Adonis Diaries

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Beyond Pros and Cons in decision making? I am curious to know what else we should expect

Decision-Making for Leaders: Beyond Pros and Cons

You believe in the conclusion, and then you create supporting arguments.” Daniel Kahneman

Or you think your hard and focused research give you the confidence to proclaim your biased tendency as the truth of your subject matter?

You weigh options based on the decision you’ve already made, while pretending to be open minded.

The pros and cons method doesn’t work because you discount options that don’t support the decision you’ve already made.

Leaders make decisions and then find ways to look smart for making them.


It helps to know the problem you’re trying to solve before you try solving it.

  1. What problem are you really solving?
  2. Why does the problem matter?
  3. What if you do nothing?


Explain the process when you include others.

Don’t delegate decision-making responsibility if the decision is yours. Explain that you’re exploring options.

How will team decisions be made? Consensus? 100% agreement?


Bad moods produce self-defeating behaviors.

How do you feel? Happy, worried, angry, afraid, fatigued, disgusted?

How might your emotional state impact the option that seems most desirable?

Sadness makes you willing to pay more but charge less.

Angry people tend to take more risks.

  1. What or who are you protecting? People hate losing more than they enjoy winning.
  2. What does your current emotional state suggest you are trying to achieve?
  3. How might you delay decision-making when emotional states are suboptimal?

(And anxious people tend to resolve a tough problem that initially was expected to be easy?)


  1. Create multiple options and narrow them to three. (Why Not just 2?)
  2. Bombard your options with questions.
  3. Include others in the process. Involve Doers and Dreamers.


  1. This decision makes me proud because….
  2. Imagine bragging about your decision to your children, spouse, or parents. What would you say?


  1. How do these options impact relationships with customers? Team members?
  2. How do these options strengthen or weaken relationships?


How do these options serve customers?


Which of these options best fulfills our mission?


How do these options reflect who you aspire to become?


How do these options express what really matters to me?

How might leaders go beyond pros and cons when it comes to decision-making?

What are dumb ways to make decisions?

Huge emotional differences: Glossing or framing questions, demands, options

You live in small town and there are about 600 suffering from an epidemic. The team of epidemic-control strategists is surveying the town for the best option they prefer for the actions. Four options are presented:

1. Choice A: Save 200 cases

2. Choice B: 33% chance all 600 will survive and 66% chance that no one will survive

3. Choice C: 400 dies

4. Choice D: 33% no one will die and 66% all will die.

What is your choice?

Probably you picked choice D.

Suppose you were given only option A and B. You probably selected choice A. No brainer: 200 in the hand is better than 600 on the tree.

Suppose you were presented with choices C and D? You probably selected choice D. Why?

Rationally, all 4 choices are identical in outcome, if probabilities are pretty correct, but your did selected certain choices. Why?

1. The difference in the framing of options was by changing the term life with death.

Negative connotations strike more powerful chords in our emotional worldview. We feel we had experienced far more sad, frustrating, painful moments and event in our survival process than we experienced happy and satisfying moments (and quickly forgotten to boot it)

Bad happenings are immeasurably higher in frequency and worse in consequences. This realization cannot improve our state of mind that tomorrow is going to be a “good day”

We are the descendants  of the cautious people, the luckier kinds, those who survived most of the bad happenings before they gave birth to a fresh bunch of descendants.

2. The intuitive, automatic and direct decision has a soft spot for the plausible stories.

3. We have this loss aversion bias in our genes.

Another example:

You are selecting for less fattening food. One jar says: 99% Fat Free and the other one is labeled only 1% fat. Which jar do you tend to select?

And yet, the two jars are identical in fat content.

Even if jar A says 91% fat free compared to Jar B of 2% fat, most probably you’ll pick jar A.

The term Glossing is the popular word for the technical term of Framing a questions, demands, options…

Your mother tells you:

1. The trash can is filled.

2. Could you please empty the can?

Which demand is more readily acceptable and sounds more musical to your ears?




February 2023

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