10 Heart-Based Questions that Produce the Very Best Decisions
The future is shaped by today’s decisions.
Failure to make decisions ends leadership.
Forward-facing decisions always impact behaviors. If behaviors don’t change, everything stays the same.
Decision making tools are useful and necessary, but fall short.
12 head-based decision making tools:
- List pros and cons.
- Consider cost/benefit ratios.
- Explore risk/reward.
- Draw a decision tree.
- Seek counsel.
- Gather information.
- Generate options. Four options are optimal for most decisions.
- Sleep on it.
- Set a deadline.
- Invite constructive dissent.
- Study forces for and against. Force Field Analysis.
- Take a vote.
The above list only scratches the surface of strategies and techniques for decision making. The problem with decision making models is heart and character are assumed, but not explored.
10 heart-based questions:
Use applicable decision making models. But before pulling the trigger on decisions, ask 10 character/heart based questions.
- What does courage/confidence tell you to do?
- What does humility tell you to do?
- What does integrity/honesty/openness tell you to do?
- What does flexibility/agility tell you to do?
- What does perseverance tell you to do?
- What does compassion/kindness tell you to do?
- What does decisiveness tell you to do?
- What does respect for others tell you to do?
- What does passion tell you to do?
- What does seeking the best interests of others tell you to do?
If you have four options on the table, rank each option on a scale of 1 to 4. For example, which option best expresses courage? Which option is least courageous?
It’s likely that your exploration will need to be weighed. Consider which questions matter most in your current context.
Leaders find new options, clarity, and energy by asking heart-based questions. First, generate options the traditional way. Then consider character and heart.
What questions would you add to a character/heart based approach to decision making?
Which of the 10 questions do you find most impactful? Why?
Thanks for the heart and head questions. I always like to do a final check on a tough decision by asking the question, “when people inside and outside the organization hear of the decision will there be a sense of pride or embarrassment?” Note this is not so much about agreement as it is about the process that lead to the decision.
Thanks for a post that makes me dig deeper to think about application and reminds me that there is an art and science (heart and head) to leadership.
Great decision making tools dan. I think many leaders have either a really strong head based or heart based decision and there needs to be a good balance of them in certain occasions. This is definitely great reference overall
A very interesting, considered and game changing post Dan. It sets a personal challenge to the ego.
If we used the 2nd model for as little as 10minutes each day,I think we’d have changed the world by Friday.
Great list. One tends to forget that you should use both head based decisions and heart based ones. I think the heart based ones get forgotten but are necessarily in order to keep a balance in any decision. These tools can be not only used in work settings but in everyday life ones.
This is a great list of questions. I really like the one about integrity and honesty. That makes the most difference. If you don’t feel right about something, it probably isn’t. Many companies learned this the hard way with chatterbots. Now, they are becoming transparent.
I very much appreciate your heart based questions.
With the predominance of violence in our world, I am mindful of phrased that are negatively charged ( ‘before pulling the trigger’ is one example). I’m taking the courageous step of speaking up when such language is used. Please open your awareness to violence that we can control–our words and images. Thank you.
Balancing decision making of any kind with our heads and our hearts is vital to our personal growth. (In my experience) head decisions are oftentimes quicker to make, but it’s the heart responses that tend to linger, whether they are of the positive or less than positive bent .
Thank you for calling out the important role that ethical questions (your heart based questions) play in decision making. Without asking ourselves questions like these, we may be tempted to just do whatever is in our own best interests. I particularly like your heart-based question #10 ‘What does seeking the best interests of others tell you do?”