Solving Our National Debt: by means of Option Solving!

Just imagine if we could possibly get both sides together in Washington to have an objective and mature discussion about “Eliminating the National Budget Deficit.” As an admittedly heavily biased person toward the use of Option Solving, it seems that I increasingly hear more and more references to Washington looking at its options on different issues. Whether that’s because my attention has been extra-sensitized to it because of my passion, or whether the idea is gaining more ground, is hard for me to discern.

Anyway, if I were the facilitator of the meeting about eliminating the national budget deficit, I would first encourage the participants to come up with an appropriate question. It would probably start with something like this: “What is our best national option for eliminating the budget deficit by 2020, considering…” Then I would encourage the participants to come up with potential key considerations. After we produce a fairly extensive list, we would, by means of confidential polling of the participants, get it down to some of the most significant ones, say: “…the retirement of baby boomers, humanely address entitlement programs, the necessity to stimulate robust economic growth, and our need to meet internal and external security threats?” (see Latest Example).

Now I would ask the meeting participants to frame the option limits with “bookends,” those Ying and Yang options that are least likely to be considered. After some raucous discussion, we might come up with: “Sustain Spending and Tax Cut Levels of 2010” at one end, and at the other “Cut Spending and Raise Taxes to those of 2000 Levels (Millennium economics: the last time we had a surplus).”

With these interesting option limits, which most people are likely to reject, hence putting their creative intuitions into high gear for better alternatives, they might start digging up some of the options given in the Latest Example. Ultimately, whatever they are, it would then be interesting for Congress to launch a national, binding referendum. By a national debate on the options and a referendum on the voters’ confidential, preferred option, we would have the ultimate wisdom of the crowd on which politicians could then put into action. With luck, we will then have made substantial progress on our debt issue by 2020. (Your views always welcome.)

Please refer to the Latest Example to view the overall picture of a 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 ‘Career Choices?’” You’re your COMMENTS or go to peter to connect with the blogger.)


Promoting a more Positive/Conducive Relationship to Facilitate Progress: by use of Option Solving!

Fairly recently a client was grappling with how he could make more progress with a current strategic alliance. There weren’t any easy alternatives and yet there were opportunities to be gained, if he could enhance the working relationship.

Faced with this quandary, we decided to take an Option Solving approach since it is so good at handling complex choices. Following some deliberations, he produced an appropriate question along with its key considerations, which was: “What is my best option for creating a positive/conducive relationship that will maximize my strategic alliance’s cooperation, considering our need to meet certain financial requirements, the need to maximize safety, and the desire to optimize reliability?” There were other considerations on his original list, but these three represented the most important ones.

Now we were in a position to define his “bookends”, those yin and yang items that would further frame his dilemma and give his intuition a provocative frame of reference. After some discussion, these turned out to be: “Get rid of them” and at the other end, “Do it ourselves.” Since neither of these was a starter, even though they are, in fact, options, they were useful counter points to stimulate creative thinking.

Now it just remained for him to come up with a number of realistic options. You can see from the Latest Example that he came up with five options (although we deliberately have not shown all of them). With these in place, I turned our worksheet over and started talking about other important issues for about 5-10 minutes to allow for emotional distancing. This freed up his intuition to work through the variables, trade-offs and similar decisions (that had been recorded in his subconscious over the years), while we chatted about other matters.

Eventually, we turned the worksheet back over and, with a quick read of the question, “bookends,” and five options, he chose the optimum one. We then immediately started discussing his next steps, while it was still fresh in his mind. We then wrapped up the meeting so that he could go ahead and implement his decision, while renewed confidence and momentum was there.

Please refer to the Latest Example to view the overall picture of this dilemma and its potential solution. If you have any example of your own, please share it with the blogger through the COMMENTS icon.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Using Option Solving to decide on ‘Eliminating Our National Budget Deficit?’” [This is a repeat of an earlier version, since it is so topical.] We will appreciate your COMMENTS or go to peter to connect with the blogger.)