Consequence Thinking From the World of Sales – Tip #267

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Oh, really?

Does your work require you to have influence over ideas or decisions?  Are you involved in the process of “give and take” to arrive at an agreement or a path forward?  Do you find yourself making decisions based on the wants, needs or desires of others?  If you answered “yes,” your role in some way incorporates some of the foundational skills found in a sales organization.

If you’ve been following along with our previous thinking stories (Missed out?  Find them here), you’ll recall that decisions not only have consequences – both good and not-so-good – but they also produce ripple effects.  Thus far, we’ve spent time focusing on the impacts of our initial decisions.  Now, let’s go one step further and consider second-order consequences.  Here are a few examples:

Decision – First Order ConsequenceUnintended Result – Second Order Consequence
Try to save time in one departmentEnds up creating more work for another department
Making changes to Product XResults in Product X actually being worse
Adding a new feature for freeUnintentionally hurts your existing paid offerings
A short-term fix makes sense for nowCompounds things for the rest of the year

Sometimes the effects or impacts of a decision aren’t immediately obvious.  However, skipping the crucial step of considering these impacts or effects means you might end up with a mess or added complexity you will have to address in the future.  And this required clean-up can often outweigh the short-term benefit of the initial decision!

There are times when sitting on a decision or calling a “time out” to think things through isn’t convenient and may even bring about a bit of a delay in the short term.  However, this is absolutely necessary, especially when we may be dealing with the unknown and unexpected.  In order to maximize this thinking time (and minimize the time it takes to do so), we offer a series of 25 thinking tools to help you at the moment  – right in the middle of the decision-making process.  These simple-to-use aids will help you analyze problems, gain insights, consider consequences and even help you measure the impacts of your decision.  

Because no one wants to be the victim of a five-minute choice that takes five months to fix.


Jonathan Workman

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”

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