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The importance of options

My girlfriend always laughs at me when I introduce options appraisal into the daily conversation: “What shall we do with our Saturday?” “Well, option A, we could…Then option B, we could” 

Sad case as I am, I own this quirk in character, 100%.

I am truly a consultant for four years now, before that working on a somewhat consultancy basis inside organisations – on projects, programmes, PMO and change. 

I have always enjoyed discussing options. It is the language of senior leadership. 

I would certainly admit to challenges. At times in the course of my daily work, I may introduce the full gamut of selection criteria where a simple discussion of options and risks would suffice. 

I have also found myself in the heady world of anecdotal discussion where a detailed options appraisal and firm evidence of the value of a single recommendation would have been more fitting.  

Largely, as with many things, I seek to find with clients the balance of head and heart. 

As a reassurance, I talk in the above scenarios about day-to-day interactions on decision making. Hart Square’s methodology relies on data, detail, and evidence. 

Business cases always include options, as you would expect, with detailed cost estimates, risks and descriptions of expected benefits. 

Partner selection involves evaluation of both selection criteria provided by clients and specific fit-gap analysis against the requirements of the proposal. 

We do not make the decisions and clients vary in terms of what matters most in a bid, yet the underlying process is scientific.  

Implementation templates, especially those for planning, risk management and change control are designed to make visible and possible the process of mature project decision making. 

I wrote a recent piece about how we often operate as a client’s Critical Friend. In my mind, we earn our grain most in our support on options, choices and decision making. 

I suppose the message of this blog is that, really. 

These are really challenging, technical matters even for a group of seasoned, talented executives or senior management leaders. We are here to help. 

This is a reminder to the sector that we understand our place in this setting. It is constantly on our minds; a reminder to Hart Square that this focus, this diligence should never leave our minds; a reminder to us all how brave and exciting this process is if it encourages openness.  

There will always be options too radical or risky or early for an organisation to approve; however, in our processes, you go there, these options are considered. 

Even if a final decision leans toward pragmatism, the energy of your greatest ambitions is not lost. The first practical steps are lit by that ambition to move forward and embrace new horizons. 

Embracing options allows us to at least consider the outside bet. Given a kind hearing, it may be the right choice, leading to the greatest change, delivering the deepest positive impact for your cause.

 

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