Avoid These Bad Decision Making Habits (Part 2)

In my last post, I shared five of the ten “commandments” followed by teams that are great at solving issues from Chapter 6 of Gino Wickman’s book Traction. Because solving an issue often requires one or more decisions to be made, Gino refers to them in his eBook, Decide! as the 10 Commandments of Good Decision Making. If you or your team are stuck and making little or no progress when solving issues, it’s time to assess whether you’re following these commandments.

If you missed my first post, you can find the first five commandments here.

The Ten Commandments of Good Decision Making (Part 2)

6. Thou Shalt Not Try to Solve Them All

Take issues one at a time, in order of priority. What counts isn't quantity but quality. You're never going to solve all at one time. The faster you understand that, the better your odds are of staying sane. Solve the most important one first, then move on to the next. You'll also find that when you do this, some of the other issues on the list will drop off because they were symptoms of the real is sue that you solved.

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7. Thou Shalt Live with It, End It, or Change It

This is a great lesson from Gino’s dad, who is a very successful entrepreneur and one of his greatest mentors. In solving an issue, he teaches that you have three options: You can live with it, end it, or change it. There are no other choices. With this understanding, you must decide which of the three it's going to be. If you can no longer live with the issue, you have two options: change it or end it. If you don't have the wherewithal to do those, then agree to live with it and stop complaining. Living with it should, however, be the last resort.

8. Thou Shalt Choose Short-Term Pain and Suffering

Both long-term and short-term pain involve suffering. A great rule of thumb that makes this point is called "thirty-six hours of pain." If you're wrestling with a tough decision, whether it involves strategy, customers, or people, and you're procrastinating because of the prospect of it being painful, hopefully this will give you some motivation. Solve your problem now rather than later. The fear of doing it is worse than actually doing it. Choose short-term suffering.

9. Thou Shalt Enter the Danger

The issue you fear the most is the one you most need to discuss and resolve. In tough times, people tend to freeze. When you're afraid, your brain actually works against you. Research now shows us that when we are fearful, we use the back part of our brain, the amygdala. That's our primal brain, developed 10,000 years ago to protect us from predators. It's our fight-or-flight response, which doesn't serve us well when solving business problems.

You must shift to the prefrontal part of the brain, the rational and critical thinking part. That will serve you well in the decision-making situations. The way to do this is to simply list all of the things that are worrying you: all of the problems, concerns, and fears. You can do this as an individual during your Clarity Break or as leadership in one of your meetings. Being open and honest will enable you to confront and solve your critical issues and get moving forward again.

10. Thou Shalt Take a Shot

Taking a shot means that you should propose a solution. Don't wait around for someone else to solve it. If you're wrong, your team will let you know. Sometimes a leadership discussion can drag on because everyone is afraid to voice a solution, even though someone may have it right at the tip of his or her tongue. Often, a team will discuss an issue for far too long. They’ll be stuck and no one will be offering solutions, when suddenly the quietest person in the room might speak up and suggest an answer. After a few moments of silence, someone says, "That's a good idea," and everyone agrees. Don't be afraid to take a shot. Yours might be the good idea.

Next Steps

  • Check the EOS Worldwide Blog for Part 1 of Avoid These Bad Decision Making Habits and learn about Commandments 1 – 5.
  • To learn more about how to make better and faster decisions, download the free eBook, Decide!

Improve your team's decision-making skills. Click here to download our free ebook: Decide.

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