Creativity involves the use of imagination or original ideas to create something new or worthwhile. Associating creativity and decision making might represent such an original and worthwhile idea.
How to become a better decision maker, be more creative and possibly start a personal (r)evolution is not an obvious one. Many people, when it comes to decision making, start with and base their thinking on very natural and seemingly practical concepts like: “Yes or No”, “Right or Left”, “Win or Lose”, “Do or Die” …
For simplicity, I like to call this kind of thinking more left brain (just as a figure of speech) or structured. The aspects of creativity that we conventionally associate with right brain activity are, by definition, still missing. In contrast and by design, Decision Timing, which is the topic of this article, presents a much more integrated (also intuitive), radically different and creative approach to decision making.
If you are new to Decision Timing, here upfront a quick definition, so that you can understand the context of the arguments, presented here, more easily: “Decision Timing is a system of methods & tools that supports the decision maker in taking important and irrevocable decisions in a proactive, less biased, more creative and more sustainable way.” Referring to the picture above, you might agree that you are possibly looking at a more creative process, but not so much a sustainable or proactive one, but please bear with me, I will discuss these particular aspects of Decision Timing later on and in follow-up articles.
Experiencing your quantum leap in decision making
Conventional thinking or traditional decision making is usually set, as already indicated above, in very simple concepts or formulas like: “Yes or No”, “Left or Right” etc. . Rather than questioning the rules, concepts, boundaries or assumptions of a decision, everything tends to be taken as a given. There is assumed to be “very little” to “no leeway” in how to deal with our decision: “Do or Die”, “Win or Lose”. Most people do not only frame decisions in such a way, they also process them in this fashion. I would refer to this as “single-dimension” or, at most, “dual-dimension” decision making. To illustrate what I mean, take the terms “Head decision making” or “Gut decision making”, or “Left brain decision making” and “Right brain decision making”. When things are assumed to go well, people might apply both of these dimensions, but in reference to Decision Timing, which I am presenting here, specifically with respect to creativity, this is only the starting position into a potentially “Multi-Dimensional Universe of Decision Making”.
To start with, the leaps and dimensions, that you could add to your ordinary decision making, can be very personal, in say quantity or quality. For some, adding more “gut-feeling” to their “head decision”, or vice versa, can already represent a big change or leap in decision making. Decision Timing does not stop here though!
I am really talking about quantum leaps! Well, you might think, Decision Timing is just another one of those “always reappearing change vehicles in new clothing”, using a big “war cry” along the lines of “now let us concentrate on doing things differently or more creatively”, but be warned, if you think that, you are certainly in danger of missing what I am presenting here.
Decision Timing is a very complex, comprehensive and integrated system of methods & tools that supports you as a decision maker to take your important and irrevocable decisions in a proactive, less biased, more creative and more sustainable way. You can probably appreciate that it would go beyond the scope of this introductory blog article to try to present this comprehensive system here in all aspects, that took more than 500 pages to develop in my book “Decision Timing”.
Nonetheless, I would like to provide you in this article, with a practical framework, that can help you to specifically appreciate at least one of those aspects, namely how creativity is employed in the system of Decision Timing. In due course similar articles on the special aspects of proactivity (#DecisionTimer, #GoalSetting), less bias (#Counter-Priming, #Awareness) and sustainability (#DiaryProcess, #Balance&Control) in Decision Timing will follow.
Five conceptual leaps in Decision Timing that make your decision making more creative
To be able to use and apply the conceptual leaps presented here, you need to emancipate or set yourself free from the decision first. You are the creator, actor and producer of that decision. Everything is possible provided you equip yourself with the necessary resources to work on and eventually execute that decision. Of the many resources that you will probably require, one is indispensable and central, namely time. Very simply put: “Without sufficient time, no Decision Timing!”. The time set aside to work on your decision will also provide you with a second indispensable aspect: “With your decision deadline approaching your perspective on your decision will change as decision pressure increases.” The third and last introductory aspect, as well as the design highlight of the process: “To really emancipate and set yourself free from your decision, and to be able to apply the necessary decision pressure at will, you need to be able to repeat the decision process several times!”
Having prepared the ground, let me present each leap in more detail.
1) Generate multiple frames & goals for your decision
To generate and understand the various frames and aspects of those frames that we apply to our decision, we need to be able deconstruct and reconstruct all major elements of those frames. The better we understand our frames & goals, the easier and likelier it is to improve them. Taking the above picture as an example, what are we dealing with? A restaurant, a café, a bistro, a wine bar, a canteen, a playground, a photo studio, a design studio, a film set, a workshop to test materials etc.
2) Generate more and better criteria & options for your decision
Having chosen two or three of the suggested frames above, we can generate several criteria & options that fit best to the goals & frames that we have identified for our decision. This is not a one-stop process. We rework, test and develop them as described in the followings leaps 3), 4) and 5)
3) Apply trial & error in testing your decision frames and decision options
Be prepared to extend your knowledge and experience beyond your current state. Only by trying & testing with respective success and failure will you learn more about yourself, the decision at hand, the frames and options you currently consider.
4) Use counter-priming to reduce and overcome biases in decision framing and decision evaluation
You will only enter a state where you are really free to choose when you can identify, reduce and overcome your biases associated with priming. These primes can be related to principles of association like resemblance, contiguity in time and place, as well as causality. An example for a very likely priming effect in the picture above would be to expect a waiter or guests rather than an elephant. The process of counter-priming is specifically designed into the system of Decision Timing to systematically counter the effects of association listed above.
Having reduced and overcome your primes, you are “free to evaluate” and “free to choose”.
5) Systematically develop and evolve your best decision frames and options
By repeating your decision process, you can emancipate yourself from the decision, the decision pressure, a given perspective and your primes. Following this approach you can develop and evolve your best fitting frames and options. This new freedom will certainly lead to more creative decisions.
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More creativity, as indicated above, does not however automatically lead to more sustainability and proactivity in decision making. Just as with the five leaps framework presented here to produce more creativity in decision making, Decision Timing also provides particular methods & tools for proactivity (#DecisionTimer, #GoalSetting), less bias (#Counter-Priming, #Awareness) and sustainability (#DiaryProcess, #Balance&Control).
The key element and process that keeps the whole system of Decision Timing together can be summarized with “proactive balance and control of goals“.
This key process in Decision Timing, is, as presented with the five leaps framework, not carried out in any random way, but in the most creative way!
Well, some of you might think, I am not a creative person, how could I possibly carry out this process. Do not worry! Take heart and be inspired by the elephant in the picture above. Just like the elephant, you have all the necessary qualities like patience, curiosity, wisdom, courage, a very good memory, for the decisions previously taken, as well as the preparedness and motivation to improve your decision making.
As a very holy and wise man once said:”If you are inspired and keep working, you will undoubtedly have success, whatever you are trying to achieve!“.
My best wishes for you for 2018! May you be able to take your important decisions in the best, least biased, most creative and most sustainable way!
Felix Schürholz, Coach