Most advice about decision-making amounts to Yogi Berra’s famous quip, “When you get to the fork in the road, take it.” But I just finished a helpful book about making better choices by the Heath brothers (Chip and Dan). Their advice hinges upon what they call the WRAP Process, summarized below. Someone said, “I used to be indecisive; now, I’m not so sure.” The Health bros. will help you become far more DECISIVE.
THE W.R.A.P. PROCESS
Widen Your options
Adding options, even fictional ones, can keep us from looking through a narrow frame with tunnel vision. Both parents and presidents tend to limit choices to EITHER-OR. Informed decisions need BOTH-AND thinking. Multiple options bring out shades and contrasts we miss in the “A” OR “B” approach. Find someone who has solved your problem to explore a wider frame and unearth options “C” and “D”.
Reality-test your assumptions
Ever heard of a confirmation bias? That’s when you’ve already drawn a conclusion and start bending information to that end. Reminds me of the guy who asked God to open up a parking spot in front of the Krispy Kreme to help him decide if he should stop. After the 11th lap around the building…. Voila! To balance our bias, we must ask disconfirming questions “What could go wrong here?” What’s one reason not to choose option “A”?
Attain distance Before deciding
Emotions in the moment can lead to bad long-term choices. Attain distance by redirecting your approach: What would I tell my best friend to do? Another way to reframe your perspective is the 10/10 approach. If you had 10 years left to live and inherited $10 million dollars, what priorities would rise to the top? When decisions are agonizing, we need to clarify our core priorities—and go on the offensive for them.
Prepare to Be Wrong
Assumptions can lead to false confidence about how the future will unfold. We need to play worse-case scenario and fast-forward the movie through the final scene. The Heaths call this a “premortem.” In the process of evaluation, set “tripwires,” boundaries which signal a possible violation of priorities.
“The heart of a man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps” (Prov. 16:9).