Let’s take a lesson from aviators: learn to focus on what will save you and further your mission. Foggles resemble over-sized eyeglasses; they are “frosted” except for narrow, clear areas at the bottom of the lenses, designed to restrict the view to a small area. Worn by students learning to fly aircraft by instruments only, they force the wearer to rely on the only thing visible—the instrument panel! It’s the discipline of relying on information the pilot receives from objective instruments of measurement—not feelings, physical sensation, or optical illusion. Pilots with Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) training can fly through clouds, inclement weather, and darkness. This skill can save lives. Fatal accidents have occurred when non-IFR pilots have become disoriented, relying on their physical feelings of orientation—thinking they were ascending—when in reality they were descending to a tragic crash. Foggles are a tool used to develop the discipline of acting in productive response to reality, especially when it seems counterintuitive—to make course corrections that keep you on course and safe. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were Foggles for developing this kind of discipline in leadership focus—to keep your company or organization on the right trajectory for success? There are…
Leaders must persevere to see desired results. Are you fatigued or discouraged while leading people to accomplish a project? Exhausted while leading yourself to achieve something significant? Follow the action plan below to boost your leadership perseverance in making difficult decisions, seeing plans and decisions through to their culminations, and learning/adjusting for improved performance.
Leadership for the long haul includes making difficult decisions, seeing plans and decisions through to their culminations, and learning/adjusting for improved performance. Fatigued or discouraged while leading people to accomplish a goal? Tired out while leading yourself to achieve something significant? Sometimes leaders must persevere through difficulties for a long period to see desired results. Take heart; this perseverance most often reaps positive results! As the Apostle Paul said, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
Decision Making Reconsidered
Good leaders evaluate their decision making process frequently to make sure they’re on the right track. Some decisions are practically instinctual, while others are intentional. Author Suzanne Eller says, “Some of our everyday choices are random, others weighty, but many of our decisions are choice points…they lead us in one direction or another.” She points out that the direction we take can determine the eventual outcome. In other words, our reactions to people and circumstances can mean the difference between success and failure. Consider the following components of every decision.
There are two ways to approach decision-making. These two ways apply whether the decisions center on our personal well-being, the well-being of our family, or the well-being of our business. It boils down to this: we approach decisions either with fear or hope. Beginning with fear sets up a cycle of attitudes and actions that hinder an individual or a group from making great decisions. On the other hand, beginning the decision-making progress with specific hopes sets in motion attitudes and actions that lead individuals and groups to make decisions that produce extraordinary results. Unfortunately, most individuals and organizations start their decision making process from the mindset of fear. In fact, this is such a normal way of approaching decisions, that we often don’t realize that our individual and corporate attitudes and actions are expressions of our fear. Do you want to know how to move from fear to hope in decision-making? Read on!
Wow! The summer is flying past. This week we begin the third of our Three Great Books summer reading series. The book is How Great Decisions Get Made: 10 Easy Steps for Reaching Agreement on Even the Toughest Issues by Don Maruska. This book was introduced to me when I was a part of a senior management team that used this approach in a strategic planning process. I was impressed with how this methodology helped the team make critical decisions within the space of a two-day planning retreat. Since that time, WellSpirit has incorporated this approach to decision making as one of the ways we assist our clients in making and implementing critical decisions and . . . we use it in our own business decisions as well. I was impressed with how this methodology helped our team make critical decisions within the space of a two-day planning retreat. Since that time, WellSpirit has incorporated this approach to decision making as one of the ways we assist our clients in making and implementing critical decisions and . . . we use it in our own business decisions as well.
Making Great Decisions Involves Overcoming Obstacles
Why does the organizational decision-making process often leave participants dissatisfied, disillusioned, and sometimes outright angry? Maruska observes that one doesn’t have to look far to find obstacles to making great decisions:
- Battling egos
- Conflicting personality or leadership styles
- Lack of commitment and follow-through
- Office politics
- Knee-jerk actions
- Seemingly irreconcilable differences
- An atmosphere of defeatism
- A legacy of distrust
Nevertheless, it is possible to overcome all of these obstacles with Maruska’s decision making process.
Did you know that the average person makes up to 5,000 decisions a day? Some of these decisions are practically instinctual, while others are intentionally scrutinized. Author Suzanne Eller says, “Some of our everyday choices are random, others weighty, but many of our decisions are choice points…they lead us in one direction or another.” She points out that the direction we take can determine the eventual outcome. In other words, our reactions to people and circumstances – choice points – can mean the difference between success and failure. Consider the following components of every choice point.
Choice Points Reflect Personal Values
What are the non-negotiable principles in your life? You live by these standards. Your own values can narrow the choices in decision-making. For example, if one of your personal values were honesty, then a decision to avoid the truth in a situation would be out of the question. Roy Disney went so far as to say, “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
Choice Points Involve Relationships
Involve the right people. If this is a work environment, who might you collaborate with to address the issue appropriately? Asking for input from others, becoming well informed of pertinent facts, and considering different points of view are all ways of expanding your capacity to arrive at a sound decision on any matter. Remember, too, that your choices affect others. Actions and attitudes in decision-making can impact the direction of people who, in turn, may influence final results.
Choice Points Offer New Scenarios
Think a decision through to its outcome and implications. Name the steps in a decision and describe the consequences of each step. Form “If-Then” statements: “If I do this, then that will happen.” The emerging details of the “If-Then” statements clarify the results of the decision. Thinking about what a decision ultimately means for you and others will help you make the best decision. A good source for tools to aid in decision scenarios is www.mindtools.com.
Author John Maxwell encourages, “Successful leaders have the courage to take action while others hesitate.” Reflect on your values, your relationships, and the consequences of your decisions. Meet all of your choice points with confidence!
About the Author:
How many decisions do you make each day? According to studies of the human brain, the average adult makes over 30,000 decisions or choices daily! The choices range from almost automatic responses to conscious decisions over which one may labor. About 200 daily decisions are food related. University researcher Kathleen Vohs, PhD reports, “…simply the act of choosing can cause mental fatigue.” Studies of people who made many decisions early in the day show that the brain taxed with abundant decision-making will not perform as well in decision-making or other areas, like simple math, by the afternoon. Mental acuity will decrease until rejuvenation occurs. Nevertheless, it is unrealistic to think one can “call it a day” at noon! Even if mental ability is decreased, it’s still one’s responsibility to function for extended hours almost every day. How then can one make good choices leading to good outcomes—consistently? Willpower!
Decision-making is inevitable. Every day, everyone must make decisions. Some people make quick decisions; others slowly arrive at decisions. Decisions can involve trivial matters or life-and-death situations. Our decisions affect ourselves and affect others. Will Rogers said, “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.” How can you gain the skills necessary to make the best decisions? Here are three keys for making good decisions.
Good Decisions Express Personal Values
First, know your personal values; these values will guide you in all decisions. What are the non-negotiable principles in your life? These principles narrow the acceptable choices in decision-making. Roy Disney asserted, “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” If you deeply value honesty, deciding to avoid the truth causes personal anxiety.