(More thoughts on Gino Wickman’s 10 Commandments of Good Decision-Making from his e-book “Decide!”)
MOVE FROM CONCLUSION TO DECISION
A mentor of mine once said, “Sometimes issues solve themselves.” Now, I love and respect this guy to this day. And he wasn’t wrong, per se. But issues tended to linger longer than anyone wanted them. Sure, things may work out, but it’s our volition, our act of deciding, that sets a solution into motion, giving us more control over when and how solutions bear fruit.
When addressing issues, sometimes we reach conclusions through purposeful interactions and thought. Other times we get there unconsciously, and suddenly, <poof>, there we are, on the top edge of the cliff, ready to move from our conclusion to a decision that will initiate action and change. And it feels like we’re about to attempt to cross the Grand Canyon.
No you don’t. There’s a good chance you’re knees are a-knockin’ and you rationalize why you should wait. You lose the opportunity to control the situation.
THE SAFE BET: ASSUME YOU’RE BEING A WEENIE
When we bother to evaluate our motivations behind our own slow or non-decision-making, we are usually irrationally kind to ourselves and we tell ourselves great stories.
- If I restructure, I’ll be dealing with 18 months of drama.”
- “Aunt Mildred has been here for 40 years and is going to retire in another 2. I’ll wait out of respect for her.”
Be honest with yourself. You’re annoyed, nervous, or afraid of the reactions to and consequences of your decisions. Tough luck, champ. Leading means deciding, and that’s what you signed up for. When you’re slow to pull the trigger, stop being so kind to yourself. Just assume you’re being a weenie. Say it: “I’m being a weenie. I need to stop right now.”
I can’t think of a single ugly decision I ever made that didn’t work out in the end.
- I moved my family (wife, 2 toddlers, and a bun in the oven) from NJ to NC on my own dime, with no job lined up. There were dark days, but it worked out for the long-term greater good of our family, our lives, and my career.
- I demoted an executive for whom I had interned decades years earlier between my junior and senior years. It was hard and super awkward. In the end, he was happier. And it was for the long-term greater good of that department.
- I made the call to merge two large subsidiary companies and appoint a new president. Hardly a popular decision at the time, but it was for the long-term greater good of the entire enterprise.
I would like to believe that years of accrued wisdom led to those positive outcomes, but I know better because I’ve met myself! Sure, I had a plan, but all I really did was set rational and reasonable paths into motion and then managed the consequences of those actions.
Once you set something into motion, even if it’s not a perfect solution, just do what you do: adjust as needed, talk to your people, and make things better.
And stop being so kind to yourself. Stop being a weenie. Set new things into motion. Decide!