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13 Core Principles of Lean Decisions

Decisions threaten to overwhelm us. Life has gotten faster, the world has gotten smaller and our choices have grown exponentially.

Yet have we gotten better at making decisions?

Lean Decisions wants to help you make faster, less stressful decisions with better outcomes. How? By teaching you patterns, techniques and insights that eliminate waste in your decision-making and increase the predictability of your outcomes.

But what does this mean? What are the core principles of Lean Decisions?  Read on…

1. Decisions matter

The choices we make alter the course of our life. Luck certainly plays a role. But to advance in life and business, you need to improve your decision-making skills. At it’s core, Lean Decisions is about researching, then teaching you, how to make better decisions and learning when luck has the upper hand.

2. Avoiding a bad decision = making a good decision

You don’t have to make great decisions to do better, you just have to avoid bad decisions. Patterns and techniques can help you spot these decisions.

3. Some decisions don’t need to be made

Too often we focus so much on making a decision, we forget to ask whether the decision needs to be made in the first place. Sometimes the best decision is no decision.

4. Some decisions need to be made later

Making a decision too soon can result in a poor outcome. Delaying a decision gives you time to collect information, some of which may not be available until later. Delay allows you to carefully analyze your decision.

5. Some decisions need to be made now

Delay doesn’t work for all decisions. Options may only be available for a limited time. Waiting to make the decision may limit your options, or cause you to miss out on a great option. Patterns can help us determine when to wait and when to act.

6. More information is not always better

Gathering more information than is needed to make a decision wastes time and energy. Experts make better decisions with less information than amateurs because they focus on relevant information. Learning what is relevant improves the efficiency of our decisions.

7. More process is not always better

Detailed analysis of a decision doesn’t always result in a better outcome. Some decisions only require a quick, lightweight analysis, while others need deeper analysis. Guidelines can recommend the right process for the right decision.

8. Success must be defined

To improve, we need a yardstick. If we don’t define what success looks like, we won’t know if we’ve achieved it. Our definition of success must be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

9. Gut vs data-driven decisions is a false dichotomy

Decisions involve both. Gut decisions rely on subconscious information—but it’s still data. And data-driven decisions made without a gut-check can be disastrous, as are pure gut decisions made blindly with no information.

10. Decisions follow patterns

Buying a car and buying a house follow a similar pattern: pick one option from many. Investing in stocks follow a different pattern: pick many options, then allocate a limited pool of money across those options. Patterns give us guidelines for how to make a decision, what information to use and how to track and measure the outcome. A core goal of Lean Decisions is to identify and document useful decision patterns.

11. Patterns depend on context

Context is crucial. No one right way to make a decision exists. To make a successful decision, you must first understand its context. Patterns help by guiding you based on the context of your decision.

12. Small changes can have big impacts

Learning simple things, like eating before a big decision, can reduce the time you spend making decisions and increase your chance of a successful outcome. These insights and techniques can make you more confident, more decisive and less stressed.

13. Decision-making is both an art & a science

Great decisions require discipline, knowledge and inspiration. Techniques, insights and patterns can teach skills, but the art of decision-making requires practice. Become conscious of the decisions you make, then practice making them well.

If you believe in these principles too, you’ll enjoy Lean Decisions.

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