Unsending Decisions

Tweet: Avoid unsending your next big decision. Ask yourself these 3 questions before you hit send

Google keeps cooking up useful functions to help save humanity from itself. Its labs are working on high-level projects, such as the car that drives for you. After all, you can’t be trusted behind the wheel of your own vehicle.

Then there’s the “unsent” feature. Recently installed in Gmail, this handy new gear in the upper right cog will allow you to delete an email that you prematurely sent. Seemingly, we can’t be trusted behind our own computer, either.

Thank you, Google.

Wouldn’t life be better if everything had an unsend feature. How many of your business decisions would you “unsend”. How many reset buttons would you push?

Unfortunately, some of the decisions we make are hard to unsend, especially when making tough business decisions that impact a lot of end users. You can weigh the options and consider all the facts, but sometimes we don’t always get it right.

Next time you are faced with a difficult decision, ask yourself these three questions to help avoid decision remorse:

1. What is the logical conclusion?

The best friend your decision will have is a little exercise in game theory. Start with the initial decision. Then, go through a variety of scenarios that could impact your decision. Examine the process of, “if X occurs, then Y will happen”. Take each path to the end result–which should be your overall business goal. If your goal, for example, is to increase utilization of a product, track every path and “what-if” scenario and see how many alternate routes will still achieve your end goal. The option with the most paths to success is your best choice.

2. How long can you live with a lesser alternative?

When making decisions, there is usually a winner, a runner-up, and a few laggards. Depending on timing, budget, and needs, your options may lead you to choose a runner-up instead of your most preferred choice.

This is a pitfall many decision makers fall into. It’s easy to justify choices that are less expensive, less work, and easy to replace.

But before you settle, ask yourself how long you can survive with the lesser alternative in the face of growth, risks, threats, and ever-changing market conditions.

If you see yourself in the future wishing you had chosen a partner that can help you face more challenges, save yourself from having to push the unsend button and make the wiser choice.

3. Is today’s choice the best for tomorrow?

The best decisions are made with information and foresight. In the decision-making phase, we easily get shortsighted and think about what a provider can solve now. What we often fail to ask is, “What are they prepared to solve in the future?”

Ask forward-thinking questions. Ask for the roadmap. Ask for the vision. Today is gone in less than 24 hours, the future is where you need to focus.

Make sure you understand what option can help you win today and tomorrow and choose what sets you up for future success.

It’s hard to weigh every angle, every fact, every detail. Limited time, limited resources, and limited attention spans can sometimes cause us to make decisions we wish we could “unsend”.

Taking time to ask these three questions can assist your decision-making process and position you to succeed.

Or you can just wait for Google Labs.