Why You Want Your Decision Process to be Messy

Good decision-making is messy. This process visual illustrates good decision-making. In it, you move from recognizing you need change and having no or few ideas or solutions (1) to a messy collection of ideas (2). Once you organize the ideas into a set of realistic possibilities (3), you are ready to evaluate each alternative to find the best solution to create the change sought (4). One residual benefit of good decision-making is that you created other vetted options to apply elsewhere (5).


1. We need change.  You start with the recognition that you need to change.

2. The messy phase. You invest effort to develop a large set of options or solutions. You discover many ways to proceed.

3. Good options. You investigate and organize your options into categories. You discover a handful of options that offer real promise.

4. Best now. You select one option now because of its great fit, the opportunities, and your skills. You proceed with confidence, enriched by what you learned in your investigation.

5. Pay-off. As you proceed with your selected option, you discover ways to incorporate the good ideas you didn’t select. You use some of these other options or the ideas behind them to improve your operation.

Picture of the CreativeProcess from simple to messy to simple again

Karen Eber Davis

Before founding her firm, Karen Eber Davis developed the Sarasota County Community Development Block Grant Program. Under her leadership, this infant program received the National Association of Counties National Affordable Housing Award for the Down Payment Assistance Program. To date, the program helped over 1,800 families realize their dreams of homeownership. She also worked with the City of Ft. Lauderdale and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, where she developed the division’s first audit program. In an earlier position at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tampa, she organized senior, youth, and children groups plus family activities. Her youth staffing work with the Florida Synod of the Lutheran Church in America supported youth ministries in 120 congregations in Florida.