Dilemma over existing travel plans and looming winter storm: using Option Solving?

Dilemma over existing travel plans and looming winter storm: using Option Solving?

We were away at a conference and other business in Florida during January and winter struck with a vengeance back home in the North East. Suddenly the airline was pressing us to make flight changes to cope with likely cancelations. It wasn’t an easy call because the weather patterns were still unpredictable and our plane might still fly.

So, being the author of option solving I sat down to consider our options with my wife. It’s not always an easy task with one’s spouse, since the two genders often have different mental approaches toward resolving issues. Anyway, after due discussion, our  question evolved as follows: “What is our best option for a return trip home; considering 1) major winter snowstorm looming, 2) airline giving no-penalty window to adjust flight plans, 3) need to return to work and pets, and 4) our house cleaner already scheduled?” Our considerations turned out to be the most important ones, so we left the minor ones out of the “pictogram” so as not to overly complicate matters.

Now our question was in place, we had to figure out the most appropriate yin and yang “bookends” – see our worked example – that would frame our eventual choices and challenge our imaginations to produce the optimum number of alternatives . These bookends  were, “Ignore everything and go to airport as already planned” and “Go by boat or train instead.” When you go to our Latest Example you will see why these two bookends were the most impracticable, but would serve the purpose of stirring-up our creative juices to produce more reasonable, pragmatic alternatives.

With our bookends figured out, we then set-about deriving at least five, practical alternatives. This is the minimal number you should shoot for. That number would go a long way to ensuring we would stretch our minds as much as possible in the expectation of unearthing our optimum option. You can view our five in our Latest Example. One of these was: “Option D – Wait until Sunday before making any changes .”

We then decided to sleep on the “pictogram” we produced, with its five realistic alternatives, and then agreed to review it on the Wednesday morning, prior to the weekend. This overnight activity is called emotional distancing. We did in fact opt for choice D, with E as a caveat option if needed, and got to travel home two days later than planned. By shifting to another airline, we got home a day earlier than by sticking with our scheduled airline. Which option would you have chosen?

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 4 weeks due to intervening vacation by author: “How Executive Handles Restructuring?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)

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