Sense Making and Decision Making

When we work with clients on strategy, we often hear calls for either more data or more courage to make the key decisions.

In different situations either side may have a point, but generally both sides tend to miss a larger point: sense making precedes decision making. An insightful reframing of your situation can create whole new patterns of advantages and weaknesses. The most powerful strategies arise from such subtle shifts in viewpoints. Rather than look for orthogonal viewpoints, many management teams rely on the institutionalized view of industry structure, dynamics and sources of success.

But if you accept that strategy is fundamentally an informed judgment call about an uncertain future, you’ll want to make sense before you make decisions. And in doing so, you’ll discover that even though sense making is more ambiguous and slower than you’d like, it makes for broader discussions, more options and ultimately better decisions.