A key set of criteria in a decision strategy is how we create criteria and then matches or adjusts the criteria for saying
“That’s it. It is finished.”


We are speaking of sufficing and optimizing.

Sufficing asks: “What is the minimum acceptable necessary and SUFFICIENT qualities for an output that allows me to say ‘we’re done here’?”

Sufficing is often used in budgeting processes, and when resources are — scarce or ‘mistakes’ have occurred and “something’s gotta give”.

Optimizing asks: “What are the highest qualitative possibilities for this output, given the resources available and the specific criteria being applied? Is this the best that be accomplished?”

Optimizing is often used when we’re “dreaming big”, or when we’re in that state of desiring to create ‘perfect’ results for a client, customer, loved one, etc. (the PERFECT romantic holiday, the IDEAL project result, etc.)

Curiously, both sufficing and optimizing may show up together at any position on the social and economic ladder – the rich man who specs out his toys to the nth degree but refuses to pay bills until almost on the court steps, or the poor woman who has to suffice across every area of practical life in order to save enough money to have her dream wedding gown.

Over time people will demonstrate preferences or tendencies for one or the other, and may (possibly) adopt sufficing in one context and optimizing in another.

Neither one is “right”, “higher”, “better” or “nicer” but the application of one or the other will have consequences (and consequences themselves are neither good or bad, but they merely follow from particular choices).

What is important for the moment is that unconscious preferences act as a bias, and in the context of building a better success system, zigging when you should be zagging has its costs.

We’ll be considering each in future posts.

For the moment, we’d like you to consider when you ALWAYS suffice, and when you NEVER suffice, and then when you ALWAYS Optimize, and when you NEVER optimize.

Writing down your thoughts in lists may be the way to accomplish this.

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