What is Fox News’s best option with Bill O’Reilly: using Option Solving?

Until about a week ago Fox News’ parent board members spent 2-3 weeks deliberating on what to do with their champion news broadcaster, Bill O’Reilly. In anticipation of that decision, your editor went to work to figure out possible options at play in their deliberations.

The first principle of option solving is to produce a rational question to trigger the optimum solution. After due deliberation by your editor this turned out to be: “What is Fox News’ Owner’s best alternative on Bill O’Reilly ; considering 1) he has a tremendous following, 2) big advertisers are pulling out advertising support, 3) he has allegedly been involved with several sexual harassment cases, and 4) it may put the channel into decline?” Some other considerations did come up, but these seemed to be the four key ones without overly complicating the Board Directors’ dilemma.

With this question now in place, two unlikely “bookend” choices had to be found, the yin and yang, in order to focus the Board of Directors’ intuitive minds on their most realistic set of options. The bookends chosen for them were: “Ignore the whole thing” and “Underwrite him for a totally new media venture,” both of which were probably the least likely to occur. However, they do serve the purpose of prodding their intuitive faculties into identifying more realistic but challenging options. Their intuitive minds can so easily be distracted, so these bookends can help keep them on track – see our Latest Worked Example.

For option solving to be at its best, they would be challenged to consider at least five realistic options for stretching their range of possibilities as much as possible – you will see we produced six. Look at our Latest Example and you will see those six options, one of those proposed was: “Option F – Suspend and then move him to a new show in 6 months time.” With their “pictogram” now in place, indicating their range of six options, they would now have some time for emotional distancing. Emotional distancing would allow their intuitive minds to sub-consciously ponder the six options your editor offered. This would enable them to be more objective when they returned to this offered pictogram.

Which option would you have chosen, if you were in their shoes? In fact they ended up choosing option E, but, as is so often the case, they probably only considered two options in an effort to make their decision easier. Your editor would have liked them to have chosen option F, since that would have enabled them to make their point in a firm way and then given them the opportunity to utilize his talents with a fresh beginning…despite a short-term outcry from their baying competitors.

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: “What is our best approach to get the full-adoption of a survey’s output?” 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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