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Ask a Decision Engineer
48 minutes | Aug 17, 2022
S4E12 April Rinne on the Flux mindset for thriving in change
So often in the midst of change or the unknown where our mind goes first is what are we going to do? But what if the key to being able to navigate change and uncertainty was less about doing, but rather a way of being? Today, I'm in conversation with April Rinne, a futurist, speaker, and author of the book, Flux: 8 Superpowers For Thriving In Constant Change, where she shares what she has found is the most effective way for navigating the current world of rapidly accelerating unexpected change. We talk about the illusion that keeps us from seeing things as they are, why cultivating a flux mindset now is more important than ever before, and some of the superpowers that can empower you when responding to change and making decisions. Topics Covered 03:03 How did you start down this path 04:08 April's three lenses on change 07:14 Shifting from doing to becoming 08:16 Are you viewing change with hope or fear? 11:33 We don't like change that we can't control 13:05 Now, more than ever, we need to learn how to be with change 16:18 The history of the illusion of control 17:40 What would be possible when we choose to lift the veil 20:24 Flux mindset as a key for navigating change 21:56 How does Flux mindset relate to Growth mindset 23:15 The 8 superpowers of the Flux mindset 25:24 The superpower that makes you cringe may point to where your relationship to change needs extra attention 26:19 Superpower 1: Run slower 26:44 Superpower 2: See what's invisible 27:09 Superpower 3: Get lost 27:33 Superpower 4: Start with trust 28:04 Superpower 5: Know your enough 28:10 Superpower 6: Create your portfolio career 28:40 Superpower 7: Be all the more human 28:53 Superpower 8: Let go of the future 29:44 Know your enough / Know you're enough 38:10 The benefits of embracing getting lost 43:10 Parting words Guest Bio April Rinne is a “change navigator,” speaker, investor, and adventurer whose work and travels in more than 100 countries have given her a front-row seat to a world in flux. She is ranked one of the 50 leading female futurists in the world by Forbes and is a Harvard Law School graduate, a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum, a Fulbright Scholar, a member of the Silicon Guild, and the author of Flux: 8 Superpowers for Thriving in Constant Change. April is a trusted advisor to well-known startups, companies, financial institutions, nonprofits, think tanks, and governments worldwide, including Airbnb, Nike, Intuit, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, AnyRoad, and Unsettled as well as governments ranging from Singapore to South Africa, Canada to Colombia, and Italy to India. Earlier in life she was a global development executive, an international microfinance lawyer, and a hiking guide. As a certified yoga teacher, she can often be found upside-down, doing handstands around the world. Resources Flux: 8 Superpowers for Thriving in Constant Change To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Stanford Continuing Studies course Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
45 minutes | Aug 10, 2022
S4E11 Katherine Rosback facilitating decisions in groups
Whenever I teach about decision making, inevitably, the comment comes up, "These frameworks are great and all, but what do I do about the other people in the room?" Decision making in groups definitely adds a layer of complexity. That's why I invited Katherine Rosback, an expert decision and risk analysis facilitator and a colleague of mine from the Society of Decision Professionals onto the show. We'll be talking about the science behind asking questions, how to lay the groundwork for shifting someone's perspective, and strategies for facilitating more effective meetings. Topics Covered 02:35 How Katherine came to do this work 4:28 What do I do about organizational politics? 5:14 The science behind questioning 9:16 Look at the system, not the individual 11:07 Facilitate what is happening, not what you think ought to be happening 12:08 Asking > Telling 14:10 The mountain peak vs the tectonic plates 15:10 The bridging technique 20:42 Center meetings around questions instead of objectives 24:20 Meetings are the most expensive form of communication 26:24 How to think about who should be in the room 30:33 Be mindful about ensuring people are heard 32:54 After we've solicited these different perspectives, then what? 35:13 Islands, bananas, and keeping the boat from turning around 38:30 Two key lessons to take away Guest Bio Katherine Rosback is an expert in coaching decision and problem-solving teams and facilitating the messy, ambiguous but must-succeed meeting. She has a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MA in Organizational Communication. Katherine has over 25 years’ experience facilitating decision teams, cross-functional strategic planning workshops, and teaching team facilitators and decision boards how to improve decision quality by asking the better question and navigate the inevitable behavioral complexities. Katherine works with Fortune 500 industries such as airline, oil & gas, and pharma. She is the author of Asking is Better than Telling and host of the podcast, What’s Another Question. Resources Asking is Better Than Telling book Katherine’s website To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Stanford Continuing Studies course Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
