Tag Archives: Decision-making

Think better

Have you ever been presented with a problem and delivered an expected solution? Most likely.

This is the usual response when addressing a challenge. We employ known ideas, known methods to deliver a known solution. Those who know me, will attest that I am a conservative thinker, but I’ve been challenged recently to think a little differently. This isn’t different for the sake of being different, this is in an attempt to deliver solutions that go beyond the easily digested and expected outcome.

I do not believe we should be diverging from an established path simply ‘just because’; but if there is an opportunity to be truly innovative that could potentially deliver a shorter or more efficient route for future challenges, then I suggest it must be considered.

Case in point is the marrying of social welfare and economics. Did you know it costs over $4 billion to simply administer the social welfare system in Australia to deliver $165 billion in payments (source: Australian Government Dept of Human Services 2014-15 Annual report)? That’s a weekly outlay of $3 billion with an administration cost of $80 million.

Traditional thinking has been to tweak eligibility requirements, strengthen the compliance framework, modify or revise payments… an alternative view is to replace the system entirely with what is known as a universal basic income. At its simplest, a basic income is a common universal payment to each and every member of society, irrespective of income or employment status or health profile. This payment would be designed to meet the basic living costs and, perhaps surprisingly, is not a new concept. It can trace its origin back to the 1800’s with it afforded greater prominence in the 1960s (thanks to noted economist Milton Friedman) and has been the topic of debate periodically since. Finland is trialling this concept.

Now I’m not intending to deliver economic or social rationale for either of these approaches in this post, that’s for you to discover! I am hoping, though, to encourage all of us to innovate our thinking by exploring an alternative view to a current challenge, seeking to understand its merits or otherwise.

If we want better solutions, we need different thinking, better thinking.


Do I need an umbrella?

Looking out the window across the cloud-covered sky to the street below I made an assessment that it was not raining heavily enough to impede my lunch time walk.

This assessment remained correct for five minutes, after which the grey clouds decided to dump significantly more moisture. I castigated myself for not bringing my umbrella which I had originally deemed as not being required. How could my assessment have been wrong?

The fact is, my assessment was correct, at that point in time. Circumstances beyond my control then changed the situation.

How often do we make decisions that are relevant to a particular point in time and then become frustrated or disappointed when the situation changes?

What may seem entirely reasonable and attainable with one particular set of circumstances, can quickly become distant and improbable. This shouldn’t prevent us from making decisions, rather it should encourage us to consider what factors are likely to change and then plan accordingly.

This is contingency planning. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just considered. In my case, I should have taken an umbrella – a minor encumbrance that would have meant I was prepared for the situational change. Some things cannot be planned for, but most can! The grey clouds were the indicator that my point-in-time assessment could be short-lived.

For what situation do you need to take an umbrella?


Getting your life off pause

The song is on the playlist but there’s no sound. It’s all quiet and serene when it should be happening and upbeat!

The equipment is in order so what can it be?

We’ve hit the pause button! We didn’t hit pause consciously so what happened?

Many of us experience this in a much more significant fashion – our life seems to be on pause. It hasn’t finished, we know that, yet nothing’s happening.

How can we get our lives off pause? It’d be great if it was as simple as pushing the play button… it can be, kind of 🙂

Getting your life off pause starts with alignment. We need to align our actions with our aspirations, those goals that demand us to stretch. We can gaze upon where we’d like to be or consider the person we believe we could be and see only the gap between here and there. This leaves us parked in the gap, on pause.

Stepping out of the known, taking a risk, can be both challenging and confronting. This action, though, will help build a personal culture of growth and opportunity. It will close the gap between here and there.

Aligning our actions with our aspirations starts with everyday decisions. We can have amazingly productive days or weeks, crossing multiple items off our ‘to do’ list, but if finalising them do not move us towards our goals, then we need to re-prioritise. Consider the macro goals and make decisions that reduce the gap between here and there by one step. Start. Daily.

Find your play button and let’s close the gap between here and there!


Plan your life like a holiday

I love holidays.

I particularly enjoy the expectation associated with the planning beforehand to ensure we’re maximizing our time and experiencing the destination to its fullest. After all, I want to make the most of the limited time. Funny then that I’m not as diligent in planning for the rest of my life – decades not days…

Do you also find this?

