How to Push Past Fairy Tale Decisions

Remember the last time you sat around a table making a big decision? Did you walk away breathing a sigh of relief. Relief indicates you were in the land of fairy dust and unicorns.

Decisions are dangerous because they give the illusion of action where there is none.

The bigger the decision the grander the potential illusion.

6 Components of a decision

  1. Decisions provide clarity. The feeling of vitality surrounding a decision is the result of clarity. Good decisions point the way and energize participants.
  2. Decisions define achievement.
  3. Decisions create responsibility. Decisions without champions are fantasies without legs. If you’re breathing a sigh of relief after making a decision, you’ve missed the point.
  4. Decisions show both the goal and the next few steps. Midrange and end step become clear later. Provide room to adapt as you go.
  5. Decisions have deadlines. Decisions without deadlines are comfort for sluggards.
  6. Decisions are communicated and reported. If no one needs to know, you just wasted your time.

5 Ways to lighten up:

  1. Complex situations have more than one solution. Answers aren’t moral imperatives. Make the best decision with the information available.
  2. Choose paths that best align with your strengths. Good decisions inspire confidence not insecurity.
  3. Trust your ability to adapt. Turbulent situations require agility.
  4. The need to be perfectly right at the beginning guarantees you’ll be wrong at the end.
  5. Own it, learn, and move on when you’re wrong.

How to go with your gut:

I was surprised that hard hitting Jack Welch espouses going with your gut. He said whenever he went against his gut, he ended up wrong. Go with your gut when:

  1. You have experience.
  2. You’ve gathered information.
  3. It warns you.
  4. There are several options and one feels right.

New Years is decision making time. How can leaders make good decisions that result in action?


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