Thursday, December 4, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 339

There are never any wrong decisions. Only wrong ways of making them.

During my time learning and leading I've learned quite a bit.

One of the things I've learned that might see a bit "off" at first blush is the simple fact that there are no wrong decisions.

"Woah.  Back up," I hear you saying.  "I've made plenty of wrong decisions.  What gives, Fred?"

But, if we think deeply about it, a decision can't really be bad (nor can it be good).  It simply can be, and once it's made, it's made.

Instead, it is our thinking process, our way of arriving at the decision, that is either flawed or well-executed.

The best leaders tend to worry less about the decisions they've made (or are making at this exact moment), and much more about the process that led to them.

How can you move yourself from reflecting on the decisions to actually reflecting on the decision-making process?  While I'm still not entirely there, here are three steps that have helped me to begin making the transition:

1.  Reflect during the decision-making process, not just after.  We tend to think of reflection as being something we do after the fact.  But, really, it's something we can do concurrently with actions we take.  So, when decisions allow for a bit of time in-between steps, make sure that you're taking a moment to consider what you're planning to do next, and how that next step has been influenced by what you've done prior.

2.  When possible, make collaborative choices.  Nothing helps us consider decisions before we've made them like deciding with others.  That also means that in every situation that allows, we should be deciding with a varied group, rather than our friends.  This makes sure that the decisions we come to aren't simply because our "rah-rah" crowd gave us the thumbs up.

3.  Once the decision is made, move on.  If you've been fortunate enough to reflect on the process, this becomes easier, as you can look at the results and know what needs to change.  Hanging around a decision tends to be problematic either because we're stirring up continued frustration and anger (if the decision was perceived as a "bad" one), or we're coming off as a "one-trick pony" if the decision was a "good" one.  Better to decide, and then put our learning and leading energy into altering our decision-making method for the next decision.

Like much else in life, it is truly the process that counts, not the end result.  When we focus on improving by altering our way of doing things, we end up being much more happy with the products we create.

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