The Importance of Context in Decision-Making: Insights from Coaching and Human Nature

Aviral Vaid

Aviral Vaid

Jul 07, 20233 min read


The Importance of Context in Decision-Making: Insights from Coaching and Human Nature

In the world of product development, empowering teams to make decisions is crucial for success. However, for teams to effectively make these decisions, they need to have the necessary context. Without context, decisions can be misguided and lead to undesirable outcomes. This idea is highlighted in the article "Coaching – Strategic Context | Silicon Valley Product Group."

Context is not only essential in product development but also in how people think and make decisions in general. We are constantly surrounded by tribes, whether it's countries, companies, or even families. These tribes shape our perspectives and influence how we perceive information. The information we are exposed to tends to be a highlight reel, carefully curated to increase the chances of success. This highlights the importance of understanding that what seems likely may not always happen, and what seems unlikely may still occur.

Emotions play a significant role in decision-making. Most things in the world are a combination of facts and emotions. For example, the production capacity of a factory is a fact, but the willingness of investors to pay for that output is an emotion. Emotions cannot be predicted with a formula, making decision-making a complex process. Jealousy, for instance, is often misguided because we tend to focus on specific aspects of someone's life without considering the full picture. If we are not willing to completely swap lives with someone, there is no point in being jealous.

The complexity of decision-making is further emphasized by the fact that both good and bad times can have unforeseen consequences. Good times can lead to complacency and leverage, while bad times can create opportunities for problem-solving. It is essential to recognize that an efficient life, where no hour is wasted, may not always be the most productive. Allowing time for exploration and free thought can lead to innovative ideas and solutions.

Simplicity is often undervalued in decision-making. Complexity sells better because it gives a false sense of control, while simplicity can be mistaken for cluelessness. However, sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective. It is important to challenge our preconceived notions and question why we believe certain things. If an action or behavior appears irrational, there may be a lack of information or a different definition of rationality.

When it comes to achieving extraordinary results, compounding plays a vital role. Compounding relies on sustained high returns over a long period, rather than seeking the highest returns in the short term. This concept applies not only to financial investments but also to personal growth and development.

Implementing simple advice and solutions can be challenging. People often gravitate towards complexity and resist following straightforward advice. The key is to find the optimal amount of hassle and nonsense one is willing to tolerate in order to succeed while maintaining a sense of harmony in a messy and imperfect world.

In conclusion, understanding the importance of context in decision-making is crucial for success in both product development and life in general. By considering the insights from coaching and human nature, we can make more informed decisions. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to keep in mind:

  • 1. Seek and provide context: Empower teams by ensuring they have the necessary context to make informed decisions. This will prevent misguided choices and increase the chances of success.
  • 2. Embrace simplicity: Challenge the notion that complexity is always better. Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most effective. Look for opportunities to simplify processes and solutions.
  • 3. Find the optimal balance: Identify the level of hassle and nonsense you are willing to tolerate to achieve your goals while maintaining a sense of harmony. Strive for sustained growth and development rather than seeking short-term gains.

By incorporating these actionable pieces of advice into your decision-making process, you can navigate the complexities of life and achieve extraordinary results. Remember, context is key, and simplicity can be a powerful tool in your journey towards success.


  1. "Coaching – Strategic Context | Silicon Valley Product Group", (Glasp)
  2. "How People Think", (Glasp)

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