March 28, 2013

Avoiding traps in decision making with four ACES

Today tried to find solutions to some difficulties or traps that person might fall into and found the four ACES. Don’t know how to call them…set of principles, method or even a framework as it has some guidance how to follow those ACES?

Starting from the traps, I could defined the main four. Sometimes people are accepting a course of action without giving it enough thought. Another time people are just changing to a different course of action without deep considerations, because they might want to avoid a conflict or too shy to insist on their opinion or any other reason. Also they can stuck and be unable to decide between alternatives (this is usually my case). And, finally, they just might have insufficient time for vigilance.

In that case to avoid these traps the four ACES (Assumptions; Criteria; Evoked Set; Start) can be applied:

  • Assumptions — team member has to challenge others by creating counter-assumptions. This will bring new ideas into the discussion and help to come with better criteria and more alternatives;
  • Criteria — team member has to challenge others by reversing the weights;
  • Evoked Set — challenge by expanding the set or alternatives;
  • Start — now it is a time to follow up with personal action plan.

These four components cannot bring their whole value without three main phases: preparation, where team, firstly, identify the problem that they have to solve or the question that they need to answer; present view, where they try to capture on paper a representation of the problem by listing the alternatives and criteria of importance on this problem; finally, modified view, where individual now writes the counter-assumption for each assumption and discuss it with the group. This method can seems to be simple but, from my experience, simple things usually work much better then the complex one. Next time I’ll try it with my decision.

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