It could be the excitement of the short-term adventure as opposed to the routine of the everyday. Looking at this logically however it makes incredible sense to allocate more time and energy to the area that yields the greatest impact.

The key I’m discovering is intentionality. Actually deciding to allocate time to planning my everyday world helps me remain focused. Yes, we all have our regular routine around career and family but we need to ensure we’re also building capacity for growth and impact. I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life to realise I have lived well for me and then left my kids to fend for themselves. Similarly, I don’t wish to identify all those opportunities I had to make a difference in someone’s world but was so inwardly focused that I let them slip by.

If we want to achieve anything worthwhile, above and beyond the everyday, we need to be intentional.

Intentional about what we’re inputting physically, emotionally and spiritually. Intentional about how we’re investing our time. Intentional about allocating our resources.

Where are your intentions taking you?


Image credit: texelart / 123RF Stock Photo

Have you lost the budgie?

Our six-year-old was excited to receive a baby budgerigar as his first pet. Hand-reared and only a few weeks out of the nest, it was incredibly comfortable using him as a perch and was even beginning to feed directly from his hand. An inside bird, its young wings were not yet clipped and so the rules were very clear – it could be outside the cage only if all house doors were closed.

This worked well for the first week.

In the second week, our son asked if he could take the bird outside, thinking it may enjoy the trampoline. Of course, the collective response from parents and older siblings was negative, again identifying the fact it could fly and would most likely fly away. Desperate to introduce it to the excitement of the trampoline, our boy ignored the response and headed outdoors. The budgie obviously wasn’t as enthralled by the trampoline as its handler and promptly flew off. The ensuing door-to-door search failed to find the bird, leaving one six-year-old distraught with, hopefully, a clearer understanding of consequence of actions. His siblings were also affected as they too had warmed to this new family member yet were now bearing the weight of this outcome as well.

I reckon we’ve all lost a budgie at some point. We’ve ignored the facts, the advice and then had to endure the consequence of our actions. Our son seemed to understand the bird would fly away yet such was his intent, he chose to ignore the facts. Sometimes our intentions can be so strong, that we disregard the reality.

The metaphorical budgie for us could be a friendship, a career, a business opportunity or anything else we deem as valuable. Yes, we sometimes have to take a punt, have a go despite the known risks. But when the reality is perfectly clear and the negative outcome is unavoidable, we need to simply stop. If we proceed we are clearly stating we are prepared to accept the consequences both for ourselves AND on behalf of all others who will be impacted yet have had no control over our initial action. Are we really prepared to do that? Should we do that?

As a pet, it’s better for the bird to be restricted in its environment than seeking to survive in a world for which it is ill-equipped, despite our want. What’s your budgie?


Image credit: ionia / 123RF Stock Photo

Can coffee help manage a crisis?

Some coffee-houses are compelling.

Some truly engage their customers.

One I experienced recently was so enthusiastic to capture their market they literally locked us in!

An armed man was on the loose in the neighbouring shopping precinct so all buildings were physically locked down. A friend was locked in at work, at least I was sampling some mighty fine brews (coffee that is)!

People were amazingly calm, thanks mostly to the messenger. The coffee-house owner communicated what he knew – the events, the police advice, the action taken and relayed it in a casual, yet matter-of-fact manner reinforcing we were safe and the coffee would continue flowing!

The music continued, conversation resumed and coffee was served. Here was a lesson in managing a potential crisis.

1. Acknowledge what we know
2. Identify the safety net
3. Allow the experts in
4. Maintain business as usual.

In any difficult situation there will always be things we know and things we don’t. We need to firstly be clear what is known and unknown; what is fact, what is speculation.

Even if the event is territory never before traversed nor even considered, there will be some degree of safety net. Past experience, knowledge and protocols (whether it be our’s or someone else’s) will provide some comfort or surety.

Invariably other people will offer skills or expertise with our event. We need to source and engage them, submitting our lack of knowledge to their skill-set.

And, of course, life goes on. Our responsibilities remain, commitments must be honoured. Ignoring these will only deepen the potential crisis.

Above all else, the coffee must keep flowing!!


A huge THANKYOU to the Brew team for making lock-down a safe and positive experience…

Image credit: supergranto / 123RF Stock Photo