Gain or Lost

Research has demonstrated that when we adopt a promotion mindset and focus on what we might gain despite the potential downside that we can break a ‘what will I lose’ attitude that is the primary focus of the prevention mindset.  My father introduced me to a simple concept he called the decision window.  He would draw two columns on piece of paper and tell me to list the pros and cons of an opportunity.  I would fill in the columns with attributes or detractors that came to mind.  Next, my father would draw a window with a plus sign on the near side of the window and a negative symbol on the far side.  He told me to make my decision based on the list in the column but suggest that the positive column would have the most influence on my final decision.   The trick he warned was that the moment I decided and stepped through the decision window I would focus on the negative side of the column, the items I had perceived to lost by making my decision.

How do you assess opportunities?  Are you aware of how a promotion or prevention mindset influences how you process a decision?  Have you considered employing choice architecture by asking your team to talk about their aspirations and inspiration (as opposed to their obligations) as a lead-in to a major decision-making session?

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