1st Edition

Bulletproof Decisions How Executives Can Get It Right, Every Time

By Ruben Ugarte Copyright 2022
    224 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    224 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    224 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    We are told from a young age that we should strive to make the right decisions, but we aren’t taught exactly how to do this. Every day, we make over 35,000 decisions in our personal and professional lives. How many of those decisions do we get right? This book will help business executives systematically tackle these 35,000 decisions. Executives are forced to make critical decisions that impact their lives, their employees’ lives, and the lives of their customers. Decisions like what products to create, who should be hired, and what divisions to shut down are all commonplace in the executive suite.

    This book offers three strategies for dealing with decisions: problem-solving techniques, routines, and decision-making frameworks. Each strategy is designed to help readers achieve more clarity, gain time back, and improve the quality of their decisions. The first one focuses on helping readers solve the right problem instead of wasting time on the wrong one. The second strategy helps deal with decisions that need to be made once but can then be executed regularly. The third and final strategy provides a three-step framework for making the most important decisions in their lives.

    The focus of the author’s work is on helping readers use data to make better decisions. This book gives readers the tools to convert the insights they learn from their data into actionable decisions.

    Dedication *

    About Author *

    Other Works by Ruben Ugarte *

    Appendix *

    Introduction *

    1. 35,000 Reasons Why You Need This Book *

    It’s the Not the Quantity but the Mental Burden *

    Behind the Decision: Seahawks Failed Pass in Super Bowl 49 *

    3 Strategies for Dealing With Decisions *

    Behind the Decision: Sweden’s Unorthodox COVID-19 Strategy *

    Yes, Inaction Is a Decision *

    Not Every Decision Has a Happy Outcome *

    Chapter Summary *

    This chapter will introduce the reader to the principles behind the book and provide evidence for how these strategies will help them in their day-to-day life. Studies have shown that we make up to 35,000 decisions every day. This might seem overwhelming first, but this book will guide readers through how to systematically work through all these decisions while reducing the mental burden of making them.

    2. The 5 Forces Behind All Decisions and Why You Gravitate Toward Some *

    The 5 Driving Forces *

    Behind the Decision: The Astros Sign Stealing Operation *

    Doubling Down on Your Primary Force *

    Behind the Decision: Lebron James & "The Decision" *

    Minimizing the Bias Generated by Each Force *

    Chapter Summary *

    This chapter will cover the 5 forces that drive every decision we make. These 5 forces are: emotional, social, personal, philosophical, and moral. Each of these 5 forces affects us differently, and we tend to gravitate toward some of them. The reader will learn strategies for treating each force as a strength and how to push back against the bias generated by each force.

    3. Before You Decide, Choose a Problem Worth Solving *

    Is this a Problem Worth Solving? *

    Behind the Decision: Cuba & Communism *

    Effective Problem-Solving Is Good Critical Thinking *

    Occam’s Razor and Why a Straight Line Is the Shortest Path *

    Behind the Decision: the Ottoman Empire Conquering of Constantinople *

    Dealing With Problems Instead of Running Away From Them *

    Chapter Summary *

    This chapter will cover the first strategy for dealing with decision overwhelm: problem-solving. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated or effective a strategy is if it’s focused on the wrong problem. The reader will learn how to solve problems in their personal and professional lives and why some problems aren’t worth solving.

    4. The Turtleneck Principle for Making Decisions Once and for All *

    Why You Should Wear the Same Outfit Every Day *

    Behind the Decision: Amazon & AWS *

    Using Routines to Tackle Recurring Decisions *

    Does Your Team Know What to Do Regularly? *

    Behind the Decision: Brexit *

    Optimizing Your Routines and Systems *

    Chapter Summary *

    This chapter will introduce the second strategy for dealing with decision overwhelm: routines. Steve Jobs famously wore the same black turtleneck and jeans for the majority of his work life. This is an example of how routines and systems can help the reader make recurring decisions. We spend far too much time trying to determine what to wear, what to eat, and what to do, instead of making the decision once and for all.

    5. Using the 3 Os Framework for the Critical Few *

    The Remaining Critical Few *

    Behind the Decision: Marvel Selling Its Superheroes and Their Redemption *

    The 3 Os Framework: Using Layers to Hit the Bullseye *

    Learning the Framework and Throwing It Away *

    Behind the Decision: UPS CEO Saying No *

    Making the Framework Your Own *

    Chapter Summary *

    This chapter will introduce the third strategy for dealing with decision overwhelm: the 3 Os framework. The reader will learn a simple framework composed of Outcomes, Options, and Obstacles for making decisions. This framework should only be used on the critical few decisions left over after using problem-solving and routines.

