Framing decisions is arguably the hardest aspect of decision analysis. This is because when framing, you have to simplify down to the things that really matter the most. If you do this incorrectly, you can end up with a complicated mess or you constrain the problem too much leaving your decision with little value.

In business there is an art to being able to frame efficiently involving soft skills that are sensitive not just to what is being said, but also to what is not being said.  Framing revolves around perspective and looking at issues from multiple angles. Within your organization, you want to limit the number of variables down to a subset that you can make decisions around.

One of the biggest challenges in decision making is actually deciding what you are going to decide about. Effective framing will help you discover what the real issue is and will lead to making decisions and progress more efficiently.

I gave a talk with Peter McNamee, a colleague of mine at SmartOrg, on framing patterns at Stanford University for the class “Professional Decision Analysis”. In this video, we share with the students our wisdom regarding framing and how it can be a useful tool in business.