Camille Rapacz: Hey there. Welcome back to The Belief Shift podcast. Today's episode is a continuation from last week. So if you didn't tune in last week, you might want to take a listen to episode 55: Decoding Decision-Making where I went through a six step process for how to get optimal results in your decision making process. Today, we're going to talk about one of those specific steps. Which was about how to make the actual decision itself. So today we'll go into some frameworks that might make that process just a little bit easier, a little bit more enjoyable. So let's get started.
Camille: / Welcome to The Belief Shift. The show that explores. What you really need to know about building a successful business.
I'm your host, Camille Rapacz: business coach and consultant who spent too much of her career working in corporate business performance.
George: And I'm George Drapeau: your co-host and her brother. I'm a leader in the tech world bringing my corporate perspective, but mostly my curiosity.
Camille: Together, we're exploring beliefs about success and how to achieve it. But mostly we're bringing practical solutions so you and your business can thrive.
[00:01:03] Part 2: Decision-Making Frameworks
Camille Rapacz: So let's talk about some frameworks for the actual decision making part. So I have my criteria. I have all these options. I've defined my problem, but I'm still kind of like, I don't know. How do I really assess this? So, I don't know if you want me to go through the list first and then ask you if you have a favorite method for this, George, or if you have one that's already popping in your head of, well, this is my go to. This is what I do.
[00:01:28] George's Go-To Framework
George Drapeau: I can tell you one that I, I find is appealing, but it does not apply to all situations. So if I can just give one example.
Camille Rapacz: That's great. And I think what you just said is really important, which is any of these frameworks do not apply to all situations. Yeah, that's kind of the challenge we're up against. So yes, both.
George Drapeau: Yeah. So buying a car is, you know, I don't do it that often, but when I do it and actually looking for a job, I have a similar kind of framework that I use to decide buying a car can take me a long time to do it. And a long time ago, I created a spreadsheet that had all kinds of different attributes.
And what I did was I assigned a point system to different things I like about a car. Like do I want comfort? Do I need air conditioning back in the days when I couldn't afford air conditioning in cars or not? All kinds of different features. Do I want automatic seats? How powerful do I want the car?
All kinds of different attributes. What I needed about it. Reliability. And I give each of those attributes. A weight like having reliability is, you know, that gets 10 points for, for top score, having AC gets five points, different stuff like that. And I just had all these attributes. And then I would go and look at all the cars I thought I wanted, and I would score them.
It was very easy because I could just go look at the, when I did the research, I was doing the research in a way that was against the criteria I had already come up with. So the research was fast, actually, now that I think about it, because I was just looking for, okay, what are the numbers on this car that match what I'm looking for?
And there would be negative points for some criteria, like the car must have this. And if it doesn't, you subtract points for it. Just a spreadsheet. When I was all done, I looked at the scores and it told me which car was the one I wanted. And I'd look at that and it was usually right. Similarly with finding a job, I would list kind of attributes that were important to me.
What's the chance of success? What's the visibility? Do I like the work? Whatever your attributes were, I made my attributes. And then whatever jobs I was looking at, I scored them that way. So I guess, I don't know what tool to call this. Spread scoring framework, it's the framework. You know, it's a process for figuring out what attributes, how important are the attributes, what are the, how much score plus or minus could I give somebody? And then I had a tool that I could just use to put things in.
Camille Rapacz: Well, it does have a name and it's number five on my list.
George Drapeau: Oh, really?
Camille Rapacz: Called the decision matrix analysis.
George Drapeau: Yes. That's what I did. I did a decision matrix analysis. That's right. That's what I meant to say. I just didn't want to, you know, overwhelm the audience with my fancy, just using your fancy terminology,
Camille Rapacz: Also known as George's spreadsheet.
George Drapeau: So tell me about that. What is this?
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. So this is number five on my list of going, I made a list that's kind of going from Least complex to most complex.
George Drapeau: Mine was the most complex on the list?
Camille Rapacz: Now I want to be clear. This isn't the most complex decision making framework that exists. That's not what I'm saying.
Okay. The most complex on my list that I want to share with people.
George Drapeau: Well, should we maybe come back to this later than the easier ones?
Camille Rapacz: I'm going to hit the easy ones first and then we'll get to George's complex, crazy spreadsheet.
George Drapeau: It's still good though. It's good.
Camille Rapacz: I wonder how many people we lost in that spreadsheet conversation. Come back, come back if you're not, cause I got easier ones.
George Drapeau: Come back. It's going to get easier.
Camille Rapacz: But that's a good one. I like it because you and I also both love our spreadsheets. So. Okay.
