Irrational Wisdom

Sometimes the best decision doesn’t make sense on paper.

If you’re not a basketball fan or Canadian, you may not have heard that Kawhi Leonard will not be returning to the Toronto Raptors next season because he’s going to play for the Los Angeles Clippers. Toronto fans were disappointed, but Kawhi is from southern California. As one fan said on Twitter, “Toronto offered Kawhi everything it possibly could have, and more than anywhere else did, except it can never be home. We can’t compete with that.”

I remember friends writing out a pros and cons list to assess whether they should have another baby or not. The cons side of the ledger was long. The pros side simply said, “We want one.” She was pregnant again before too long, and they’ve never looked back.

A client walked through a facilitated priority setting exercise with me recently, looked at the decision that emerged and said, “It’s the wrong call. It meets the criteria we set, but we’re playing it too safe.” They trusted their gut and changed course.

In each of these cases, the criteria that mattered most weren’t on the list.

I’m a fan of considering evidence and following rigorous process. But when you’re making a decision with your team, leave space for intuition and considerations that hadn’t been made explicit up to that point. Taking them into account will lead to a better-rounded decision, and one with greater support in the end. Because you really can’t compete with the [often unarticulated] feelings of home.

2 Replies to “Irrational Wisdom”

  1. Rebecca, I love this! So well said. If the decision feels wrong, look again. You forgot to take something into account — home, gut feeling.

    At the same time, it can also occasion a deeper look at your own biases and assumptions. WHY does it feel wrong? Is it because it goes against childhood training? Or personal, unacknowledged biases? Or is the team looking at it only from one point of view?

    Either way, if a decision feels wrong, it’s time to look again.


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