The Importance of Framing - Activity

Chris Teague - 3 mins

Who’s it for: Decision makers.

What’s it for: To help teams and businesses ensure decisions lead to the best outcome being the most likely outcome.

“Good decisions don’t always lead to good outcomes, they merely lead to the best outcome being the most likely outcome.” Seth Godin, The AltMBA

As stated in my previous blog (It’s time to stop celebrating crazy at work) business is a collection of choices and decisions; every day is a new chance to make a new choice or decision to give you and your business the best chance of the best outcome being the most likely outcome.

All too often our decisions are hindered by 3 key factors:

1.Focusing on the perceived problem rather than the desired outcome

2.Considering investment to date (financial and/or emotional)


I’d like to share the top three tips to ensure your decisions lead to the best outcome being the most likely outcome.

1.Focus on the desired outcome We all too often sit down to discuss a particular problem and we immediately set about generating ideas/solutions to overcome this. The problem with this is if the perceived problem is a particular person then your options are limited.

If however, you decide to re-frame the discussion to focus on the desired outcome, such as the better performance of team X, rather than the perceived problem then addressing the problem person is just one option to help improve performance, there will be many more ideas that may well have an even greater impact. Therefore to increase the chances of the outcome being the best outcome then the more options considered, the better your chance of success. Reframing the discussion, is therefore an important Step One in any decision making.

2.Ignore your investment to date Allowing decision making to be influenced by your investment in previous decisions is an all too common mistake. Whether it be financial or emotional investment a decision made yesterday should not impact your decision making today - the conditions or environment might have changed, and you need to make your decision on what you now know or see today.

3.Remove emotions As with our ‘Book Review’ project, having a constructive discussion requires our individual emotions & agendas to be left at the door as they only cloud the water. Decision making is easy when simply dealing with the facts. What do the numbers say, what evidence do we have, etc. “The best way to begin to make good decisions, then, is to separate our attachment to the outcome from our understanding of the choices in front of us. Decisions with high stakes should be just as easy to make as decisions with trivial stakes if all the data is just as clear. If you fall in love with outcomes, if you are holding your breath and willing a certain thing to happen with all your might, it’s not going to help you make a better decision”. Seth Godin, The AltMBA


Part One: State the desired outcome Write down the goals or the outcome this decision is designed to support. Consider why it is important to act and do something different?

Part Two: List the options List every option you/the team can consider to help achieve the desired outcome.

Part Three: List the dependencies For each option now consider what the dependencies are; list the things the outcome is contingent on.

Part Four - Make your recommendation Based on what you now know what is your recommended action/decision?