You always think the decision will be A or B,
but it's always some third way
that you couldn't have anticipated.
-- The law of the third way something-or-another--
I have learned, after many years of trying to get people to make Big Decisions, that things never go the way you think they're going to go. You get all wound up in advance of The Big Meeting trying to anticipate what will happen - - will they choose option A or option B..? Will they approve my project or reject it..? And it's *always* some third option - - option C - - some twist that you never could have anticipated. This is practically an axiom of organisational physics.
With experience, I've learned to spend less time worrying about these big decision moments and more time becoming comfortable with a wide variety of possible outcomes. I think I'm also learning that Big Decision Meetings (smackdowns, in the parlance of professional wrestling) tend to get called when something is out of alignment within an organization. Best to spend time working on alignment, habitually and always, so that when the smackdown comes the decision is sensible no matter where on the spectrum between A and C it falls.
(Oh, and "The Law of the Third Way" sounds like something Yoda would say. Gotta find a better name for this...)
Update: Deb Lavoy pointed out that "The Third Way" is a Bill Clinton -era euphemism for centrism (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Way_(centrism) ), so not only does it sound like Yoda but it's got old political baggage too. So I really need to find something else to call this phenomenon. (Thanks Deb!)