51 minutes | Aug 3, 2022
S4E10 Dave Evans on discernment and ways of knowing
In all my years of teaching about decision making, no topic generates more angst than the need to know. But how do you know what you know? How do you know when you know what you know? And how do you integrate this knowing into some of the most important decisions of your life? In this episode, I invited Dave Evans onto the show to talk all about these topics of knowing and discernment. Dave is the co-author of Designing Your Life and Designing Your New Work Life. He co-founded the Stanford Life Design lab and holds the title of discernment lead for a social impact accelerator. He shares a number of things he's learned from sitting with thousands of lives via the Designing Your Life programs, including how to go beyond cognitive knowing, the important distinction between certainty and faith, how to approach when things go wrong, and exercises for honing your discernment. Topics Covered 1:01 A story of how Dave ran smack up against this discernment topic 2:27 It's ok to not have it all figured out 4:40 Defining discernment 5:58 You're not just a brain on a transport system 7:36 Overcoming resistance to tapping into the emotional center of knowing 10:11 The peak-knowing and trough-knowing exercise 10:59 Your brain announced it, but your brain didn't do it 12:21 The importance of articulating and reflecting on what's happening 12:54 Surrogation vs. analysis 14:47 We are humans, not robots 15:26 There is no knowing. Simply give it your best possible shot. 17:40 But what about when things go wrong? 21:16 Where the bias toward causality gets us in trouble 22:46 The falsehood of knowing and distinction between certainty and faith 24:55 The philosophical underpinnings of human-centered design 26:05 Faith and acceptance 28:41 How growth and collaboration factors into this 30:50 Most big decisions are a bet on your future self 33:48 Improve decision making by using multiple ways of knowing 34:10 The Odyssey plan as a tool for tapping into how various futures feel 36:01 In hard decision making, it's not about deciding the right thing 38:19 There's no elimination of risk, just reduction of risk. Know your threshold. 41:14 How to tune into other ways of knowing 42:51 Three levels of discernment: transaction, practice, and formation 45:08 The be-do-become cycle Guest Bio From saving the seals to solving the energy crisis, from imagining mice to redefining software — Dave’s been on a mission, including helping others to find theirs. Starting at Stanford in the 70’s with dreams of following Jacques Cousteau as a marine biologist, Dave realized (a bit late) that he was lousy at it and shifted to mechanical engineering with an eye on the energy problem. After four years in alternative energy, it was clear that this idea’s time hadn’t come yet. So while en route to biomedical engineering, Dave accepted an invitation to work for Apple, where he led the mouse team and introduced laser printing to the masses. When Dave’s boss at Apple left to start Electronic Arts, Dave joined as the company’s first VP of Talent, dedicated to making “software worthy of the minds that use it.” Having participated in forming the corporate cultures at Apple and EA, Dave decided his best work was in helping organizations build creative environments where people could do great work and love doing it. So he went out on his own working with start-up teams, large corporate executives, non-profit leaders, and countless young adults. They were all asking the same question. “What should I do with my life?” Helping people get traction on that question finally took Dave first to Cal and then Stanford, where Dave is co-founder of the Stanford Life Design Lab in the Stanford Design Program. Dave and his partner Bill Burnett made their popular Stanford course Designing Your Life into a New York Times #1 Bestselling book of the same name, released in September 2016, followed by Designing Your Work Life in February 2020 and Designing Your New Work Life in October 2021. Dave holds a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford and a graduate diploma in Contemplative Spirituality from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Resources Designing Your Life website Designing Your Life book Designing Your *New Work Life book To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
45 minutes | Jul 27, 2022
S4E09 Michele Wucker on how to think about risk
