• Matt Raskin

Making Decisions Through New Perspectives



Sometimes We Don't Know...

Life provides us with a range of experiences - good, bad, happy, sad, confusing, frustrating, exciting & even magical. In some moments we identify an opportunity to initiate change and make impacts. Other moments lead to situations where we adjust to circumstance and change outside our perceived control. In both cases, we are making decisions with our behaviors & actions.


Proactive or reactively, if we are alive, we have agency in our decisions. These choices impact our present moment and future. Decisions are hard and riddled with many challenging realities we must face. Rarely, if ever, do we experience a perfect choice where everyone wins. We strive to make decisions that are advantageous to our purpose and positively impact as many individuals as possible.


Defining a process for how one makes decisions can dramatically impact the quality, understanding, and acceptance of our choices. This article aims to help us make better decisions and provides several unique perspectives to create a more holistic approach to making these decisions.


Making Stronger Decisions 

We've all experienced good and bad decisions and their impacts. Decisions come in different shapes and sizes - from obvious "right choices" to the best of several bad options. To get started, we'll reflect on good and bad professional decisions we've made.


I want you to take a moment and think about a bad professional decision you made?

  • What made it bad? Why? 

  • Was it good for anyone? Why?

  • What was the impact you experienced? Why? 

  • What was the impact the organization/customers experienced? Why?

Think about a great professional decision you made? 

  • What made it great? Why? 

  • Was it bad for anyone? Why? 

  • What was the impact you experienced? Why? 

  • What was the impact the organization/customers experienced? Why?


Keep these different perspectives with you as we move through the next section of this article. 


Intentional Perspectives & Better Outcomes

Increasing the quality of our decisions starts with increasing the perspectives we leverage to make a decision. There are four different perspectives we'll use to improve the quality and impact of our decisions.


To make great decisions, we must slow down and leverage each of the perspectives outlined below. This process helps us clarify our goals, explore what is possible, ensure we are logical in our approach, and empathetic in our calculations.


Reality: What do we know?

Possibility: What is possible? 

Logic: What makes sense? 

Human: How will this impact people?

Perspective One: Reality

Building from a foundation of reality is one of the most important places we can start when making a decision. This perspective focuses on understanding what we must accomplish, past experiences, and current data. 


Questions we need to answer: 

01 | What is the problem we are facing? Why? Why does it matter? 

02 | What is the goal? Why? Why does it matter? 

03 | What experiences or past perspectives do we have? What do they tell us? 

04 | What data can we leverage? Why should we trust this data? What can it tell us? 


Reality creates a grounding experience to ensure that we have clarity on our purpose for making the decision, we understand where we've been, and confirm what we know.

Perspective Two: Possibilities

Understanding our realities allows us the ability to explore what is possible. Possibilities must be built from our realities and support the goals, past experiences and data we have uncovered. Realities (say a budget) will directly impact the possibilities or choices we are looking to make (launching a new project vs. buying a company).


Questions we need to answer:

01 | Based on our realities, what is possible? Why?

02 | What happens if we do nothing? Why?

03 | What solutions are found within our organization, employees or customers?

04 | What would we do if we didn't have any restrictions? Why?


During this phase of the process, we should explore both reasonable and slightly unreasonable ideas. Perspective Three: Logic - will help us filter ideas that support our realities and provide viable paths forward.

Perspective Three: Logic

Perspective three is about taking a huge step back and gaining a larger perspective on the realities we've identified and the possibilities we are looking to explore. Perspective three is focused on removing emotion and increasing logic. Here we want to focus on the operations of our decisions, not the personal emotions (don't worry we'll add those in next). Perspective three should strive for data and proven realities, and strong future focused modeling.


Questions we need to answer:

01 | How do our possibilities support our realities (goals)? Why?

02 | What data do we have? How will it help?

03 | What data do we need? How can we get it?

04 | What is actual vs. an assumption? Why?

05 | Of our realities and possibilities - which are viable? Why?


Perspective three should stress test our possible options and only allow the most viable ideas to move forward. Perspective three can feel like a "dream killer" but the intention is to find expansive ideas, rooted in reality and confirmed by logic.

Perspective Four: Humans

We've established a foundation for reality, we explore possibilities, we've reduce options through logical assessment and finally we explore the human impact. The final perspctive is to explore how our choices will impact people. This perspective helps us think through potential blind-spots or impacts to our employees or customers.


Questions we need to answer:

01 | How will this decision impact our customers/partners? Why?

02 | How will this decision impact our employees? Why?

03 | Who will be impacted positively? Why?

04 | Who will be impacted negatively? Why?

05 | What reactions should we anticipate based on this decision? Why?


The final perspective ensures that our realities, possibilities, and logic support the humans they impact. Great decisions come when all perspectives are considered.


Perspectives: Good & Bad Example

Think back to the two examples (good & bad decisions) we identified earlier in this article. 

  • When we think through the four perspectives (realities, possibilities, logic & human) were any missed? 


  • If so, what was the impact on the decisions? 

The four perspectives are not a guaranteed solution for making perfect decisions every time. They are a process to help each of us slow down and gain the insights we need to make healthier choices for our organizations, customers, and people. 

To accomplish this, we will need others to help us see through our blind-spots.  


Combining Perspectives & People

Working through each of these perspectives will likely require the assistance and perspectives of different people. For each perspective, think about someone who might help define the goal, explore possibilities, deconstruct with logic, or leverage empathy to determine human impact. Many individuals will have a perspective they naturally leverage. Partnering with these individuals and their natural views will help to improve the decisions we make. 


Think through your network, and identify two or three people who can best help you through each perspective. 

  1. Reality: Who is the individual that keeps us grounded and focused on the goal?

  2. Possibilities: Who is the individual that has many future-focused ideas? 

  3. Logic: Who makes data or non-emotional decisions? 

  4. Human: Who is the person who is always considering the impacts on people? 

  5. Where do we fit into these perspectives? 


Most individuals can naturally leverage one or two different perspectives. We find that 2-4 individuals are usually required to identify the best possible decision. 



Moving Forward

Making good decisions (leveraging the perspectives) is hard and sometimes messy work, but can significantly improve how we proactively or reactively make decisions. 

Making great decisions is more a team activity than a solo responsibility. Even a CEO has a leadership team surrounding them to help enhance different perspectives and build better decisions for the company, customers & employees. 



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