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Sorting Out Your Decisions Before You Make Them

by Rick Baker
On Apr 24, 2017

On the Nature of Decisions

Every one of us makes numerous decisions every day.

Many of our decisions are small, like - “What shirt should I wear today?” Some of our decisions are larger with more serious consequences, like – “How should I go about firing this employee?”

Some decisions trigger strong and challenging emotional responses, like – “Should I tell this person my true feelings?”

Other decisions involve trade-offs between goals, like – “Should I stick to my diet or eat that chocolate-dipped ice-cream cone?” 1 [Often these decisions pit short-term rewards against long-term rewards.]

Some decisions involve massive risks involving money, reputation, relationships, etc.

Decisions involve the study of past and present data and the forecasting of future outcomes.

This is just a sampling of the ways you can sort decisions before you make them. If you take the time, and it will be a surprisingly large amount of time, to analyze the decisions you make in a 24-hour day then you will discover the wide variety of decisions you make. You will be able to consider the ‘nature’ of your decisions and you will be able to categorize your decisions by their ‘nature’ and confirm the frequency of each major type of decision.

But – odds are you will never do that 24-hour exercise.

Perhaps, you will buy into sorting your decisions into two types/natures: easy decisions & tough decisions? This simple sorting will be a very good first step toward understanding then planning the types of decisions you face regularly.

On the Method of Decisions

There are also numerous ways to make decisions.

Decisions can be knee-jerks and blinks, relying on unconscious responses, emotional waves and intuition.

Decisions can be crafted by masters and orchestrated by maestros. Capturing this in a shorter description - when we make decisions we can “Plan the Work and Work the Plan” [paraphrasing Napoleon Hill].

This article is about planned decisions, which can be sorted into 3 'methods' 2:

Consultative and consensus decisions involve trade-offs, as examples:

As psychologists and judges will confirm:

  • the ‘nature’ of the decision is important,
  • the decision outcome is important, and
  • the procedure or ‘method’ used to create the decision is important...especially if you want people to "buy-in".

Sorting Decisions by ‘Nature’ and ‘Method’

Simple tools exist to help people think through and sort out their decisions - examples include Pareto's Principle [80/20 Rule], Covey's Time Management Matrix and Berne's Transactional AnalysisMuch time and effort can be saved by using these simple 1-page tools to sort out the best ways to make decisions. Also, these tools can be used to reduce decision-making conflicts and increase decision buy-in. It is a good idea to have a number of these tools in your decision-making toolkit. You can use them to set your personal decision-making rules and you can use them to communicate with others on your decision-making teams.

Here’s a starter tool you and your decision-makers can use to create a picture of the way you sort decisions by 'nature' and 'method' -

 

Footnotes

  1. As a general rule: when decisions align with goals they promote good habits; when decisions do not align with goals they promote bad habits.
  2. Brian Tracy recommended these categories. 

Curiosity, Moderation & Variety are the archenemies of Bad Habits.

by Rick Baker
On Apr 22, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Q: Why are certain habits called Bad Habits

A: Because they reduce the ability to achieve our Goals?

Q: How might we change our Bad Habits for the better?

A: Consciously, practice Curiosity, think and act with Moderation, & expand your exposure to Variety.

Helping People who are Indecisive

by Rick Baker
On Apr 11, 2017

It seems some people choose to be indecisive. However, it would be dangerous to jump to the conclusion that decision-avoidance is a ‘happily made’ choice. More likely, decision-avoidance is an involuntary reaction or a conscious effort aimed at removing the possibility of negative consequences, which often follow decisions. For example, decisions open the door for second-guessing and criticism.

Some people are indecisive simply because it has become one of their bad habits. For these people - what started out as conscious decision-avoidance, over time, became a habit…i.e., a bad habit [for those who believe decisions are of value].

Some people are indecisive and appear to be oblivious to their predicament…it seems they know no better way. While their indecision may not register in their consciousness, ‘deep down’ their brains/minds are aware of the avoidance and, probably, they are experiencing some level of anxiety as a result of the avoidance.

The roots of this bad habit – indecision - are usually lack of drive or lack of self-confidence. However, in some cases indecision is caused by an anxiety disorder…perhaps, a very-troubling Anxiety Disorder.  

While some may argue one cause is “laziness”, that word may be a little too strong.

If the person is struggling with an Anxiety Disorder then ‘laziness’ is an inappropriate description of the situation. In fact, when Anxiety Disorders are present, thinking or talking about laziness can be quite harmful. As an alternative to thinking and talking about laziness, we can think and talk about strategies designed to help people who struggle with Anxiety Disorders.

We can go one step farther.

We can also use these strategies to help any person who is indecisive…that is, we can help them if we are skilled at delivering the help and they are ready, willing, and able to receive it.

***

Some people choose to be indecisive. For example, I know a fellow who chooses to wait 2 days before responding to troubling or complicated email. That has two potentially positive implications: (1) management of task-timing [i.e., to maintain personal organization] and (2) control of emotions, to ensure productive communications. 

 

Tags:

Delegation & Decisions | Habits: Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things

Willpower consumes energy. Energy is scarce. Use willpower wisely.

by Rick Baker
On Apr 6, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Willpower must be one of the human body's most energy-intensive processes. 

We must exercise willpower or it becomes weak.

We must rest willpower so it re-energizes. 

Exercising it wisely and resting it: these are the keys to building willpower and growing success.

 

Tags:

Beyond Business | Habits: Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things | Thought Tweets

Discontent, regardless of how it is packaged, just may be the best vehicle for positive change.

by Rick Baker
On Apr 1, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Some people live to change. For example, some people embrace life-long learning. Others find a lifetime of change by embracing entrepreneurship

That does not mean they make personal changes for the better. Regardless of the life-long learning or the entrepreneurship or all the other changes, bad habits persist.

Sometimes, probably more often than not, even the worst of bad habits remain until true discontent sets in.  


Building Self-confidence

by Rick Baker
On Mar 28, 2017

A strong desire to achieve promotes self-confidence.

Positive self-image and high self-esteem promote self-confidence. 

Sense of purpose and goals promote self-confidence. 

A commitment to take action promotes self-confidence. 

Affirmations promote self-confidence. 

Strong personal values for fair play promote self-confidence. 

Positive thinking, especially about other people, promote self-confidence.

Willingness to serve others promotes self-confidence.   

Truthfulness promotes self-confidence.

A keen sense of justice promotes self-confidence. 

'Planning your work and working your plan' - that also promotes self-confidence. 

These are some of the important messages Napoleon Hill embedded in his Self-confidence Formula. Hill understood self-confidence is a fragile thing...easily disrupted...time-consuming to build...energy-consuming to hold fast. 

Self-confidence is a habit. It is a good habit. 

Good habits don't just happen. Good habits require planning. Good habits require ongoing work. 

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