Risk. For some people, the very thought sends chills down their spines, yet for others, the topic prompts a sense of thrill. Why is that the case? And what does that mean for how we think about risk in decision making? To answer those questions and more, I turned to Michele Wucker, author of the books, The Gray Rhino, and You Are What You Risk. We chat about how the way we define risk matters, the layers of factors that make up our risk fingerprint, and things to keep in mind about risk when making group decisions. Topics Covered 03:11 What brought Michele to studying risk 08:12 The way you define risk, matters 12:26 Awareness is the first step in adjusting your natural tendency 13:14 Risk and group dynamics 16:06 Getting the right kind of diversity in the room to promote better decision making 18:02 The risk fingerprint concept 21:36 Optimizing your risk fingerprint given your personality and experiences 23:59 What feels risky depends on your values 25:13 How to build your risk muscle 25:31 Practice 26:32 Self-awareness 27:47 Surrounding yourself with the right people 28:56 Little hacks 30:14 How risk empathy can improve group decision making 31:25 Questions you can ask to better understand someone else's risk fingerprint 35:48 Thinking about risk in decisions that have broader impact 39:39 Me-here-now vs. Us-everywhere-forever 41:00 Final words of wisdom Guest Bio Strategist, speaker, and best-selling author Michele Wucker coined the term “gray rhino” as a call to take a fresh look at how we respond to obvious, probable, impactful risks. She founded the Chicago-based advisory firm Gray Rhino & Company and is a former media and think tank executive. Her four books include the influential global bestseller THE GRAY RHINO: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore and the recently released sequel, YOU ARE WHAT YOU RISK: The New Art and Science of Navigating an Uncertain World. Resources THE GRAY RHINO: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore YOU ARE WHAT YOU RISK: The New Art and Science of Navigating an Uncertain World To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
39 minutes | Jul 20, 2022
S4E08 - Don Moore on confidence and decision leadership
Confidence is a critical part of decision making and being an effective leader. Not enough confidence and you won't move a decision to the action or be able to cultivate the support needed to move it forward. Too much confidence and you could make decisions that unnecessarily put you and others at risk. So how do you walk the line of having just the right amount of confidence? Today, I speak with Don Moore: confidence expert, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business professor and author of the book, Perfectly Confident. We discuss the different types of overconfidence we should be aware of as well as ways that decision makers can better calibrate their confidence. He'll also share insights from his latest book Decision Leadership, which helps leaders think about how to empower people within their organizations to make better choices. Topics Covered 03:02 What is at stake when confidence is not well calibrated? 04:52 Defining confidence 06:31 Confidence, reality, and the downsides of overconfidence 08:56 Calibrating confidence among startup founders 10:32 The 3 types of overconfidence 11:05 How to better calibrate your confidence 14:01 The importance of probabilistic thinking 15:52 Making decisions by calculating expected value 18:11 Beware of hindsight bias + Importance of documenting 19:44 What role should intuition play in decision making? 22:54 Some ways in which intuition is predictably biased 23:32 What decision makers should keep in mind - think beyond yourself 25:05 Leader as decision architect 28:03 Other ways leaders can positively influence the quality of decisions in their org 29:23 What to track 31:02 Choosing when to stop gathering information 32:49 Don't fall into the trap of focusing solely on what's easy to quantify 34:03 The downsides of underconfidence Guest Bio Don Moore is a professor of management of organizations at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. He is the author of Perfectly Confident and a co-author of the books Judgement in Managerial Decision Making and Decision Leadership. His expertise and research interests include overconfidence, ethical choice, decision-making, and negotiation. He is only occasionally overconfident. Resources Perfectly Confident Decision Leadership LearnMoore.org To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Stanford Continuing Studies course (now enrolling, class started July 14) Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
43 minutes | Jul 13, 2022
S4E07 - Ralph Keeney on nudging yourself toward better decisions
Decisions. They are the way we can steer our lives forward, yet how much thought do people give to how they are making them? And more importantly, what are the small things we can do to improve them? In this episode, I go back to basics with global decision making expert, Ralph Keeney. Ralph is a Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at Duke University and a Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California. He has written multiple books on decision making, including Value-Focused Thinking, Smart Choices, and Give Yourself A Nudge. We talk about why it's worth putting thought into how you make decisions, the impact of shifting focus from decision problems, to decision opportunities, the importance of defining your values in a decision and some quick things you can do to improve your decision making. Topics Covered 3:25 Why is it worth it to take time to think about decision making? 