Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
~ The Clash

The anguish of making a decision encapsulated in the 1981 hit by The Clash, affects all of us in different ways. For many of Whitespace business clients, effective decision making is a skill which can be improved by raising their corporate consciousness.

Many of us marvel at the variety of choices offered to consumers in the United States.  While most Europeans dislike the idea of a “Nanny State” where government regulations determine our choices, we nonetheless, wonder why stateside regulators allow epidemic obesity without limiting the preponderance of fast-junk food.  I have to admit, however, that peanut butter filled pretzels would be a welcome addition to my British supermarket.

Behavioural scientists have advised consumer marketing companies that too many choices actually frighten the buyer away from making a selection.  The trend to fewer, flavours, sizes, colours is growing and super stores and hyper markets will necessarily shrink in the near future. The return to high street mom and pop shops is predicted, by many social scientists to be the new solution to attract consumers with fewer choices but more personalised services.

Ben Franklin proposed a method of making a decision by listing all of the expected positives and negatives relevant to the choice and then prioritising the importance of the outcomes. While logical and systematic the Franklin method does little to alleviate those decisions which appear to be very equal in good and bad possible results and it is those decisions which are most difficult.

Whitespace methodology changes the focus from the back and forth of “should I stay or should I go,” to the essential elements of the decision.  First, accumulate and list the factors relevant to the decision. Second, prioritise the relevant factors. Third, realise that in close decisions your subjectivity, your gut, as it is sometimes called is important. Fourth, give your self a deliberation deadline. The fifth and most important element is to commit to your decision. Your firm intention and commitment to the decision is the most important aspect to a positive result.

Leaders in business and in government often make the wrong decision but if their intention is firm and their commitment is strong, the passion they exude will often convince their team to join in the process and positive outcomes are magically produced. John Kennedy when asked if he regretted the decision he had made to send a covert invasion to the Bay of Pigs Cuba, replied that he never regrets decisions because he makes them based on the best information available at the time.  President Kennedy also went on to add that he never, “second guesses” his decisions but learns from his mistakes.  Kennedy made major changes to his intelligence gathering agencies after the failed Bay of Pigs operation which led to his decision to confront Kruschev and advert the USSR nuclear threat.  When leaders are aware of the decision making process and the importance of their firm intention the equivocation and self doubts often felt when pondering a decision, disappear.

Whitespace has coined the acronym RED-OP to assist with your decisions.

R. retrieve all the data and pertinent information available
E. evaluate the factors and outcomes
D. deliberate and follow your intuition, your heart and indeed your gut.
O. opt for the best solution by the deadline which you have set
P. passionately commit to your decision and communicate your firm intention.

So ask not, “should I stay or should I go” but have confidence that the RED-OP will get you to the best destination.

Read more about Whitespace Business Dynamics.