Sunday 13 November 2016

The Progress Model

The key to making wise decisions is to choose the course of action with the strongest reasons in its favour. But how do you think of this option, and how do you know its a good choice? Progress provides five stages to help you achieve this.

Stage 1. Understand the Situation and Decision

You need to understand the decision you are facing, and the situation it is located in, accurately, fair-mindedly and fully. Without this understanding any attempt to make a decision is likely to be flawed through making errors about what the situation is really like and through not choosing the best problem to work on. For example, you are unlikely to make the right decision about whether to help a drowning man if you think they are waving, not drowning

Advice on understanding the situation and decision

Stage 2. Work out What Matters.

Think as widely as possible about what you want to bring about. What do you think matters? What values really matter? And which of these matter most ? Unless you have thought carefully about what you want to achieve you're unlikely to achieve it! For example your angry partner criticises you - should you respond angrily or let it pass? To decide on this wisely, you need to think about whether asserting yourself now matters, or whether asserting yourself at the right time, is most important.

Advice on how to work out what matters

Stage 3. Generate Options.

Creatively generate options. We easily get stuck in ruts of thinking so you need to be imaginative. Once you have understood the situation fully you are in a good position to creatively think up options. If you want a quiet life now and to assert yourself, then you might decide to let this criticism pass, and choose a better moment in which to raise the question of how the two of you communicate with each other.

Advice on how to generate options

Stage 4. Assess Options

The fourth step follows on logically from this - you need to evaluate each option, and you do this, of course, in terms of what matters (stage 2). Select the option that, while based upon the reality of the situation, best captures what you have determined matters most.

Advice on how to assess options

Stage 5. Implement Your Decision

Finally, you prepare for implementing the solution, armed with a fallback plan and follow-up activities. Once you have made your selection of the best option you need to make a final check on it, and work out how to implement and monitor it. Finally you need to commit yourself to carrying it out. The best decision, if not carried through is not going to be much help to you.

Advice on implementing your decision

The Stages In Order

To increase your chances of coming to a wise decision make sure you do the five stages in this order.

If you don't understand the situation and have a clear idea of the decision you want to make you can hardly start to work out what matters in it. You cannot think up or evaluate options without an idea of what you want to achieve with your decision. And of course you cannot implement a solution until you have selected the best option.

As you are working on later stages your understanding of the situation, the decision you want to make, what matters, or the options you have might change radically. If so there is nothing to stop you iterating back through earlier stages.

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