4:57 Learning the skill of decision making through practice 6:52 Which decisions are worthy of thought 7:46 How much time and effort to put into decisions 10:58 Shifting from alternatives-focused to value-focused thinking 14:46 Decision problems vs. decision opportunities 19:04 Decision opportunities as a way to reduce bad outcomes 21:03 Where you should focus your efforts to improve a decision 22:19 The three keys 24:40 The three keys: an example 27:41 How to nudge yourself to make better decisions 28:43 A nudge for those obsessed with finding the best option 31:29 Little nudges > Learning decision analysis 32:52 Practice on your personal decisions 34:45 Advice for those uncomfortable with decision making in the face of uncertainty 36:17 The upside of uncertainty 38:27 Parting words of wisdom Guest Bio Ralph L. Keeney is an expert on decision making. His passion is to help individuals and organizations improve their decision making skills. He has written extensively on the foundational ideas and concepts for making quality decisions and on practical procedures to routinely use, and applications of, those ideas and concepts on important decisions. Dr. Keeney has consulted on a wide range of decisions including corporate management problems, public policy, and significant personal decisions. Professor Keeney’s books, which have been translated into numerous languages, include Decisions with Multiple Objectives with Howard Raiffa (1976, 1993), Value- Focused Thinking: A Path to Creative Decisionmaking (1992), Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions, with John S. Hammond and Howard Raiffa (1999), and Give Yourself a Nudge: Helping Smart People Make Smarter Personal and Business Decisions (2020). Keeney received a Ph.D. in engineering and operations research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Research Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at Duke University and a Research Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California. He recently received an honorary doctorate from the University of Waterloo in Canada and has been a member of the National Academy of Engineering of the U.S. since 1995. Resources Give Yourself a Nudge: Helping Smart People Make Smarter Personal and Business Decisions (2020) Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions, with John S. Hammond and Howard Raiffa (1999) Value-Focused Thinking: A Path to Creative Decisionmaking (1992) Oji Decide To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Stanford Continuing Studies course (now enrolling, class starts July 14) Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
40 minutes | Jul 6, 2022
S4E06 - Amy Day on decision skills for parents and emerging adults
Decision-making is not just a cognitive exercise; there are benefits to approaching it as a whole person. To talk more about this, I invited Amy Day, decision educator and executive director of the nonprofit Clarity for Action, to my podcast. Amy likes to say that she grew up in a decision laboratory, surrounded by giants from the field of decision science. She's certified as a decision educator, coach and advisor through Stanford, continuing studies. Over the past 20 years, she has combined her native background in decision quality, with insights, from social emotional learning, in order to teach emerging adults and parents to integrate whole person decision making into their lives in order to get clarity and take purposeful action. Today, Amy explains how to check one's decision fitness with a simple acronym, the four components of whole person decision making, and what parents and adults can do to cultivate decision skills and the young people they support. Topics Covered 2:49 Whole person decision making 4:27 Growing up in a decision laboratory 7:24 Working the emotions that arise in decision making 8:34 Decision fitness and my internal operating system 14:10 Four areas of whole-person decision making 14:20 Values: Who am I 16:02 Internal Operating System: How am I, decision fitness, and HALT 18:36 The importance of putting on your own oxygen mask first 19:37 Decision Process: What could I 26:53 Action: What are my action steps 27:55 Quality of decisions, quality of outcomes 32:11 Decision aftercare 36:00 Decision classroom About Amy Day’s nonprofit, Clarity4Action Our goal at Clarity4Action.org is to support people in moving from feeling confused and stuck to calm clarity and effective action in their choices. We teach and coach whole-person decision making to young people as they emerge into adulthood and the people who support them. Resources Clarity4Action website Clarity4Action.org The Four Outcomes Guide Sign up to receive our weekly email for integrating better decision making into your life. https://clarity4action.org/thoughtful-thursday-blog/ To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Stanford Continuing Studies course (now enrolling, class starts July 14) Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
36 minutes | Jun 29, 2022
S4E05 - Carl Spetzler on the six links of decision quality
