When you run a business, the stakes are high. Customers rely on you and your team members do too. Decisions that will cover payroll and keep the business afloat are your call. With this pressure on your shoulders, even small business decisions can feel tough.
Brian O’Connor is an ex-Deloitte consultant turned independent advisor. He’s advised over 100 executives on how to quickly gain clarity and simplify their toughest decisions. O’Connor shares these frameworks and tools with over 80,000 followers on LinkedIn and Twitter. He’s also built his newsletter, Outlier Growth, to over 14,000 readers, including founders, business owners and managers from Deloitte, Amazon, Apple, and Google. His frameworks help them clarify their moves and triple their business revenue.
O’Connor knows the importance of good decisions, in business and in life. “Your ability to choose the best action to take is the single most important skill to determine your wealth, health, and happiness,” he explained. “Decisions such as which business to go into, how to spend your resources, and where to live, each impact your life trajectory, and it’s scary thinking you might miss something and regret your choice.” With these 5 ChatGPT prompts, the large language model can be your personal AI advisor, suggesting your best option so you’re not blindsided by unexpected outcomes.
Open up ChatGPT and copy and paste each prompt, editing the square brackets accordingly and using the same chat window so the context carries through. O’Connor recommends you conduct research before making a decision based on ChatGPT’s advice. Exercise due caution then make your choice and go for it.
Use ChatGPT to simplify decisions and gain control of your future
Find the real problem
“The most common decision-making mistake is solving the symptoms and not the root problem,” explained O’Connor. “But without finding the root cause, which can be hard to locate, the problem keeps coming back.” Prompt ChatGPT to analyze your problem and suggest root causes. With all of the information and none of the emotion, it might spot patterns you missed. It can go back to the essence of your issue and ensure you’re not simply papering over the cracks.
“Act as a business consultant. I’m going to give you a list of problems and I want you to find the root cause underlying all these problems. Context: [Give background on you and where the problem is happening]. Here are the problems: [explain each of the problems]. What are 5 possible root causes creating these problems?”
Explore your options
The tough business decision hasn’t been solved just yet. “Once you have the core problem to solve, coming up with your options to solve the problem is tough,” explained O’Connor. “You don’t want to regret missing an option you forgot to include.” Here’s where ChatGPT can ideate on ways to resolve the root cause you’ve just identified, and make sure nothing is overlooked.
“I’m [describe yourself in a work capacity] and trying to achieve [give context on your business goals]. The root cause of my problem is: [provide the likely root problem from the previous list]. The desired outcomes from solving this problem are (ranked in priority order): [describe your specific goals in order]. Given my problem and my goals, list the 5 best potential ways to solve the problem.”
Assess the pros and cons
By now you have options for solving the problem at its crux. But which one to choose? “Every choice you make comes with trade-offs,” explained O’Connor. “But it’s hard to think of every reason you should (or shouldn’t) make a certain choice. You don’t want to create brand new problems.” Prompting ChatGPT in this way will help you come up with pros and cons so your blind spots are covered.
“For each possible solution you just listed, act as an expert business analyst and outline the benefits and drawbacks of each in a bullet-pointed list. The benefits and drawbacks need to be specific to the information I provided about me and my situation.”
Visualize each outcome
“Don’t be caught off guard by an outcome you weren’t expecting,” advised O’Connor, “by using ChatGPT to imagine the future possibilities with each choice.” Visualization, a tactic used by athletes, artists and business leaders, can be instrumental in predicting your optimal future. If your imagination is limited, or if you just want a helping hand, ask ChatGPT to visualize specific outcomes for every choice.
“For each possible solution you listed, show me 3 possible outcomes: 1) Best case 2) Likely case 3) Worst case. Describe the case, then tell me what factors could cause each case to happen.”
Rank your choices
Now you have the root cause, the possible solutions, their respective pros and cons and accompanying visualization of likely outcomes, you can prioritize by appropriateness and find your way forward. “Ask ChatGPT to suggest your best option based on parameters you create,” advised O’Connor. “List your options, then have it rank them based on your goals in priority order.” If you already have a favourite or two, add that information and show your reasoning.
“Given my background, goals, and the pros and cons of each option, rank the solutions you gave me in order of how well they align with the following goals: 1) Specifically targeting the root cause 2) Help me achieve my goals 3) Have less significant downsides. Explain why you ranked each option that way.”
ChatGPT prompts to help you make business decisions
It’s not that you don’t have the answer, it’s that talking it through and having ChatGPT fill in the gaps can get you there without relying on external help. Think of this process as journaling with the most switched-on and least volatile version of you.
These prompts turn ChatGPT into your personal AI advisor to help make any tough business decision feel easy. Find the root cause and get ideas of how to solve it. Identify the pros and cons and get a personalized visualization of how they might play out. Consider all the information then move forward with confidence.
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