Deciding on Direction

3 mins read

In the past I have witnessed multiple situations of decision making, in which out of many ideas only a few had to be selected. The decisions were intended to decide on the direction for exploring the possile future. A quick way to do it is to have people sticking dots on the ideas they like. It is a kind of a democratic way to quickly come to a conclusion. But it has its limitations, as people opt for most familiar or fascinating items or simply go with the crowd.

A Framework to simplify decision making

Finding and exploring the right direction can at time be puzzling. Without a moment of thoughtful consideration there is a good chance to start climbing the wrong ladder. The ladder might be too short or some steps are missing to reach the top. The chosen ladder might get you to another level but you still don’t experience anything close to your expectations. And it is a difficult question, since you cannot have all information, especially not about the future.

The considerations you or your consultancy put in can be massive. After several months of studying all possible options you might end up with a pile of powerpoint decks that bury you.

You still don’t know how to decide on a good option since everything seems risky. But the narrative sound good for all the options. Forced to take a decision you might opt for the smallest of all but you see only small gains at the end. Or you have to explain your decision to stakeholders, but several options were alluring. Some people might still be disappointed with the one you chose.

In addition to a set of clear aspirations it is therefore good to have a framework that helps to gain clarity by supporting comparisons and communicaton.

Here it is:

The Five Elements of organizational renewal

(1) IDENTITY: The movie theatre in the head of people in and outside your organization. Mostly linked to the organizations purpose, brand and heritage

(2) REALITY: The real world in and outside your organization.

(3) CREATIVITY: How to get a genius into the ideas? How to think the unthinkable? Are the ideas groundbreaking for your situation?

(4) CLARITY: Can the range of ideas boiled down to one or two options? Can the idea be understood and communicated by everyone in the organization?

(5) SUPERIORITY: Is the organization geared up to excel on the idea with big impact? Does the plan allow for missteps without sacrificing the end goal?

Please note, that the Five Elements typically interact with each other. Shifting one might impose modifications or changes in others. E.g. if you consider employing a blockchain in your business as a result of the creative act, you might quickly discover that the blockchains are rarely used so far. They are complex and not easy to comprehend. So you would need to extend your given reality and superiority with the realm of blockchains.

Benefits of the FIVE elements

The framework allows more balanced view on ideas and options. It allows to seek out alternatives that maximize the odds of success instead of finding compromises.

At the end of the creative search process ideas can be judged on how well they play on the Five Elements to come to a final conclusion. Therefore it becomes a good tool to facilitate conversations e.g. board discussions. That is from my point of view much more suitable than subjective argumentation on the “right to win”, boss orders or other logics. It consolidates more aspects in a comprehensible form for a group of decision makers.

In the next posts I will go a little deeper on each of the Five Elements and I will also explain, how you might use them as a tool.

Happy puzzling with The Five Elements!

Stay tuned on The Five Elements in the next posts. I would be pleased if you would sign up for the newsletter!



English version, ~ 50 pages pdf

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I work with clients who have the courage to grow.

Dr. Holger Laabs

founder and CEO
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