[00:05:00] #1 Pros and Cons List
Camille Rapacz: So let's start with like the most basic one, which is super obvious, but it has to be said, which is just a pros and cons list.
George Drapeau: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.
Camille Rapacz: Sometimes a decision can be as simple as I just need to list the pros and cons. And you can do that by assessing those. Is it a pro or a con in terms of the criteria you've established? Right. So your criteria still can matter. We're just not getting super nerdy about trying to be all specific and numbers and stuff like that.
We're just saying, let's write out the pros and the cons of these different decisions that I could make. Totally a worthy exercise.
George Drapeau: I have the power up on pros and cons, which is not only, so most people think what's the pros and cons of doing this, but make it a two by two. What's the pro of doing something and the con of doing something, the pro of not doing something and the con of not doing something.
Camille Rapacz: Yes. I love that. I think that's even a better way to do it is to really think about it in both the doing and not doing the decision, right? Yeah.
George Drapeau: There are pros to not doing something. You may not be aware of your pros, but they're driving you to status quo.
Camille Rapacz: And oftentimes when we're struggling with making a decision, it's because the pros of not doing it are outweighing the pros of doing it. Yeah. And this will make that really obvious. Yeah. It's helpful. Yeah. So I love that. So it's very basic approach, but really powerful, especially if you do it from those four grids instead of just pros and cons, but pros of doing and not doing cons of doing and not doing.
George Drapeau: Yeah. That's right. You're right. It's a great one. And it's so easy. And anybody can help you with it. You get a buddy to talk to pros and cons. It's great. That way.
Camille Rapacz: Yes, absolutely. And if you wanted to nerd out even more and get even better at that pros and cons list, then you get somebody to come in and ask you, tell me why that's a pro. Yeah. Tell me why that's a con. So start asking why about why did I say that? And when you have to make the case, it really can help you get, you'll start to see how the decision starts to form in your brain as you start to answer the why to any of those answers.
George Drapeau: Yeah. That's for sure.
Camille Rapacz: So super cool tool.
[00:07:04] #2 Cost Benefit Analysis
Camille Rapacz: The number two, these next two are kind of sit in the same level of complexity, I think, which is the first one is cost benefit analysis. So this is really good for anything that has financial implications. I'm going to have to make an investment, or this is going to impact my bottom line of my business.
Lots of decisions have this challenge. It's there's going to, there's definitely, there's enough money involved here. I really need to look at it and it's pretty straightforward. You just have to look at what are the costs and really be honest about what those are and not just making the change, but long term.
Like, is there a cost now that's permanent in my business because I've chosen to, you know, purchase a new application for all my financial stuff. Maybe that's what you've done. And there's this long term cost. You have to look at the cost against the benefit and there can also be financial benefit. So it's not just.
Costing me money, but does it also save me money in other places? But then there's other non financial benefits that you're considering as well. So is it worth paying X amount of money for this? So I'll just use a simple example. Like I said, I'm going to buy this accounting software. Is it going to pay off in terms of saving me time?
And that's worth it to me. That money is worth the amount of time I will save because the software is doing X, Y, and Z for me. As an example. So that's how you kind of do this cost benefit analysis. And you can do, by the way, a cost benefit analysis, along with your pros and cons list.
George Drapeau: Interesting.
Camille Rapacz: You can start to use more than one tool at a time.
George Drapeau: Yeah, that's fascinating. Okay.
Camille Rapacz: So cost benefit, I think is also a good tool for all business owners to just get really good at. I got a cost benefit analysis is for my business.
[00:08:50] #3 Risk Benefit Analysis
Camille Rapacz: The one that kind of goes with that is risk benefit analysis. So not all risk in business is about money. Is this risky in terms of my brand is it, I mean, ultimately it all leads to money, but you start thinking more granularly about that risk.
Is this a risk to my brand? Is it a risk to my quality of service delivery? What kinds of things might be at risk from this decision? Versus, what's the benefit?
George Drapeau: I have a friend, we've been friends for a long time and he told me something about how he makes decisions. This reminds me of that. And he said, George, whenever I make a decision, the one question I always ask myself is how am I going to get screwed in this deal? That's his risk benefit analysis.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. I mean, I think you do. And so what, what that makes me think of is, you know, every decision that you're going to make in your business is going to come with some level of risk. Yeah. I mean, there's, there's no avoiding that. You are constantly taking some level of risk. And what you're looking for is do the potential benefits of this outweigh the potential risks.
Yeah. And I say potential because we don't always know that they're for sure going to happen, but you are looking at, well, this could happen and that could happen. Like when you're looking at risk, you are looking at the potential for something to happen. Yeah. And so you have to weigh that against what could potentially be the benefits of this.
