Choose like a Marine
We creative types probably feel we can learn little from the military services… let alone the USA Marine Corps which, in films, is depicted as a group of brutal, macho men being aggressive to each-other and everyone who crosses their path. Well, I’d argue if we park up our prejudice and take a deeper a look, there is a lot we can learn from this remarkably innovative and modern institution. Today, I’m interested in decision-making.
A measure of your success might be how many decisions you are making. A decision is the first step to action and actions, as we know, are the steps to success. In the Marine Corps they take this very, very seriously. Indeed they see indecisiveness as a ‘fatal flaw” (Corps Business: The 30 Management Principles of the U.S. Marines, David H. Freedman). Stand still and you’re almost certainly going to get shot. You have to take action and move. To facilitate their decision making they implement a number of elements:
Simplify the decision - Ask what is the ‘essence’ of the decision ahead of you.
Exclude the unlikely - Don’t worry about considering outcomes that are highly unlikely in any given choice.
What must we not do? - Be clear on what you must not have happen. And note that the ‘stasis’ of no decision is probably one of the things you don’t want to happen.