Friday, May 28, 2010

Yes or No... How to Make a Decision

The book of the week was Yes or No by Spencer Johnson. Johnson is the same author of Who Moved My Cheese and The One Minute Manager. He uses a fictitious stories to illustrate a main idea. This particular story dealt with making decisions. Learning how to make decisions is an incredibly important skill to master. It sounds silly to think of deciding as a skill, but some people have it and some people just don't.

The more comfortable you feel making a decision, the more valuable you are to any organization. Most people in the world hate making a decision. Even in a social setting, you'll see a group of people trying to decide where they want to eat... and an hour later they finally made their pick. All the while, every person in that group is hungry and anxious. I think most people have been there and it is not pleasant at all. You may even notice those that are comfortable with making decisions correlate with high paying executive positions. Any organization can see value in someone that doesn't take extraordinary amounts of time to make a decision.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time giving detail about the fictitious part of the book. Unlike Johnson's other books, the story in this one wasn't very good. The decision making map, however, is pretty good. Before I go any further though... I have made it clear that it is valuable to have the ability to make decisions. The next step is to learn how to make good decisions. That is what really separates the pack. The decision making map in the book is directed toward helping you make good decisions. So here it is:

I avoid indecision and half-decisions based on half-truths

I use both halves of a reliable system to consistently make better decisions:

a cool head and a warm heart

by asking myself a practical question 
by asking myself a private question

Then, after I listen to myself and others, I make a better decision and act on it

To use my head, I ask a practical question:

Am I meeting the Real Need, Informing Myself of Options, and Thinking It Through?

YES or NO?

Is it a mere want or a real need? What information do I need?
Have I created options?
If I did 'x' then what would happen. Then what?

To consult my heart, I ask a private question:

Does My Decision Show I Am Honest with Myself, Trust My Intuition, and Deserve Better?

YES or NO?

Am I telling myself the truth? Does this feel right? What would I decide if I was not afraid? What would I do if I deserved better?

If 'Yes' I Proceed ............ If 'No' I Rethink

What Is My Better Decision?

With time and practice the map becomes second nature and you just end up making the right decision without much thought. This is ideal. But to get there you have to practice. Use the decision map here and correlate yourself with all those other high powered executives out there.

The book was pretty good. It doesn't take much time to read, so if you don't like it you didn't waste much of your time. As always, If you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

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