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An Ancient Lesson on Taking Responsibility For Decisions

A responsible decision

A decision is responsible when you have to answer for it to those who are directly or indirectly affected by it.

Today, responsibility is diffused to a group, not an individual. Everyone is insulated from their mistakes and takes credit for success.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

An Ancient Lesson on Taking Responsibility For Decisions

An Ancient Lesson on Taking Responsibility For Decisions

https://fs.blog/2012/11/philosophy-of-responsibility/

fs.blog

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Key Ideas

A responsible decision

A decision is responsible when you have to answer for it to those who are directly or indirectly affected by it.

Today, responsibility is diffused to a group, not an individual. Everyone is insulated from their mistakes and takes credit for success.

The Roman System

In Roman times, the one who created the arch stood under it as the scaffolding was removed.

We have removed responsibility from our decisions, which allows people to get all the upside and none of the downside. We have to hold people accountable to such an extent that they stand under their own arches. The person responsible for a decision should sign their name to it.

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Sometimes, the right decision becomes crystal clear when put into these terms.

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The ABCDs of categorizing decisions
The ABCDs of categorizing decisions
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Approaching big bet decisions
  • Appoint an executive sponsor to work with a project lead to frame important decisions for senior leaders to weigh in on;
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  • Focuses on debating the solution (instead of endlessly elaborating the problem) and gather the right people.
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Approaching cross-cutting decisions
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Tony Robbins' process to make the best decision
  1. Get clear on your outcomes.
  2. Write down all of your options, including those that initially may sound far fetched. 
  3. Kn...
Acknowledge biases

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Pro and Con Lists

Take each option in your decision and make two lists for each; on one side, you'll have all the benefits of an option and on the other, you'll have all the downsides. 

Try to give your list a sense of scale. This can help you think through all the positives and negatives of all your options, and help you visualize the generally best candidate.

The outsider's perspective

Imagine your friend telling you the problem using only the most important information, and think about what you might say in return.

Imaging your own advice if you were counseling a friend on making the decision can help you understand what an outsider's perspective might be. 

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Default choices
Default choices

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Richard Thaler

“First, never underestimate the power of inertia. Second, that power can be harnessed.” 

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Milton Friedman

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Think in Years, Not Days

Before jumping to a conclusion, think about the long-term consequences of your decision.

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