How can you know you've made a good decision, even before you know how things turn out? It’s all about understanding decision quality. To talk about that, I invited award-winning decision quality expert, Carl Spetzler onto today's show. Carl is the co-founder and chairman of Strategic Decisions group, a leading strategy consulting firm, renowned for its expertise in strategic decision making for greater value creation. He also literally wrote the book on decision quality along with his colleagues, Hannah Winter and Jennifer Meyer. Today, we talk about how the concept of decision quality has helped companies make better decisions when millions and billions of dollars are on the line, how you can employ the six links of decision quality to be confident you are making a good decision, as well as other tips for making better decisions. Topics Covered 2:49 The early days of decision analysis and engineering economics 6:17 Applications of decision quality in the corporate world 7:55 Applications of decision quality in everyday life 11:28 How to have a good decision at the time you make it 11:35 Appropriate frame 14:08 Creative alternatives 14:45 Values 16:14 Information 17:12 Sound reasoning 17:53 Commitment to action 21:05 Your decision is only as good as the weakest link 22:06 How to use the six links when you need to make decisions quickly 23:58 Having the right decision agenda 25:34 Pay attention to how you relate to clarity and action Guest Bio Carl Spetzler is the co-founder and chairman of Strategic Decisions Group, a leading strategy consulting firm renowned for its expertise in strategic decision-making for greater value creation. He is also the lead author of Decision Quality: Value Creation from Better Business Decisions (Wiley, 2016) with coauthors Hannah Winter and Jennifer Meyer. He serves on the board of the Decision Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the decision-making skills of youth. In 2004, Dr. Spetzler received The Ramsey Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Decision Analysis Society of INFORMS for lifetime contributions to the field. Resources mentioned Strategic Decisions Group Society of Decision Professionals Decision Education Foundation Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Stanford Continuing Studies course (now enrolling, class starts July 14) Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
43 minutes | Jun 22, 2022
S4E04 - Alexis Gonzales-Black on org decision making and inclusive processes
Making decisions as an individual has its challenges, but having to make decisions as a group adds many other layers of complexity. To talk about that, I brought my friend, Alexis Gonzales-Black onto today's show. Alexis is a Partner and the org design lead at August Public. Before August, she led the implementation of Holacracy at Zappos and helped shape an emerging org design practice for world-class clients at IDEO. She is an expert in organization design and is driven by a desire to make workplaces more inclusive, agile, and fun. In this episode, we talk about what she's noticing about the future of work in a hybrid environment, why consensus is not the right approach 90% of the time, what truly inclusive decision processes look like, and a quick reframe that enables you to make group decisions faster. Topics covered 03:02 Moving from remote to hybrid 06:16 Decision making as a persistent challenge 09:04 We love consensus 09:47 Decision making as a spectrum 10:46 Two other approaches to try 16:22 Stakeholder mapping 18:26 Inclusion in decision-making processes 21:05 What's possible when you reframe decision making as a skill learned over time 22:25 What happens when you push decision making down to the levels closest to the work 23:29 Leading the roll out of Holocracy at Zappos 25:09 A tangent on releasing ourselves from the idea that we can achieve certainty 26:01 Back to Holocracy at Zappos 29:13 Human centered org design at IDEO 31:28 What has been most fascinating about the work at August Public 35:23 Decision making as a perfect proxy for understanding what's going on in an organization 37:30 Key things to remember or try Guest Bio Alexis is a Partner and the Org Design lead at August Public. She is an expert in organization design, change activation, and the future of work. Over the past 15 years, she's worked with some of the world's most respected companies to design innovative organizational practices and implement large, complex change programs. Before August, she led the implementation of Holacracy at Zappos and helped shape an emerging org design practice for world-class clients at IDEO. She is driven by a desire to make workplaces more inclusive, agile, and fun. Resources Learn from the experts at August Public: https://www.aug.co/learning To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Stanford Continuing Studies course (now enrolling, class starts July 14) Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
44 minutes | Jun 15, 2022
S4E03 - Barry Schwartz on why we should focus on practical wisdom
When making a decision, we should seek out the "best" option, right? Turns out, seeking to maximize your outcomes is likely to leave you less happy and more stressed. On the show today I bring you one of my mentors, Barry Schwartz, who wrote the game-changing book The Paradox of Choice, Why More is Less. Barry shares why maximizing is a bad goal, talks about the benefits of constraints, and shows how practical wisdom is what will enable us to succeed in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity. Topics covered 03:01 What prompted him to get into this field 06:48 What makes a decision bad? And people making decisions inconsistent with their goals. 09:07 Maximizing is a bad goal 11:07 Culture's influence on maximizing and unhappiness 12:14 Why constraints are good 22:37 Support Barry's grandkids' education! 