President Obama Dealing with Osama bin Laden: by use of Option Solving!

Yes, even the White house uses Option Solving, although it might not be aware of this technique in its more formal sense. By absorbing the reports in the New York Times immediately after the recent event, I am able to speculate how President Obama arrived at his final three options. From a likely scenario we can reasonably extrapolate how the White House’s team went through an option solving exercise of its own.

If the team had been aware of the option solving technique, it would have started
out with a question like: “What is our Best Option today to capture/kill Osama
bin Laden in Pakistan, considering…” Then, of course, we have to speculate about
the presidential team’s considerations, such as: Raid into another country’s
sovereign territory (international law?), Minimize US casualties, Possible
confrontation with Pakistani forces, and Irrefutable evidence Osama bin Laden
has been dealt with. Take a look at the Latest Example to see how this fits in.

Now that the team’s question has been framed, we can speculate about the two
Bookends it may well have used (bookends are those extreme Ying and Yang least
likely options). These could look like: “Sit tight and wait for the most opportune
moment” and “Ask Pakistani Forces to take care of it.” Using such bookends
would help the president’s team to maximize their intuitive creativity to produce a
series of creative but realistic options.

It is more than likely he and his team came up with a whole series of options,
although newspaper reports show they came down to at least three, which were:
“Helicopter assault using American commandos,” “Strike with B-2 bombers to
obliterate compound,” and “Joint raid with Pakistani Intelligence Operatives
informed only hours before.” In the normal course of option solving, we would
come up with at least five options to encourage maximum out-of-the-box thinking,
but we can leave you to conjecture about the other two.

Reports also went on to explain how he used emotional distancing to make his final
choice, even though he probably didn’t quite see it that way. Since at the end of the
option consideration meeting, he was reported to have said: “I’m not going to tell
you what my decision is now – I’m going to go back and think about it some more.”
He added, “I’m going to make a decision soon.”

16 hours later he had made up his mind. Early next morning, four top aides were
summoned to the White House Diplomatic Room. Before they could brief him, he cut
them off. “It’s a go,” he said. (As reported in the NY Times, May 3rd, 2011) So you can
see that by sleeping on it, his intuition was able to work it through overnight and aid
him with a “gut decision” the following morning. This is a great example of creating
some emotional space after your option creation. It also demonstrates the power of
our intuition to make an optimal choice considering all the various factors and
trade-offs that need to be made. Our intuition was built for doing this.

Please refer to the Latest Example to view the overall picture of this dilemma and it
potential solution. If you have an example of your own, please share it with this
blogger, through the COMMENTS area.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Using Option Solving to decide on ‘Handling Conflicts between Sales and Manufacturing?’” We will appreciate your COMMENTS or go to peter @ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

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Having Sufficient Technical Resources Available: by using Option Solving…continued.

Last blog we were dealing with a project manager’s challenge to have enough technical resources in her pocket to deal with the many software projects coming her way, although her company couldn’t afford to have people waiting around for new projects to emerge: see further details on the last blog below this piece.

Once her question was complete, she was able to take the next option solving step, namely, deriving “bookends.” Bookends are those extreme options, the ying and yang extreme possibilities that would help frame a cluster of likely options. The pair she chose was: “Not wait for technical resources to appear” and “Disregard deadlines.” Why don’t we finish her story in the next blog, see below.

With these in place, her bookends, along with her comprehensive question, quickly nudged her to come up with at least five different options (experience has shown that a minimum of 5-6 options will help ensure that sufficient creativity will occur). Three of her five were: “Outsource possibilities,” “Always have a team in reserve,” and “Have on call a part-time team of people available.”

With the five she picked, she participated in some emotional distancing to take her focus away from these options for 5-10 minutes. We talked about some other interesting things going on in her life at that moment in time, quite unrelated to her dilemma. Ten minutes later we returned to her option picture and, following a quick reread of her question and bookends, to intuitively pick the option that would work best for her company. We’ll leave you to guess what that might have been.

In any event, I heard back 3-4 weeks later that she had pursued her option with the company’s leadership and they were quite willing to help her bring it to fruition. There is no doubt her case was helped by thinking through her options in this coherent way, rather than potentially using a complaining or non-constructive approach.

Please refer to the Latest Example to view the overall picture of this dilemma and its potential solution. If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks : “Using Option Solving to decide on ‘President Obama’s options to deal with Osama bin Laden?’” We will appreciate your COMMENTS or go to peter @ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)