So that's really what you're trying to evaluate. What are all the good things that could potentially come out of this? But then what am I at risk of potentially going bad? Yeah. And so, yeah, that's, that's what that question makes me think of when he asked that. Yeah. There's always a risk. There's always the potential for you to get screwed in this change, transformation, deal, whatever it is.
Right. That's for sure. You should look out for it. And then always the way that against. Yeah. But. What could I get from it if I did go for it? And as they say, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward, right? Absolutely. I think that's, that's mostly true. And a lot of times is what's holding business owners back. The ones that you see be really successful, they've taken risks that have paid off. But some people take risks and they don't, and you have to be ready for that too. So you have to take the right level of risk for your business. All right. So that's number three.
[00:11:05] #4 SWOT Analysis
Camille Rapacz: Number four, I put in here because I think this is an important one to consider. I don't know that we think of this as a decision making framework, but it is a way to process information about this decision, which is to do a SWOT analysis of your business.
So this is a way to look at business readiness around the decision you're going to make. So if I look at my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, that's what a SWOT analysis is. You're looking at both the strengths and weaknesses. That's usually about the business itself. Those are usually internal perspectives, opportunities, and threats are mostly looking to the outside.
Now that's not a perfect there's not a perfect line there. Opportunities and threats could also be internal to your business, but a lot of times it's the external what's going on outside the business. And if you do that, it is a way for you to then look at the decisions and see, Oh, does this decision play to our strengths?
Or is it actually going to are we, do we have weaknesses that are going to make this particular decision really hard for us to execute. And same with opportunities and threats. Is this really helping us tap into an opportunity that's out there in the marketplace or is it helping us counter a threat? Or is it going to amplify the threat?
So you can look at the decision from that perspective of just doing that sort of business analysis process.
George Drapeau: Yeah, that's a cool tool.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. I like that tool. Lots of ways to use it. And that's just one.
[00:12:29] #5 Decision Matrix Analysis
Camille Rapacz: So the last one is George's spreadsheet, aka the decision matrix analysis.
So this is where you make that grid. So it's just what you described, George. You're making the grid where you've got your criteria in one column. You've got all the options across the top or however you want to arrange them.
You have a grid criteria on one axis. All your options are on the other axis. You're going to weigh those criteria. So like you said, which are the most impactful or most important to me in terms of each of these criterion that I've listed out. And then you're going to score all these options to those criteria.
You can multiply the weight to the score and then you sum it up and you see what you got. Now, I find this to be a useful exercise if you have the time to do it, cause it can get very detailed. So like you gave an example of something I would consider, you know, like buying a car, probably not in a hurry.
You don't have a deadline for doing it and so you have time to process through, right? That's kind of a decision you don't have a deadline for. So if this process feels like I don't have time to do that in this decision, cause I gotta get to it. Okay. I totally hear you and I understand that. But if you are really struggling with a decision, if you need to get bounced out of, say, some confirmation bias or, you know, any one of these struggles that we're having with making decisions, this can be really good because it comes, you start to get less emotional and just try to make some numbers about this stuff.
It's also a great exercise, like you said, to do with someone else. Like we talked about the pros and cons one, because they can ask you, Oh, why'd you give that one a three? I thought you would have given that one a four. And you can really start to think about why you're putting these different scores to these different, options, what you have to be careful of in this one is that you don't score an option out of your emotional desire to actually do that option. So if there's one you really like, you should know you already have a bias toward that option. Like, I really want this one to win. You could be tempted to score it higher. And we don't do this consciously people. This is just how our brains work. So that's why it's good to have somebody come and check that score with you. And get a thought partner or if you have a coach or consultant that you work with, get them to check that kind of stuff with you to really see if those scores. are as accurate as they could be. And that was number five.
George Drapeau: Awesome.
Camille Rapacz: I love that that's the one that you started with is your favorite method.
George Drapeau: It is. It is my favorite. Although you list the other ones and I, I use pros and cons all the time. I use cost benefit analysis, some sling down forward all the time too. And so you mentioned these like, oh yeah, I forgot. I do these.
I don't do SWOT that much. SWOTs are usually imposed on me by a large organization. Yes. Yeah, but it's good. I mean, actually, sometimes I feel like people don't apply SWOT correctly, but that's a whole other thing. I think it's a good tool.
Camille Rapacz: Agreed. I think the SWOT analysis is highly underutilized because again, I don't know that businesses actually think to use it in the way I just described.
