We narrow our decision-making frame when we believe we know what the future will look like. We implicitly assert that everything is locked in except for what we will do, and so we ask this simple, efficient question: “What should we do?”
Should asks people to spot and advocate the one right decision. It treats decision making as a debate. It drives toward closure. We need should, but not when we first address a decision.
We broaden our decision-making frame when we consider multiple futures, with shifts and disruptions in our environment interacting with shifts and disruptions we can introduce. We ask this illuminating question: “What could we do?”
Could lets one idea stimulate another. It asks what if, what else, and why not. It’s energizing and educational.
Just as we broadened should with could, we can challenge “what will happen” with “what may happen.”
Author: Mark Chussil
Source: Harvard Business Review
Subjects: Decision Making, Management, Strategy, Thought