When you’re going to a process of making tough decisions, it is logical and obvious that you’re focussing on things you can see and measure. The hard facts are super useful when trying to make the best possible choices. I previously wrote about feeling confident while making those difficult decisions.

There is another angle, and that is the part you don’t see. It is easy to look at what’s there, much more difficult to figure out what is missing.

Some things that might help:

  • Ask yourself: what am I not seeing? What is missing here? Asking this question in a group can spark new thoughts as well.
  • “What are others doing?” This question can lead to knowing what you don’t have, because you’ll dive deep into your peers and competitors. With products: look at similar things. If you're deciding on hiring a person: talk to different people who have a similar role.
  • Use lists of words to trigger thoughts. When you’re stuck on figuring out how to deal with a certain issue you have with someone, you can look at a list of personality traits, for example.

Forcing yourself to try to figure out what is missing can lead to new thoughts and insights you wouldn’t get if you were only looking at everything you can see.