Decision Making Hacks Part 2:

How to let fate lend a hand in decision-making to reveal which options are really important

Building on Part 1, this decision-making hack is good for those situations when:

  • intuitive people are struggling find a ‘logical’ justification for what their gut is telling them; and or
  • the options are fairly well-balanced with no outstandingly obvious choice.

I carry around the quirky metal die shown in the picture (which is from a battle-game). The process is really simple:

  1. Number your options
  2. If you have 6 or fewer options = one roll
  3. More than 6 options, number them 2-12 and roll twice
  4. Roll the die
  5. Watch people’s reactions as the number comes up.

Usually what happens is that people are then able to say stuff like: “Oh, I didn’t really want option 2“, so you can at least rule that out. Often they’ll reveal (or you can ask) which number they were hoping for. You’ll also find people asking to do “best of three rolls” etc, which is also revealing about which options are important to them.

Another thing I like about this hack is that even people who are  unaware consciously of what they want or who find it difficult to express it, can be very reluctant to let fate decide for them and are likely to over-rule what the die chooses in favour of the ‘right’ option.

I suspect there’s a cultural bias here, so if you’re working with multi-national teams or in countries where the culture is less deterministic, some people may actually be more happy to let fate decide, so watch out for that.