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Satisficing is the combination of two words satisfy and sacrifice. The term is used by social scientists to describe how some people and organizations go about solving problems. Satisficing occurs when you face a problem and you opt for the first solution that satisfies your minimal requirements. Sort of like dating someone because they're available. Because the first acceptable solution has been chosen, all superior solutions have been sacrificed. People who engage in satisficing behavior consistently produce sub-optimal outcomes.

So why do people satisfice? There are a number of reasons for satisficing. First of all, time pressures may lead to satisficing. Henry Kissinger once remarked "You'd better think about what you want before you get into government because once you're in government you'll have no time at all." In government or business, particularly at the top levels, policy making may appear a series of sequential, even simultaneous, crises. Even in the best of times, the problems seem endless. Satisficing one problem frees you to work on the next. Second, satisficing may result from a failure of imagination or a closed mind. Both significantly limit the range of possible solutions. Confidence may play a factor as better solutions seem unrealistic. Finally, simple laziness may lead someone to sacrifice, as they get to stop working once any solution is found.

Satisficing is the living example of the phrase "Good is the enemy of the best."

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