I don’t watch a lot of TV, but what I do watch is tilted towards the home improvement shows, since my wife and I are not big fans of what’s on the big networks these days.
They’re pretty relaxing viewing, actually, because there’s always a happy ending for the couple doing the redecorating or remodeling. Somehow they make the right choices, guided by the “experts” (and some very talented carpenters).
But there’s another thing about these shows that is very illuminating for the most unlikeliest of people – business leaders.
It’s in observing how the decorating decisions are made that the businessperson can find a great piece of advice.
Use the process of elimination in making strategic choices – that is, find out what you don’t want before you figure out what you want.
You can see how this works on the home improvement shows by watching a designer guide his or her clients through the decision making process on colors and finishes. They typically start with a very wide range of choices, and then ask a simple question – “tell me what you don’t like”.
Before too long everything is narrowed down to just a few selections, and the end game becomes much easier (I wish I had done it this way when we decorated our house!).
Effective business decision-making ideally should follow the same process – laying out all the alternatives, and systematically eliminating the unacceptable ones.
This may appear to be perfectly logical, but it’s amazing how in practice I’ve seen it handled much differently in the boardroom – more of “which one do you like best”? This approach typically results in a much longer discussion, since it’s much harder to get a fast consensus on what’s best, versus what’s worst.
So the next time you are faced with a decision with many choices, think like those designers on TV and use the process of elimination– who knows, you might end up repainting your office or boardroom too!