    6. Knowing What’s Best, When to Decide, and How to Tell Them Apart *

    Knowing What’s Best *

    Behind the Decision: Apple & the iPhone *

    Knowing When to Decide *

    How the Context Changes Situations *

    Behind the Decision: Invasion of Normandy *

    Applying the 3 Strategies in a Rapidly Changing World *

    Chapter Summary *

    This chapter will dive deeper into the situations that readers will face as they attempt to make better decisions. One of the most common situations involves knowing what is best, for themselves and their teams, and knowing when they need to make decisions versus letting other people decide.

    7. How Leaders Make Decisions in Tough Situations *

    Knowing When to Involve Your Team in Decisions *

    Bringing Ethics and Morals into the 21st Century Organization *

    Behind the Decision: Netflix and Their Culture of Fear *

    Doing What’s Right Even When It Isn’t Popular or Easy. *

    Behind the Decision: Renaissance Popes *

    The Future of Leadership and How to Prepare *

    Chapter Summary *

    This chapter will take a deeper look at the intersection between leadership and decision-making. We’ll briefly talk about ethics and how to make the right decision even when that isn’t the popular decision.

    8. The 7 Pillars of Effective Decision Making for Individuals & Teams *

    Behind the Decision: The Search for Lost Meaning *

    7 Pillars for Effective Decision Making *

    Getting Your Team to Make Their Own Decisions *

    Behind the Decision: MLK & the Adlib *

    The Pillars & Your Personal Life *

    Chapter Summary *

    This chapter will cover the 7 pillars for making effective decisions. These pillars go across the 3 strategies that we previously covered and could apply to individuals and teams. The 7 pillars are speed, permanence, ownership, loops, fundamentals, self-interest, and the future.

    9. Understanding Why You Made the Wrong or Right Decision *

    Deconstructing Your Best Decisions *

    Behind the Decision: Starbucks Free Consumer Loans *

    Where Post-Mortems Go Wrong and How to Breathe Life into Them (Do Post Successes) *

    Behind the Decision: Translating the Bible to German *

    The Fallacy of Decision Journals and Reducing Analysis Friction *

    Chapter Summary *

    This chapter will help the reader deconstruct why they made a wrong decision in the past and how to improve their ability to predict whether a decision will be correct. Running post-mortems is common in the professional world, but this chapter will make it sustainable to do them at work and at home.

    10. Trusting Your Gut in a World Ruled by Data *

    In God We Trust, All Others Bring Data *

    Dealing with the Data Trifecta *

    Training Your Gut With Data *

    Behind the Decision: Looking for the Root Cause of Death *

    Living in Harmony With Numbers *

    Behind the Decision: The Rise of QAnon *

    Chapter Summary *

    This chapter will help the reader understand how to balance the use of data and their intuition. Our world is biased toward data, but this doesn’t mean that this is the best way to make every decision. I’ll help the reader deal with data overwhelm and how they can use data to train their intuition.

    Conclusion *


    Ruben Ugarte is a Data Strategist at Practico Analytics, where he has worked with 75+ companies from 5 continents and all company stages, including Cornell University, Jive, Destination BC, and Circle. He has helped them use data to make higher-quality decisions and unlock hidden insights. For example, one of his clients is the British Columbia government, who needed help sorting through all their data to determine how to adapt their tourism marketing due to COVID-19. Another example is Paymark, which is the largest payment processor in New Zealand. They needed help figuring out how to best support their small merchant clients as they dealt with ongoing lockdowns. All his clients need to make decisions with limited resources and rapidly changing conditions. Ruben provides them with pragmatic strategies and frameworks that work in the real world. These are the same ideas that will be covered in this book. He also maintains a popular blog that has been read by over 100,000 readers. Ruben’s ideas and work have been featured in industry-leading blogs, such as ConversionXL and Openview Labs. He resides in Vancouver, BC, and spends his free time exploring new bike routes.

    "A universal premise and thought-provoking introduction from a data practitioner. Perception over control of our decisions means that we should spend time understanding how the skill of decision-making can be improved." --
    Celeste Johnson, reedsy.com