04 January 2011

Decision Making Tips

Divergent & Convergent Thinking

When we trying to start something new or to try to solve a problem, it is important that we apply Divergent and Convergent thinking iteratively through out the process.  In The Yin-Yang Thinking Framework we discussed the more general framework of applying the bi-polar thinking concept. We can start with Divergent thinking when we are exploring. We do that effectively by including diverse experts in our team. Failing which, we try to play out the different roles to get the viewpoints from different angles. However, after some time, the diverged views have to be consolidated. We must arrived at certain points of agreement by applying convergent thinking in order to move forward.  We can agree on the priorities, and the subset of opinions, so that we can move forward. As we move forward, we may hit new road blocks or discover new facts or trends that we did not considered earlier. It is then time to call for Divergent thinking again. So here are a few principles we can use:
  1. For exploration and problem identification, start with Divergent Thinking.
  2. To have coordinated  high speed execution and movement, we need convergent thinking.
  3. Both can be apply iteratively or dynamically to move quickly toward the optimum point. This pattern is not fixed.
Dynamic applications of solutions are important. A person wanted to keep the birds away from his hanger.  He tried various methods like using artificial birds, sound, paints, nets etc. He discovered that any of the solution only worked for a few months at best. What can you suggest to him?
  1. Search for more solution – using live hawks? lights and reflectors etc.
  2. Implement a few of the solution at the same time.
  3. Dynamically alternate the solutions over random time period to prevent adaptation by the birds.
  4. Other ideas?

Conflict Resolution

To have convergence of differences in opinions and ideas, we need methods to resolve conflicts and gain agreement. Commitment to the agreement comes from a fair, transparent, debates of differences. We respect the ideas put forward and not go by the position of the person offering the ideas. We must have a few principles to follow in Conflict Resolutions. Here are some proposals:
  1. Respect for each other.
  2. Go for the ideas and not on the person, and definitely not by his rank. His domain expertise may count some what but just make a note. We know experts also make a lot of very wrong predictions. e.g. the world has need of only 5 mainframes. Who needs PC? (names left out. If you are curious, do a Google search)
  3. Go by goals or objectives. What we want to achieve together?
  4. Go for a win-win. Without a win-win for all, there is no convergent yet. Rehash, rethink, applying the BVITS thinking method, until we can find a win-win for all (at least the agreed key groups of people).
  5. Discuss the “HOW to reach agreement” if we have a stalemate. We need to review the method for arriving at a agreement.  Get the How agreed and then go back to work out the final answer or answers needed.
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