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Framing Your Decisions

A decision can be defined as a course of action purposely chosen from a set of alternatives to achieve organizational or managerial objectives or goals. Effective decision making is a critical component of managing any organization or business activities and are frequently made at ALL levels of an organization.

Jamie Flinchbaugh in his newest book “People Solve Problems” (strongly recommended), addresses the models and steps to problem solving, but more importantly he focuses on the thinking and the behaviors for effective problem solving. As Jamie indicates, the 1st step in problem solving is describing or “framing” the problem. The same problem solving thinking should be used for decision making.

Framing is about determining “what is in and what is out” and the “weight” of what stays in.

For example. You have identified new furniture and fixtures for your new apartment.

1.The price of the new TV in the store is $900, delivery is free. You just got a text that the exact same TV is at a store 1 mile away for $850 and all else is equal. Would you decide to travel the mile?
2.The price of the new family room chair in the store is $300 and free delivery. You just got a text that the same chair is at a store 1 mile away for $250 and all else is equal. Would you decide to travel the mile?

In an unscientific survey, a slightly higher percentage of respondents chose to drive the mile in scenario #2 than in in #1. There is no real difference in the scenarios. You save $50 in either case. It is simply if you are willing to drive a mile or not.

Why did more people choose to travel the mile in scenario #2 than in #1. The answer is people decide differently because they frame the decision differently. In which scenario would you drive the mile? Maybe you would drive the mile in either of the scenarios?

Simple decisions do not need framing, The more difficult decisions (more variability) do require framing. Do you frame your decisions? What’s in, what’s out, and the weight you give to what’s left in.

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