23:13 Practical wisdom 28:02 What is needed is judgment, not rules 31:24 The need to learn how to live with uncertainty and ambiguity 34:56 Why you should learn to be a chefs vs. a cook 37:59 Analytical tools can help… 40:11 Key things to remember Guest Bio Barry Schwartz is an emeritus professor of psychology at Swarthmore College and a visiting professor at the Haas School of Business at Berkeley. He has spent fifty years thinking and writing about the interaction between economics, psychology, and morality. He has written several books that address aspects of this interaction, including The Battle for Human Nature, The Costs of Living, The Paradox of Choice, Practical Wisdom, and most recently, Why We Work. Schwartz has written for sources as diverse as The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate, Scientific American, The New Republic, the Harvard Business Review, and the Guardian. He has appeared on dozens of radio shows, including NPR’s Morning Edition, and Talk of the Nation, and has been interviewed on Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN), the PBS News Hour, The Colbert Report, and CBS Sunday Morning. Schwartz has spoken four times at the TED conference, and his TED talks have been viewed by more than 20 million people. Resources To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Stanford Continuing Studies course (now enrolling, class starts July 14) Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
40 minutes | Jun 8, 2022
S4E02 - Kathy Davies on design thinking and life decisions
Decisions about what you want to do next in life feel big- they can literally change your life. That's why so many people feel stuck in the process. Today I'm speaking with my friend, Kathy Davies, the Managing Director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford University. She is also the co-founder of Designing Your Life for Women and a Master Trainer of the Designing Your Life process. In today's episode, Kathy provides an overview of what it looks like to apply design thinking to life decisions, talks about the value of sitting with emotions and feelings, explains why community helps us get unstuck, and invites employers to help co-create new options that work for both companies and employees. Topics Covered 03:23 What is life design? 05:05 The human centered design thinking process 05:36 Empathy 05:43 Define 06:27 Ideate 07:33 Prototype 08:42 Prototyping as a mindset shift 9:30 Start small 10:54 Prototyping careers through conversation 12:26 Test: incorporate your learnings 14:08 The importance of recognizing when it's time to engage in the process, and when it may not be time 16:12 The value of recognizing what we need 18:10 The value of sitting with emotions and feelings 19:48 We are all in process, especially at the time of transition 21:10 It helps to do this in community 22:39 The feelings that keep people stuck 25:29 The opportunity companies have in co-creating options that work 30:38 Four-step process for getting started with life design 35:38 The key mindset shift Guest Bio Kathy Davies is the Managing Director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford University, where she teaches Product Design, Mechanical Engineering, and “Designing Your Life”. She is also the co-founder of Designing Your Life for Women and a Master Trainer of the Designing Your Life process. She has 15 years of experience developing electromechanical and software products, and proudly holds five patents. Kathy consults with Silicon Valley companies, teaches design thinking, conducts ethnographic research, and develops product strategies and concepts. She believes design thinking and life design are powerful mechanisms for getting unstuck, and is a passionate advocate for use of design thinking to empower social change, especially around equity for women. Resources The Designing Your Life website The Stanford Life Design Lab Upcoming Designing Your Life for Women and Designing Your Life for Everyone workshops Designing Your Life for corporate teams Season 3 of Ask A Decision Engineer - All the feels To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Stanford Continuing Studies course (now enrolling, class starts July 14) Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
33 minutes | Jun 1, 2022
S4E01 - Seth Godin on intentional decisions and dancing with fear
In this fourth season of the podcast, I'm bringing folks on the show who have influenced my work on decision-making. And who better to start with than Seth Godin, without whom this podcast would not exist. Seth is an entrepreneur, an author of multiple New York Times bestselling books, writer of one of the most popular blogs in the world and a dear teacher of mine when it comes to dancing with the emotions that come up in decision-making. Today, we talk about making decisions with intent, the difference between intent and purpose, why fear is not a bad thing, and how to dance with fear when making decisions. Topics covered 02:20 Why is learning to make good decisions important? 