It's usually just a process that we go through when we're putting together a strategic plan because somebody told us that that was a step. Yeah. Yeah. But we're not really using it. So if you use it in this way to say, is my business ready for X kind of change or decision or whatever's coming next, and you use it to analyze things against it, then it's really powerful.
But if it's just like, well, and now we know our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats moving on, you know, and then we kind of ignore those things.
George Drapeau: Yeah. It's true.
Camille Rapacz: So, yeah, I agree. I think it's not well used. All right. So, there are many, many other approaches for helping you make good decisions. And again, and there were plenty that I really like, and I thought, ah, we're going to have to figure out how to work some of these into later conversations, which some of them I think probably fall into just the category of problem solving more than sort of significant decision making.
Decisions are about solving problems. So I realize it's a little bit of a, I don't know, I don't know where you would draw the line there. So later we'll probably talk about more of these, but I think if you just leveraged any of these, that you would be way ahead of the game in terms of really thinking through how to make a good decision, just use any of those and it will be helpful.
Whatever you do, make sure you do that steps one and two, which is to identify the problem and establish the criteria. Cause without that none of these frameworks will matter if you don't do that. Especially number five. You literally have to have your list of criteria to do it.
George Drapeau: You do. Yeah.
Camille Rapacz: So yeah, so that's all I have to say about that. It's awesome. What about you?
George Drapeau: I like this idea that there's more than one decision making framework. It's like asking what car do you think is best? Well, am I taking kids to school? Then it's a bus. Am I transporting golf equipment? Then it's probably a truck or a large van. It's like, it's depends what car you use depends on what you're trying to get done what decision making framework depends on the kind of decision I'm trying to make. There are different reasons for different ones.
It's important. Without getting overly complicated about you need to memorize to 10 decision making frameworks, I like that you've listed. There's different ones, and you've probably, everybody's probably familiar with at least one of these. You haven't really thought through it as a framework, but it is. Use it.
This other thing that's sticking my mind is the idea that once you've made a decision, you really needed to focus on executing to that decision. I don't know how to put this, you've decided you decided make that decision count.
Don't just like go through all the effort of deciding and then ignore it. Otherwise it's worthless. And so I, I'm not sure how to teach people to do that, but man, I have been in organizations where they really need the discipline of, hey, we went through the, we paid money to make this decision, you know, in meeting time and stuff.
We need to stick to that decision or that was completely worthless. I love that, that you brought that up and it's just, yeah.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah, I think it's important enough it needs its own episode. We really do need to focus on that. What does it mean to actually follow through on a decision?
George Drapeau: Yeah.
Camille Rapacz: And what happens if that decision we discover it wasn't the right decision. And how do I deal with the. You know, sunk cost fallacy or any of those things that keep me from wanting to let go of the decision or just the embarrassment of having to admit that I made the wrong one. So that is definitely a next episode we will talk about because just getting to a good decision again, none of it matters if you don't execute it well.
You can make the smartest, most brilliantly planned out decision on the planet. And if you don't execute it well, it turns into the wrong decision really fast.
George Drapeau: It does. Yeah.
[00:19:16] Bonus Step: Sleep On It
Camille Rapacz: I have one other idea about this that I wanted to put out there, which is that I want to see what you think about this.
So we just gave all this framework in this process and you know what, don't hesitate on making your decisions. But also the other thing I want to say about this is that sometimes just letting a decision stew in your brain can be useful.
George Drapeau: Sleep on it.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. Like that's also part of this process. No matter what frame you work, you use stepping away from the decision and think and not thinking about it.
Yeah. Just sleeping on it is really, really important.
George Drapeau: A hundred percent agreed.
Camille Rapacz: I don't want to gloss over that and just be like, Hey people, you need to just march through your decision and get it done. I do think that your brain will do better work on these things, especially if you're really struggling with it, if you walk away. So even if you do one of these frameworks, like you do you decide to do the pros and cons thing, or you do the fancy George's spreadsheet decision making matrix.
If you do any of those things, walking away from it for a while and then coming back to it with a fresh perspective, having not thought about it for a while is a really useful thing to do because your brain is working the problem even when you're not actually working the problem.
George Drapeau: Absolutely. That's true. That's awesome.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. So definitely take time away before you come back, especially for those really big decisions.
[00:20:36] Key Takeaways for Better Decision-Making
Camille Rapacz: All right. So my takeaways. Have a process for making decisions. It will ease the anxiety and stress, guaranteed, just because you know, I have a way to work through making the decision that builds your confidence right away. So have a process. I don't care how simplistic it is. Just know you're going to just follow these basic steps.
