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Entries for the 'Decision-Making with Poise' Category

If You Resist Making Decisions At All

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

“It’s your fault!”

Whether your own words or words being said about you, they are decision-making killers.

If failure is a blame opportunity instead of a learning opportunity, then chances are you don’t gravitate toward making identifiable decisions. After all, if it doesn’t work out, then it’s your fault and there will be some sort of blaming consequence or punishment involved. So why bother?

If that sounds childish, it is. Leaders and teams that blame are using childhood finger-pointing to divert attention.

The trick is to own one’s decisions and be proud of it. Yes, even if they don’t work out. The difference lies is remaining in on-going decision-making mode and not shifting into conclusion-drawing blaming mode. One is a learning stance. The other is a judgment stance. One is coaching on the playing field. The other is name-calling from the sidelines.

In learning mode, we are able to adjust right away when a decision doesn’t work out as anticipated. We are motivated to say involved and make any necessary improvements. In blaming mode, time slips by while fault is assigned and consequences meted out. Morale drains away, and we become increasingly gun shy about sticking our necks out with future decisions.

If you have trouble making decisions at all, try adopting an Own-It, Learn-From-It and Adjust-Quickly approach to decision-making. It will change your life. And you’ll make better decisions along the way!

(Find the entire podcast/discussion series Decision-Making with Poise here.)

If You Sit on the Fence When Making Decisions

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Black and white. Right or wrong.

Some of us have trouble making a decision until we are absolutely certain we’ve made the correct decision. We gather mounds of data, talk to everyone and their sister, and print out reports sorted on every variable imaginable. We hold off deciding until we achieve certainty. We dread making the “wrong” decision.

Unfortunately the certainty we hope for does not exist. Time waits for no one. We do not have the luxury of sitting on the fence until we are certain our decision is the “right” one

The goal here is to make the most informed decision possible. To be grounded in reality only to the extent that you have “enough” information to make your decision. Key word being “enough.” And then taking action.

If we get out of the all-or-nothing mentality, then we are freed up to make a decision, watch how it plays out, and then adjust as necessary. We are in motion and learning on the way. Our confidence comes from our on-going attentiveness instead of our all-at-once accuracy.

(Find the entire podcast/discussion series Decision-Making with Poise here.)

If You Shoot From the Hip When Making Decisions

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Ready… Fire!… Aim.

Does that describe your decision-making style? Well let me start by saying congratulations on being willing to make a decision! So many leaders avoid decisions, that I find it refreshing to come across those who don’t.

Unfortunately, the shoot-from-the-hip style has a serious weakness. It’s not grounded in reality. It may or may not be connected with the facts on the ground, understand the implications to other processes or people, or take into account facts and dynamics only known by others.

How about a simple pause? You don’t need to change your decision-making style altogether. But you probably could make a better decision and lead a healthier process if you had more information and involved more people.

So, pause.

Talk to a few people. Examine a couple of financial projections. Weigh the implications.

Then go with your gut, as you normally would. An informed intuition is better than a blind one.

And, yes, thank you for being willing to make a decision!

(Find the entire podcast/discussion series Decision-Making with Poise here.)

If You Waffle When Making Decisions

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Politics comes part and parcel with people at work. The dynamic of negotiating diverse opinions, agendas and priorities need not be negative.

Some of us find ourselves wanting to make everyone happy, though. As soon as we see the implications of our decision from a different perspective, we change our decision.

Willingness to change a decision can be a positive attribute if a better understanding of the facts on the ground will have a significant impact on our ability to achieve our stated goal.

But changing your mind can be disastrous if your rationale is rooted in self-protection, office politics, or people-pleasing. In such a situation, your focus has shifted to the response you are trying to elicit from others. Your focus needs to be steadfastly locked on the desired outcome of the decision.

Your team is proceeding down a certain path, and when they come to work the next day to discover that the path has been changed on them, frustration, resentment and resistance are sure to follow.

It doesn’t have to be this way. How has your waffling on decisions affected those around you?

(Find the entire series Decision-Making with Poise here.)

Listen In -> Decision-Making #5: Practical Challenges We Face

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

We conclude our series on decision-making with a look at the practical challenges that face us in the complex world where we work.

In your decisions, do you:

  • Waffle back and forth?
  • Sit on the fence?
  • Shoot from the hip?
  • Search for the perfect decision?

Listen in as we discuss each of these “decision makers,” and offer suggestions for more effective approaches.

powered by ODEO

Right or Wrong Won’t Help Here

Monday, April 14th, 2008

As long as you’re trying to make the “right” decision and avoid the “wrong” decision, you don’t stand a very good chance of making any decision at all.

The problem with the right versus wrong mentality is that life and work don’t sort themselves into such neat, black and white categories. For the moralist, I realize this creates quite the quandary.

In this week’s podcast conversation, we discuss the secure and confident poise a decision-maker should enjoy. Key to this peace in the midst of ambiguity, complex issues and difficult people is that we have eliminated the harsh, blame-oriented perspective that seeks to label us.

That there is no criteria for naming a decision “right” or “wrong” except in retrospect. Those that worked out well would be “right.” Hardly a basis for encouraging risk, leadership or cooperation.

Listen in to the recording and join the conversation with your thoughts and experiences.

(Find the entire series Decision-Making with Poise here.)

Listen In -> Decision-Making #4: Becoming More Poised

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

How much ego gets wrapped into your decisions?

Can you imagine how freeing it would be not to have to dedicate so much energy to self-protection? Do you inadvertently avoid making a decision in order to avoid complaints, blame or other consequences of being the one to make the final call?

In this week’s podcast conversation, we talk about developing a secure poise in decision-making. Join us as we think about being willing to make difficult calls with limited information.

Listen in.

powered by ODEO

Listen In -> Decision-Making #3: Becoming More Timely

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

A timely decision in not necessarily a quick decision.

In this week’s podcast interview, Claudia and I highlight the unforgiving reality that time imposes on decision-making.

Whether we like it or not, with us or without, time marches on. We do not have the luxury of evaluating data and issues until we are certain that we’re making the “right” decision.

We offer three categories of decision-making urgency: crisis issues, functional issues, and structural issues. I think you’ll find them helpful for discerning how quickly you need to make your call and move forward.

Listen in.

powered by ODEO

Your Decision Isn’t About You

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

It might be your decision to make, but your decision isn’t about you.

A sure-fire way to make a poor decision is to make yourself, your reputation, your authority, your work standards, or your self-perception one of the issues.

In this week’s podcast interview on being more intentional in decision-making, we share some ideas for shifting the focus of your criteria off of yourself and onto the outcome you want coming out of this decision.

In any healthy workplace culture, we are accountable for achieving outcomes. Some of us, though, find that accountability a cause for concern. Subtly our attention shifts from achieving results to how we are being viewed by our superiors. Deadly.

Our best chance for making decisions that achieve is to keep our own egos out of the equation. That may be the most difficult decision we ever have to make!

Perception or Reality?

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Not all our decisions are based on facts. Not all our facts are accurate interpretations of reality.

Our “take” on any given decision depends on the accuracy and completeness of our understanding of the issues involved. In other words, whether or not our perceptions are grounded in reality.

Could your frustration with a certain employee’s performance really be a frustration with your own inability to provide clear instructions? Could the recent drop in sales have more to do with a drop in product quality than the missed goals of the sales team?

Crucial is whether you have a safe way to get as many issues as possible out on the table. Are you involving others in the issue-unearthing process or are you operating in isolation? Do you have access to a variety of perspectives and sources of information?

Listen to this week’s podcast conversation and tell us how you stay grounded in reality when making decisions.