03:39 Mindful decision making: intent vs instinct 04:56 The useful practice of meta-cognition 06:04 The difference between purpose and intent 07:51 Being on the hook is the best place to be 08:24 How to grapple with the fear of being on the hook 09:59 Staring down fear is a good signal 13:46 What's the payoff of dancing with fear? 16:01 Quality of decisions is distinct from quality of the outcome 16:36 How to dance with the fear of regret 16:36 Dancing with the fear of what others may think 21:52 Decision making as a posture 24:01 The freedom that comes with understanding sunk costs Guest Bio Seth is an author, entrepreneur, and most of all, a teacher.. In addition to launching one of the most popular blogs in the world, he has written 20 best-selling books, including The Dip, Linchpin, Purple Cow, Tribes, and What To Do When It's Your Turn (And It's Always Your Turn). His book, This is Marketing, was an instant bestseller in countries around the world. The latest book is The Practice, and creatives everywhere have made it a bestseller. Though renowned for his writing and speaking, Seth also founded two companies, Squidoo and Yoyodyne (acquired by Yahoo!). By focusing on everything from effective marketing and leadership, to the spread of ideas and changing everything, Seth has been able to motivate and inspire countless people around the world. Resources The altMBA Akimbo, home of The Podcasting Workshop and others Annie Duke’s book, Thinking in Bets To learn more from Michelle about decision making, check out The Ask A Decision Engineer website Her Stanford Continuing Studies course (now enrolling, class starts July 14) Her Personal Decision Toolkit course on Maven Her Decision Toolkit course for coaches and thought partners on Maven
1 minutes | May 25, 2022
Season 4 Trailer: New episodes coming in June 2022
When facing big decisions, even the smartest people can get tied into knots. But it doesn't have to be that way. Hi, I'm Michelle Florendo. I studied decision engineering at Stanford and over the past 15 years, I've helped hundreds of people navigate complex decisions in their professional and personal lives. In season four of my podcast, Ask A Decision Engineer, I'll be interviewing guests on the show who will share insights, strategies, and tools to help you work through your decision-making challenges. You'll hear from authors, professors and practitioners spanning the fields of decision science, psychology, organizational behavior, and human centered design. New episodes drop in June. Subscribe now, wherever you get your podcasts.
15 minutes | Aug 4, 2021
S3E08 - How do I know my decisions were the best ones?
In this Ask Me Anything (AMA) episode, I answer a question from a listener about how to tell whether the decisions he has made were the best ones. Listen in as I discuss how to reduce doubt after making a decision. Key topics covered in this episode: 1:55 - what this listener is really asking 4:02 - the short answer to the question 5:23 - what would be more helpful when facing this question 6:13 - the feeling that prompts this question and why you feel it 7:58 - the surprising truth about wanting to maximize your outcomes 9:25 - the first step in feeling better about your decisions 10:23 - the power of choosing contentment over conditioning 11:33 - how to get clear with your objectives 12:47 - the importance of committing to staying present
23 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
S3E07 - How to move past overwhelm and feel more confident in decision making
In this Ask Me Anything (AMA) episode, I answer a question from a listener about how to approach decisions so that she can move past overwhelm and feel more confident in her decision making. Listen in as I discuss four key steps for her to tackle decisions with more ease. Key topics covered in this episode: 1:23 - Process orientation vs. outcome orientation 2:32 - Improving confidence by discarding unrealistic bars for decision quality 5:32 - Knowing where to focus by using the Covey's Circles tool 8:39 - Breaking decisions down into bite-sized pieces using the 3 Components framework 10:41 - Key questions to ask to drive toward clarity in each component 17:44 - Other ways you can use the 3 Components framework 19:19 - The critical last step in any decision making process
38 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
S3E06 - How do I deal with elder care decisions after a parents health crisis
Sometimes there are decisions that are so overwhelming and emotionally draining that what we decide to do to stay mentally and emotionally fit enough to make the decision is as important as the decision process itself. In today's episode, you'll hear from a guest client facing a difficult decision regarding care for her aging mother with a mental health condition. Learn strategies for working through tough decisions involving others. Key topics we cover: 1:58 - What's key to consider in emotionally difficult decisions 2:30 - Constraints in decision making 8:31 - How Covey's Circle of Influence is a tool that can be used to identify where to focus your efforts 15:11 - The importance of identifying where you have control and where you don't have as much 17:22 - Divergent vs Convergent thinking in exploring options 22:05 - How constraints can sometimes be helpful 26:04 - How to deal with feelings that seem like an obstacle 29:45 - The importance of identifying what it will take to resource yourself Resources if you are impacted by mental illness: NAMI.org - National Alliance on Mental Illness National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1 (800) 273-8255
40 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
S3E05 - What should I do after I graduate?