Also know that there's no perfect approach. There's no guarantee of a perfect solution and not deciding is still a choice. So if you deciding not to choose, you're still doing that. So make sure that you're just asking yourself, why am I hesitating and try to work through that. There's a reason why you're hesitating.
And at the end of the day, as you're pursuing building a high performance business, cause that's what we're trying to do here for everybody, right? We need to be prepared to make really thoughtful decisions, but also be efficient about it. So I don't want to say we want to be fast, but maybe timely is the right word.
I was trying to find the right word for this. So maybe make timely decisions in your business.
George Drapeau: Yes. Yeah. Just keep moving. It doesn't have to be move quickly, but just keep moving.
Camille Rapacz: Yeah. And you know, the ones that are urgent, like they're up in your face, those urgent decisions don't treat all the other decisions as not important.
Make sure you're being thoughtful and timely about them because that's what's making advancements in your business. So you do want to be timely about those things. Those are my big takeaways. What about you? Anything else?
George Drapeau: I think that stepping back a bit, all the time, if people who've been listening to this podcast for a while, you've gotten a lot of tools for how to think about things.
One thing that comes back again and again is reflection. This concept of reflection, there's other tools, there's other belief shifts that we talked about that apply here. And so I guess my thought that brings us together for me is, you know, we're talking to you about the concept of a decision making framework, and there's some examples of some here.
What I'm thinking is, as you start using this to make big decisions, you can go back to your framework of evaluation, the evaluation loop, which what I, I think is the OODA loop for military. Well, what's, what's your terms?
Camille Rapacz: The PDCA plan do check adjust.
George Drapeau: Yeah. So that's a tool you've talked about several times you can apply that tool here to make decisions to help you course correct.
We've talked about one of the leaf shifts being, you know, to be curious about something and not not critiquing, you got a lot of tools that are going to help you once you try this. That's going to help you really evaluate the stuff that you tried. I guess that's my big takeaway. We've just given you this big chunky tool and there's a bunch of stuff you've heard from us already.
They're going to help you with that just naturally, you know?
Camille Rapacz: Yeah, I totally agree with that. We kind of like laser focused on just this one aspect of, you know, making the decision. But you do want all these other supporting tools that we've talked about that surround it. So I think we will do, I don't know if this is one or two episodes, so we'll have to see, but there's two other things about decision making I really want to touch on to support this, as you say, right?
So one of them is the execution, as we've talked about. I really want to talk about what do we mean by that? Because yes, PDCA is the first thing that came to mind. So the OODA loop or PDCA, that cycle of improvement, that's the first thing. So I want to dig into that a little bit.
But I also want to talk about the very specific steps that you can take when you're trying to make a big decision in a business about how do I adjust? Should I be pivoting or should I be staying the course? In terms of my, my business model or my marketing strategy or something very specific, I do want to talk about very specific steps that you should do actual activities that go in more detail than what we've talked about. So, I don't know if that's 1 episode or 2 episodes, but those are future topics for us to hit. So we will, however long it takes us to talk about, and we're going to talk about those coming up.
We will also, the other thing that came out of this, looking at the decision making strategies was I think we need to talk about daily decision making as well. So we, we were talking about really big ones. We gotta go down to the micro level too. So we're gonna start talking about that. And how do you set daily, daily priorities? What's daily decision making look like? Firefighting versus actual decision-making all that kind of stuff.
That's when we can get into how do you plan? How do I plan? How do we, how do we manage the day? All that kind of stuff. So, and we still haven't nerded out on our favorite planning tools. So we got to do that too. We have so much to talk about, so much to talk about George.
George Drapeau: This is great. This is really great.
Hopefully everybody wants to come back and hear all of that. You and I want to. So at least that, at least we have that and mom and mom will be listening. Thanks mom. Hi mom.
All right. Thank you everybody for listening. Please do leave us a review on Apple podcasts. It's really hard to find that little writer review link, but find it and do it. I don't know why they make it so hard on Apple podcasts, but they do.
So please leave us a review or just share us with people. Anyone who you think needs some good business leadership, be, you know, running a high performance business kind of tips, send us along to them. And if you want to learn any more about this, you know, I've been referencing a few times that, you know, this is a good place to have a coach or a consultant help you.
And if you're like, I don't know anybody, well, you know me. So if you're looking for some help, you can book a free call with me where we can just chat about it and see, you know, Is there a way I can help you? And I do some pretty small interventions with companies too. So it's not like you end up making some giant investment out of the gate.
So if you want to talk about that, there's a link in the show notes where you can just book a call and we can chat about it.
All right. Thanks George. Thanks for joining me.
Thanks Camille. This was fun. See everybody.
Camille Rapacz: Thanks everybody. We'll be back in your ears next week.