intent. I will tell people what needs to be done and let them loose.
You mean give them a general direction, then actually trust them to do the job? (and that you put the right people in place to start with, who are capable of this?)

You sound like a good bossman.
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Old 17 April 2018, 12:36
Gsniper Gsniper is offline
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You sound like a good bossman
Or a unicorn.
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Old 17 April 2018, 12:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1RiserSlip View Post
I'm kinda inpatient as well and have a hard time with stupidity.

For me, I'm very good in a crisis. Instant snap decisions. Right or wrong do something.

As to what tires to put on a vehicle, I could draw it out for weeks.
Analysis Paralysis...It happens to me all the time. Crisis = quick rational thought. Which box of Triscuits to buy vs. Volume vs. Price...Drives the wife nuts.

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You still have made a choice
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And kindness that can kill
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I will choose free will"
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Old 17 April 2018, 13:27
Devildoc Devildoc is offline
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You mean give them a general direction, then actually trust them to do the job? (and that you put the right people in place to start with, who are capable of this?)

You sound like a good bossman.
In the military I was never in charge of more than a division of about 20 sailors. Not too hard to manage.

In civilian life my biggest leadership job was nurse manager of a surgery-trauma ICU, about 75 nurses, techs, and admin folks. I hate micromanaging, and I hate when employees go off-script then get scared of being fired.

My rules:

1) Do right by the patient
2) Do right by your colleagues
3) Do right by the department
4) If you fuck up, tell me so I can get ahead of it

They knew what the policies were, and I trusted that when I gave them a directive of what to do, they could figure out how to do it. A few people I had to reign in and really guide, but overall, productivity went up, work culture went up, complaints went down.

I left because my direct report was a cunt of highest magnitude who was a micromanager first class and second-guessed my every move.
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