How do you figure out what to do after you graduate from college? In this episode, I show a college student how to clarify what she wants, reduce the stress of finding the perfect job, and avoid getting overwhelmed by uncertainties. Key topics we cover: 2:27 - How to reframe "I don't know what I want" 5:58 - How to use the "Happiness Pyramid" to clarify what you want 8:48 - What to do with advice that tells you to follow your passion 13:50 - Why feelings can be super useful in the process of clarifying what you want 14:40 - How to shift your thinking so that it's easier to recognize the options you have 16:24 - How to think about options 18:33 - How you should approach generating new options if things don't work out 21:05 - Why it's critical to learn how to deal with uncertainty 25:26 - How to design exercises that make the job search less overwhelming
39 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
S3E04 - What to do when torn between intellect and intuition
Key topics we cover in this episode: 03:47 - What to do when your intellect says one thing and your intuition says another 07:21 - Breaking big decisions into smaller microdecisions 07:57 - Unpacking feelings about money and deciding to invest in one's business 14:05 - What's keeping her awake at night 17:17 - Clarifying her objectives 19:12 - What it means when there is an option you're not willing to entertain 20:40 - What to do about information gaps 28:03 - Determining the value of information 29:29 - How to deal with the desire to just make a decision already There are three key things that I hope you take away from this episode. If you find yourself torn between your intellect and your intuition, bring your intuition and feelings into the light. In other words, leaned in and determine what data your intuition and feelings can provide to your intellect so that you can get all parts of you on the same page. If you find that there's a particular objective that triggers an emotional reaction that may overshadow your rational thinking such as feelings about money. Set that objective aside to look at the decision with a clear lens and then bring it back into consideration later. If you have information gaps examine, ask yourself what is the value of gathering additional information and whether it is actually worth making that investment. If it is worth it to make that investment, explore how you can get comfortable with the tension that you'll experience until you're able to resolve some of those unknown. Your head and your heart need not battle it out. When you make space to bring both types of thinking into the picture, you'll leave with a much clearer picture of how to move forward.
34 minutes | Jun 16, 2021
S3E03 - Should I start my own thing or look for a job?
Today's episode touches on a number of different feelings: the excitement of a new path and the doubts around whether it will pan out the questioning around how much our desires are a result of the culture we've been surrounded by, or if deep down inside, we actually want something else. When we feel like we are swimming in an ocean of thoughts and feelings, it can be extremely useful to get those thoughts down on paper in a structured way. Consider doing a brain dump and categorizing things into the three components, objectives, options, and information If you are having a hard time articulating what you want, imagine how you want to feel in the future A decision matrix can be a useful tool to organize what comes to mind with those three components Perhaps try to map out different options and scenarios onto a decision tree so that you can make sure you are exploring all branches, fairly Structure can help you make better sense of all the inputs you have so that you can see things more clearly.
22 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
S3E02 - Stuck, unable to take the plunge
If you have already decided what course of action to take, but are having a hard time actually acting on it, explore: what emotions are arising as you think about taking action? where are those emotions coming from? if one of those emotions is fear or dread, what is on the other side of that? if what you fear were to come to fruition, what will you decide to do then? how might you keep the positive benefits of the course of action you chose top of mind?
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