In order to build your case and make a good decision, it’s important to start with a general overall Evidence Board. You begin by writing down the pros and cons. These pros and cons should be made up of any general idea you see that’s connected with the drama you face. Remember that your #1 enemy is yourself. Force yourself to look at all clues and not just the ones you prefer to see.
Imagine that you have just walked into a crime scene. Your situation is not a crime but for discussion ease…let’s view the situation as a mystery, a crime scene, a puzzle. The first thing you should do in this investigation is to take a look around the room and make a note of the “general” information.
What time of day is it?
How many people are in the room?
Are they happy or sad?
Does the room look as if there’s been a fight with furniture or items out of place?
Are there any unusual sights, sounds, smells or uneven feelings in the room?
In other words, take stock of the room and your first impressions. As you look at the situation you are investigating, include any pertinent information on your Evidence Board. I place this type of information to the side so that I can pull it into my Clues Chart when necessary.
Once you have a full Evidence Board and you have investigated all the general information, it’s time to move on to the Clues Chart. Let’s use the example of a 9 year old child that has just received three F’s on his report card. How should you handle that situation? Your Evidence Board should look like the following:
baseball glove thrown in hallway
crumpled report card
books open and scattered on desk
red letters on notebook “I’m dumb”
a towel covers the face of his portable TV
the computer monitor has been turned away from his desk
a mustache and horns have been drawn on a girl’s picture
All of these general clues must be considered when determining the “real” cause of his bad grades. Any plan we design at this point would probably not be successful. Even though some clues look suspicious, we do not have enough information to draw a conclusion. The next step would be to draw a clues chart and see how much of our original evidence can be supported and connected.
Until you have practiced this form of making good decisions, I suggest that you grab a piece of paper and do this manually. Eventually you will get the hang of seeing all the clues in your head. At that point you may venture to make decisions without physically writing all the clues down. FYI – even after years of doing this in my head, some problems are so complicated and difficult that I still pull out pen and paper and plug my thoughts into a Clues Chart.