Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Make your own luck. Hold or Fold? Sizing Up Risk... and making decisions

"Every bet, large or small, corporate or personal, puts you into a game. And whatever the game, at some point your participation ends. Sometimes it ends because the game is over for all the players, sometimes because your participation is terminated by others, and sometimes because you've chosen to exit the game"

According to Eileen C. Shapiro and HBS professor Howard H. Stevenson, three key elements help you size up an option: your satisfaction to date, predictions about likely results, and future intentions. Take a look at this exerpt from "Make Your Own Luck" at HBS Working Knowledge
. Although the focus here is on business investment, does making a bet equate to making a decision? Deciding usually means choosing an option and this matrix offers help to analyse your options in whatever "game" you are playing.

" Option A is to stay in the game as an active player until some later time or until someone or something boots you out. Option B is to quit this game and then enter another game that will allow you to go after the same kinds of results you've been aiming for in the current game. And Option C is to quit this game and go to a different kind of game that produces a different type of results."
Any decision in the game of life - career, relationship, redecorating - could be approached from this aspect. The key perhaps is awareness of exactly what it is that you believe you are trying to achieve and what it is you are achieving.

Try this thought on for size...you are getting the results of your actions.

With the objective of making your own luck, take a hard look at your aims and options by category and what exactly it is that you want , not what you want to escape. What's a decision you need to make? Try out the matrix in the article and see.

Remember though, as the authors point out at the end, " the recommended options for each of the three profiles we just looked at share one big caveat—you need to check your emotions as well as your analysis". In the end, is it like flipping a coin to make a decision and deciding how we really feel about the result? Do the head work first, the intellectual analysis, but don't forget to check with your heart before you act.


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