I was listening to an old CD while driving to deliver a workshop, one of my favorites: Seth Godin’s Survival is Not Enough (Amazon.com link).
This time listening, what Godin said about decision-making stuck with me: I may have missed transcribing a word or three or four … but this is the gist of it:
“The speed at which we make decisions is now the factor that limits the speed of business. It’s our decisions that are on the critical path for getting things done.
…everything in the company waits – not for a shipment or a process, but for a decision.”
So true. I see it in each workplace I visit, every time. Every single visit, with no company immune. Decisions are waiting to be made at ALL levels of a company, not just in the big-wigs office, and work stalls. People wait, trying to busy themselves with other things they know are less important. Frustration mounts, for they are people who would greatly prefer to do good work.
Think about this where you work:
Who is waiting for YOU to make a decision, and what are you waiting for?
Are you an Over Thinker?
A common reason, is that we managers tend to over-think everything.
“Over-thinking ruins you. Ruins the situation, twists things around, makes you worry and just makes everything much worse than it actually is.” ~ Sarah, SpirituallyThinking
Lists of suggestions can be found to cure over-thinkers, with entries like, “Stop waiting for perfection,” “Ask yourself the right type of questions,” and “Create a plan and totally commit to it,” which all sound good – at first… do you notice the common flaw within them? Whatever the issue, these suggestions add to your own mental gymnastics, burdening you with even more over-thinking as you go it alone.
Here is what I have found works best:
Get a sounding board. Have a conversation about the decision you feel best be made, talking it over with someone you trust will be open and honest with you.
In addition, have that conversation as soon as your gut instincts tell you to. Fact of the matter is, that we all make decisions pretty quickly at first pass, and managing well as a professional discipline adds the solid weight of past experiences to those decisions. We are much better at decision-making than we think we are: We simply get tripped up in getting our decisions out – in putting words to decisions, speaking them, and sharing them to activate them.
To opt for conversation with a sounding board first, and then follow up with your directional sharing of the decision as an immediate second, greatly speeds things up, especially when your conversation has polished that decision with the early feedback you deem trustworthy – your best decision was choosing someone as your sounding board!
Our values drive our thoughts first, and our behavior second.
Someone who lives, works, manages, and leads with Aloha has it even better. By Managing with Aloha definition, they live, work, manage and lead by merit of their values, coupled with their core beliefs as Alaka‘i Managers.
In other words, the ethos of our chosen values become our gut instincts by default. At the heart of values-based management, are value-aligned decisions and choices. They have become what you trust in, when you trust your instincts.
More often than not, the people you choose as your sounding boards help just a little in shaping your decisions: Where they help most, is in prompting your speed with speaking them out loud and sharing them – they help warm up your voice so your decision can be spoken with confidence.
Choose your sounding board. Start a conversation RIGHT NOW.
Again: Who is waiting for YOU to make a decision, and what are you waiting for?
Related Reading: Nothing’s Final in the Managed with Aloha Workplace.