Decisive | Book Review

Buy this book. It is very good.

Chip & Dan Heath’s Decisive diagnoses four general causes of poor decisions; narrow framing, confirmation bias, short-term emotion and overconfidence. Their solutions form the acronym WRAP (Widen your options – chapters 2-4, Reality - Test Your Assumptions – chapters 5-7, Attain Distance Before Deciding – chapters 8-9 and Prepare to Be Wrong – chapters 10-11). Single page summaries of chapters one through twelve are on pages 29, 49, 67, 89, 114, 134, 153, 174, 192, 217, 237 and 253, respectively. Similar to Energize2Lead and Platinum Rule awareness, the authors recommend we manually “spotlight” our blindsides, rather than overuse our “auto spotlight” while decision making. Great analogy.

Structural Comments

Widen your Options

Chapter three, Multitrack, is very attractive. Multitrack is not fuzzy, meandering brainstorming, but rather parallel consideration of a couple key legitimate options. This allows issue shaping and a mindset of Solution A AND Solution B – not Solution A OR Solution B. In chapter four, “laddering up” via analogies is a great process for strategic thinking and planning.

Reality-Test Your Assumptions

Don’t be arrogant and ask questions could be the title of chapters five through seven. “What would have to be true for this option to be the right answer?” - Roger Martin’s method of playing Devil’s Advocate is a great way to explore options other than indulging our own favorites. Chapter seven, Ooch, challenges us to seek and/or create primary information. Or put another way; to experiment, create and know rather than presume or predict.

Attain Distance Before Deciding

Chapter nine, Honor Your Core Priorities, aligns very well with Personal Leadership Philosophy development and usage. Page 179 states the goal of the WRAP process is a series of questions analogous to questions our Leader’s Compass answers. Enshrining priorities, described on page 184 is a jewel, which suggests that leaders should stand for something.

Prepare to be Wrong

Chapters ten and eleven focus, at their core, on goal setting and trip wires for decision- making. Starting on page 202, the authors describe a more visual approach to goal setting, and after action planning similar to the military’s After Action Reports (AARs).

Additional Information

The Heath brothers have a web site: with a resources section, and pages 257-272 cover cases and questions worth reading.

This is fine book, at the core recommending humility in leadership.

JE | May 2013