Thinking Strategy - Integrative Thinking

Decision making is an integral process of each day of our life. We take 100's of decision in a day - few within fraction of seconds, few take months; few in impulse, few after a lot of thinking and reasoning; few personal, few professional.

I am not referring in this learning - the decision taken in seconds or in impulse, but the later part which takes lot of thinking, reasoning. Over the time if one learns the art of thinking strategy referred as Integrative Thinking, one will naturally use the same in every decision he/she makes.

In process of making a decision we often don’t know what to do. Our first impulse is usually to determine which is “right” by the process of elimination, which is “wrong.” Nothing is wrong in the process, but today what appears "right" could be leading to eliminating a "RIGHT" by stating it "wrong".

Let us see, where are probable possibilities in stages of Decision Making where we tend to eliminate "wrong" which could be a brighter "RIGHT"-

The Four Stages of Decision Making

Determining Possibilities - The first step which is figuring out which factors to take into account when considering an issue. Often one tends to discard as many as possible—or not even consider some of them in the first place when considering an issue, considering it will help to narrow down to most possible solution as well reduce time involved, very importantly assuming it will make things easy (keeping complexity at bay)

Analyzing causality - After defining possibilities, one applies a filter of relationship with each possibilities, based on assumptions, past references & experience. One might not be aware of the terminology called Linear Regression (, but we use it often while analyzing possibilities.

Envisioning the decision - Every decision is a result of combination of events, actions, decisions. One often breaks down a problem into independent pieces and work on them separately or in a certain order.

Achieving resolution - All the above three, leads to an alternative which one accepts assuming it as the best possible alternative, even if one might not be cent percent satisfied. It is accepting between 'Either - or'.

The complete Decision Making process can be seen in a different light with

Determining Possibilities - Considering all possibilities and multiple opportunities even if it involves complexity & time.

Analyzing causality - Looking at the glass not only as half filled or half empty, but thinking out of the box - encouraging innovation, new ideas, challenging status quo.

Envisioning the decision - Seeing the entire jigsaw puzzle — how the various parts of it fit together, how one decision will affect another.

Achieving resolution - Thinking beyond of either and or. Starting back the entire thought process again even if it takes more time, delay in decision making & adding efforts.

There are opportunities to explore at every junction - why miss it by seeing things in same lens. Explore the world of possibilities - use the integrative thinking. There are various tools to facilitate integrative thinking. Two of the most helpful & recommended tools by leaders I have worked with and have experienced the ease myself are 6 Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono

Decision making Integrative Thinking

About the author

Ami Sheth

Family Business Coach I Mentor I Entrepreneur



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