What key decisions have you recently made? Are you a clear and effective decider? We each face these inescapable questions. You make personal decisions; you make relationship decisions, and you make work-related decisions. Have you discussed the art of decision making with your son or daughter and with the people you mentor? Decision making should be taught in the fourth and fifth grades as a fundamental skill. But unless you’ve had an enlightened mentor, it’s unlikely you engaged in this conversation at age 10 or even 15. Can you imagine how different your life would have been had you mastered the art of decision making at the age of 12?
Please print out and keep this KEY to improve decision making and create a conversation with your family and with your team about decision-making blind spots. Encourage them to put into practice these insights. Coach and help them develop the mastery of decision making.
Listen to our podcast: The Decision Blind Spots. Please forward this KEY to friends, family and associates. Sincerely,
The Decision-Making Blind Spots
Here are the first five blind spots and mistakes people make when approaching decisions. We will share with you the next five blind spots in a future key. Please introduce these critical concepts to a young person this week. The exercise will help you internalize these for yourself and begin to create a legacy of wiser decisions.
1. The Bias Blindness
The first blind spot is failing to recognize your biases and personal preferences, and how they influence your evaluation. We all have biases and preferences. The point is to become aware and get to know your biases. If you don’t, they control you and prevent you from seeing the full picture and from making optimal decisions.
2. The Reaction Blindness
“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him,” said Aldous Huxley. What makes us humans is awareness and our ability to discern and separate the response from the stimuli. All forms of life have the capacity to react to stimuli. But reacting is not choosing. We have the capacity to consider options and choose how to respond.
3. The “Why” Blindness
Being unclear about your overarching purpose – your “Why” – can leave you rudderless and without a compass. Purpose provides criteria and a framework to determine objectives and options. You don’t see Steve Jobs and Apple planting apple trees or Japanese gardens. Apple’s purpose is not to plant cool gardens; they are in business to delight and transform people’s lives with cool and innovative technology. Purpose outlines direction and defines criteria against which all decisions can be measured. People and organizations we admire lead with purpose; their “Why” guides their decisions and is evident in all that they do.
4. The Objectives blindness
A decision is choosing between alternatives. If you are not clear about the “What” (objective) it’s difficult to choose. By clarifying what success looks like (desired outcome) you form a set of measures to more selectively choose among the options. Years ago when we planned a family trip from Seattle to Boulder, our first choice was to drive and not to fly because we wanted to visit Yellowstone on the way. Our objective defined the route. The next choice was to drive through Montana because our second objective was to visit hot springs on the way. We then chose to stay an additional few days in Yellowstone and settled to seeing the Tetons from the road. The objective was to experience more of what we found in Yellowstone over the expediency of rushing to the next thing. Clarifying objectives and desires in our family discussions helped us make optimal decisions together.
5. The Musts/Wants Blindness
Confusing “wants” for “musts.” Purpose and objectives ought to provide clarity and distinction of musts from wants. Musts are deal breakers. Wants are nice to have. Failing to clarify a few definitive musts and separating the wants by order of importance makes any decision a lot more difficult. Specifically, large purchasing decisions like buying a home ought to be guided by defining first the musts and then ordering the wants by weight of importance. Clarifying musts and prioritizing wants is a great process and skill to practice. Write down your musts and wants to clarify, reason and prioritize them.
Now it’s your turn. Turn the Key. Mentor and coach your family and your team in the art of decision making. Help them put to practice these insights and gain the confidence and self-esteem found in decision-making mastery. Create a future that will make you and your people proud.
© Aviv Shahar