“Peeling the Onion”: Best train option in Milan: using Option Solving?

Having decided on Option A in prior blog –“Don’t bother with advance tickets – buy on the spot” – my wife and I proceeded on our journey to Milan. We had booked to catch the first of two daily trains between Milan and Nice, France at 11:05 AM. However, once aboard our plane in New York we experienced a ground delay of 2½ hours which would put us at least 1½ hrs late at Milan’s Malpensa airport. It would take us 52 mins. by commuter train to reach Milan’s Central Station to catch our train to Nice.

I spent much of our overnight flight contemplating our options, in between naps, with occasionally consulting a worried wife. I mapped out our question as follows: “What is our best sub-option bet in view of a late plane arrival in Milan’; considering 1) wait 3½ hrs for only other train to Nice, 2) getting a refund on train tickets, 3) expense of other options, and 4) communication difficulties in foreign country?” We had other considerations as well, but these were our main ones without overly complicating our situation.

With this question in mind, I contemplated two likely yin and yang “bookends” to act as our framework for all other viable options. These bookends were as follows: “Put our hands in divine providence” and “Hire a helicopter.” Neither of these were viable options in the circumstances, even though they are clearly options – see our Latest Worked Example. However, these “bookends” were useful for challenging our intuitive minds to come up with the most likely viable options.

I eventually produced the minimum of five options, so as to stretch our possibilities as much as possible. I asked my wife for her thoughts, when there was an interlude between in-flight movies J,  so she would feel included. From these alternatives in our Latest Example, you can see one is: “Option C: Rent a car and drive 5-6 hours to Nice.”

Our emotional distancing occurred as we were coming in to land, with another retake depending on how long it would take to collect our bags. Emotional distancing would allow us to sub-consciously mull over all five options combined with our initial question.

Fortunately our bags came through pretty quickly, since we were in business class, so we made our choice of “Option DHope for a miracle and still catch planned train in 1hr 15 minutes time.” Which option would you have chosen?

Fortunately the miracle happened, as our train was 5 minutes late in leaving, in an absolutely packed train station, with the additional challenge of traversing 19 platforms with suitcases. A helpful rail worker helped us to discern the required platform.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two weeks time: “An executive’s leadership options.” 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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