Deliberation, Information, Decisiveness and Implementation (DIDI) Model: A Logical Pathway to Progress in Multi-Option Life
Progress is the essence of life. Everyone, from the time of development of cognitive abilities, embarks upon, knowingly or unknowingly, on a journey of progress. Not many, however developed they are on cognitive scales, realize certain fundamentals of progress. These are: a clear destination, a clear path, a focused execution, and the next progress journey once the destination is reached, all within a clear understanding of the competencies and resources required. Not many also develop these guideposts by themselves with introspection, reflection and ownership; they are subject to myriad influences from families, friends, institutions and societies. To cap it all, very few have the philosophical approach to appreciate progress and take in stride regress. No wonder then that a feeling of having failed to progress as much as one should have is universal; only the shades vary across the rich and poor.
Ironically, the distress about lack or inadequacy of progress seems to increase with increasing prosperity while blind acceptance of status quo seems to deepen with increasing poverty. These and various other related socio-economic and socio-philosophic considerations are extremely complex, and do not easily lend themselves to one macro-analysis or a simple macro-solution. What can, however, be considered is why individuals in their own spaces of competencies and aspirations struggle with issues of progress and satisfaction. It is intriguing as to why factors as simple as destination, path and execution should defy clear mastery by even with people high level of intellectual capability. The reasons are fairly simple; the human brain is continuously subject to triggers of speedup and slowdown which continuously make individuals accelerate or vacillate, in their journeys of progress in a life setting that is becoming increasingly multi-optioned.
Accelerators and vacillators
A progressive life has its own momentum. It is marked by change with its own velocity and periodic acceleration. The accelerators are partly wired in one’s personality (for example, get rich quickly, climb up social ladder fast, win laurels, take risks to accelerate, and so on) but also require environmental triggers (for example, a new start-up culture, a new savings and investment ecosystem, more attractive financial instruments, an aggressive family environment, and so on). When these factors, part internal and part external, combine for an individual, the destination, path and progress tend to be clear. Doubtless, there would be speed breakers on the way but the accelerators have their inbuilt momentum to cruise along. The downside would stem occasionally from their adventurous nature, failing to distinguish between speed breakers that are mere cautions and those that are precursors to dead-end points.
Vacillation is the threat to acceleration in the journey of life. Vacillation is a result of confusion or lack of clarity in one’s mind. Vacillation as much as steadfastness, and confusion as much as clarity are normal human tendencies because of the way each individual is wired in terms of one’s personality (for example, risk-averse, self-satisfied, and so on) and the way external environment tends to project short term disappointments as long term distress (for example, volatility in commodity prices, job market trends, and so on). When these internal and external factors combine for an individual, the destination and path would appear to be hazy and progress tardy. Doubtless, there would be compelling pressures to gain traction on account of socio-economic benchmarks but the inherent trend of vacillators would be to procrastinate rather than decide. In fact, the matrix of deliberation and decisiveness can be utilized by accelerators and vacillators alike to overcome their inherent weaknesses, and reinforce their strengths.
Deliberation and decisiveness
Individuals tend to be scaled on the two dimensions of deliberation and decisiveness. These two dimensions are commonly seen to be inherently contra to each other. An individual who is least deliberative may tend to be quickly decisive while an individual who is extremely deliberative may tend to be least decisive. This is a simplistic view. Individuals tend to be on a scale of low to high on deliberation as well as on decisiveness. And, not in all cases there would be any correlation, positive or inverse, between the two variables. Individuals must carefully develop themselves on the deliberation-decisiveness matrix. There would be four groups of individuals; (i) low deliberators-quick deciders, (ii) high deliberators-slow deciders, (iii) low deliberators-slow deciders, and (iv) high deliberators-quick deciders. Clearly, presence in the group (iv) is something to be aimed at.
While lack of deliberation is not healthy, excessive deliberation without quick decision making is counterproductive. While being a slow decider is not a virtue if the slowness is due to high deliberations it is probably next to the best. Obviously, being a low deliberator and quick decider would lead to unhealthy choices. Being a low deliberator and slow decider is also a sure recipe to a skewed and frozen life. Being high on deliberations and simultaneously being quickly decisive gets the best of both the worlds to the individual. Individuals belonging to this group possess and develop a high level of information processing capability. However, the deliberation-decisiveness matrix needs to be further cascaded in terms of linkage between information and deliberation on one hand and decisiveness and implementation on the other. Here again, a matrix approach provides clarity to individuals.
Information and implementation
Deliberation can only be based on information. In today’s Internet world there is no paucity of information; in fact, one is overwhelmed by data and information. However, the greater the availability of quality information the greater the possibility of quality deliberation. Even then there is no assured linkage. We can have (i) low deliberators-low information (this probably is a hapless group!), (ii) low deliberators-high information (this group is handicapped by low information processing capability), (iii) high deliberators-low information (this group specializes in procrastination), and (iv) high deliberators-high information (this group makes for quality analysis and decision making choices). While information is the core of deliberation, deliberation is the proper precursor to decision making. Decision making, of course, is futile without implementation.
Decisiveness gets reinforced with implementation capability (often termed execution in management language). There is no automatic connection between quick decision making and speedy implementation. The former is largely an individual phenomenon requiring an ability to analyse self and environment while the latter is a leadership capability requiring an ability to understand, lead and manage others. Here again, a matrix approach would be helpful. We can have (i) slow deciders-slow implementers, (ii) quick deciders-slow implementers, (iii) slow deciders-quick implementers, and (iv) quick deciders-quick implementers. The first group clearly is the non-starter group in today’s competitive world while the second group, though blessed with quick start, is a losing proposition. The third group makes up for procrastinated decision making with quick implementation while the fourth group is the truly competitive group excelling in both decisiveness and implementation.
Pathway to progress
The above discussion leads us to the conclusion that one should be a member of three conceptual groups to make meaningful progress. Fundamentally, one should be a high deliberator and quick decider. This enables higher quality of decision with a faster go-to-market possibility. High deliberation, however, should stem from a capability to process high amount of information. Quick decision making, likewise, should be followed through and reinforced by an ability to quickly implement. As compared to this virtuous grouping of three, there tend to be nine other groupings which are sub-optimal or even counterproductive. The odds of placing oneself, naturally or effortlessly, in the superior grouping are statistically adverse, which requires that individuals need to understand the true meaning and the essential relevance of deliberation, information, decisiveness and implementation as the four components of an accelerated journey of progress in life.
Interestingly, decision making happens only periodically and implementation follows with a specific time horizon (not to be whimsically changed). This applies equally to a student’s educational path or a businessman’s industrial path. However, flow of information and, therefore, the triggers for deliberation occur rather continuously for any individual in any play of life. It is important to keep the deliberation process on but manage it such that it does not confuse a person and make the path of progress a meandering one. For those who manage this balance in the DIDI Model on an ongoing basis success comes naturally and logically. It is, however, amazing to see how even intellectually capable people get thwarted on their paths of progress. There could be an explanation of that too. Those who are mindful and thoughtful of the digressions could still be successful. That could be the subject of another blog post!
Posted by Dr CB Rao on March 1, 2015