When there’s a lot of uncertainty in the decisions you’re making, it’s wise to think through all the things that could go wrong, because something probably will. If you have been following a good decision-making process as described in previous blogs, you have already surfaced assumptions and risks related to your options. This puts you well ahead of the game!
Some things you can do to prepare to fail include:
Another tool I use a lot in my projects is the “Pre-Mortem”, taught to me by my colleague Richard Crespin, CEO of CollaborateUp. With this process, you imagine it’s sometime in the future and your project has failed. Then you identify all the things that went wrong with the project. Even though you’re just imagining, it’s amazing how this future-thinking helps you see some things you might not have already noticed by just thinking about risks. After you’ve jotted down “all the things that went wrong”, note how likely it is to happen and what the consequences might be for each. If you want to try it out, you’re welcome to use this free Decision-Making workbook.
Fellow coach Jennifer Wills of jwillscoaching.com tried out the Pre-Mortem after attending a training my Decision-Making training course. She said, “I spent about 10 minutes on this and got so much out of it!”
1. I was able to see which problems I have control over.
2. It helped me think about how I would manage risks related to the things I have control over.
3. I was able to see which problems are most realistic.
4. I noticed that the biggest negative consequence could be a positive learning experience.
5. The worst outcome could be tied to another key thing that went wrong, and one that I have control over.