Find the Appropriate Solution

Every challenge has a number of angles from which it can be addressed. The best solution is not always a singular result. Best according to what? “Cost-effective” or “value-for-money” are metrics we often use to rank outcomes from best to worst.

But not all businesses have a clear profit motive. And not every business unit needs to turn over every penny to make sure it goes as far as possible. Sometimes there are political and other dimensions that are used for measuring the desirability of a particular solution.

Status and power can be reflected by the car you drive or the management system that powers your data warehouse. For some these attributes are more important than working capital.

Familiarity can also be a considerable source of bias when it comes to deciding on a strategy. A particular product or suite of products, a brand or an ecosystem that the decision makers are accustomed to, could sway them from practicality to the comfort of what they know.

Whatever your measure is for determining the suitability of a solution, be wary of making your decision in a bubble of emotion and with a circle of people who tell you what you want to hear.

If I ask a Bentley salesman what would solve my mobility issues, you can be sure he would offer me a Bentley as the appropriate solution, even if I live in the centre of the sand sea of the Namib desert. It would look beautiful, and it may raise my status so long as no one questions the practicality of my purchase. But it will not help me to move very far.

In contrast, a 1973 Land Cruiser costing a fraction of the British luxury car would be far more effective in helping me traverse the sandy floor of the oldest desert in the world. It may not keep me very cool, but it will get to where I need to go with far greater probability than the expensive air-conditioned option.

Take a moment to think about what is important to you. Ask around for the opinions of others – particularly of those with whom you might not always agree. Make sure you have at least one dissenting voice when you announce your choice, and ask that voice why they disagree. Then ask them why they answer your enquiry in they way they do, and why that is, again.

Our own biases and echo-chambers often blind us to what is really good for us. Balance your preference with the slight discomfort of possibly being wrong. Or not.

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