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Decisions underpin everything we do. On a day-to-day basis they allow us to shape how we spend our time and on a broader scale they are the driving force behind all aspects of change. Being able to make confident, considered decisions is an essential skill in life and Brilliant Decision Making shows you how.
Developed over many years of building successful businesses, Robbie Steinhouse shares with you his powerful four-stage decision-making process. Whatever your situation, whatever decision you need to make, Brilliant Decision Making gives you a clear and effective approach to ensure every decision you make is the right one for you.
• Understand the essential stages in making any decision
• Feel confident using a decision-making process
• Know when it’s good to be decisive and better to take your time
Decide to buy this book!
The context: the apparent growth of powerlessness. Big organizations – and it turns out they’re not even very competent (financial crisis). How do you seize back power? Actions. But behind every useful action is a decision: change actually starts with a decision.
Three ways of ‘how not to do it.’ Tortoises are stuck in a rut and can’t decide. Hares are ‘overdecisive’, making decisions too hastily and whizzing around in random directions as a result. Flippers oscillate between the two, interspersing periods of inactivity with periods of frenetic and ill-considered change.
All of us need simple-to-follow steps of how to make clear, well thought-through and lasting decisions that really move us forward in the direction that we want to go. That’s what this book is about.
This book presents a simple three-stage process.
1. Start with a quick Yes or No.
2. Plan it out. Moving from ‘Want to decide’ through ‘Open to decide’ to ‘deciding’.
3. Put it into Action – implementing the decision
Section 4 is a ‘trouble-shooting guide’ – what happens if you suddenly go off the idea? Are the new obstacles ‘deal-breakers’ or things you can and should sort out?
Note that throughout the text, examples will be given from real life decisions about relationships, careers, health, wealth, entrepreneurship and changes of lifestyle.
Section 1 – A quick yes or no
Come up with a quick answer to your problem. Do this without too much conscious thought (your mind will actually have been putting a great deal of effort into the issue). Then consider the answers to these seven questions:
1. Will I / we.....? Speak or write down the decision you face.
2. What do I want to have happen? Look beyond the decision to a clear, external ‘outcome’.
3. Why is the decision important to me? The ‘secret’ of making decisions is to discover how it fits into your bigger goals and plans.
4. How will I know when it has worked? Working out what success actually looks, sounds and feels like.
5. What are the first three steps? Break the ‘quick answer’ decision into actual practical steps. Putting your plan into action puts your mind into gear.
6. What could go wrong? Uncovering potential pitfalls allows you to make your decision ‘bullet proof’.
7. Final check. Does it seem right at three levels: head, heart and gut? You don’t need an ecstatic ‘Yes!’ at this point. Anything positive will do. If you strongly feel ‘no’, then it’s time to go to the trouble-shooting section. Otherwise, it’s time to turn your instant reaction into a solid, thorough decision.
Section 2 – Plan it out
A decision of any size is not a one-off thing, but a process, which needs planning.
1. Establish a time frame. You often have more time to complete a decision than you think – or than other interested parties will tell you (their agenda is usually to get the decision they want as quickly as possible). Use these tips and tricks to buy extra time.
2. Project manage your decision. In the process you will have specific tasks. Like any project, these need to be planned. We will explain how you can create a robust and detailed plan and use advanced scheduling techniques to make it as flexible and time-efficient as possible.
3. Create options. In this part of the process, you do four main things:
1. Gather information
2. Talk to one or more confidant(s)
3. Crystallize various courses of action and consider their consequences
People usually start off with a lot of 1, then move on to 2. After a while, clear options become apparent (3). All the time, your brain will be subconsciously dealing with the issues.
Note the value of confusion at this point – the Change House model will be explained here. The need to accept confusion as a temporary necessity: confusion is usually where new ideas emerge.
We will look at option-generating procedures like reframing.
4. ‘Trial decision’. Nearly there! A clear and thorough decision should emerge from the previous steps of this process.
5. The test drive. The trial decision needs to be lived with for a bit. Your conscious mind can be overwhelmed with information and the best thing to do is to mull things over for a while, before you leap into action. Give it a few days, or even weeks – trust your unconscious to digest and process this information; if there is something really important you need to attend to, it will come to the surface and you can consult the troubleshooting guide.
At the end of this process, if you are happy with the decision, then go with it.
Section 3 – Put it into Action
You’ve made your decision: now it needs to be put into practice…
1. How to say no. Implementing decisions often means saying no to someone or some people. Many people fear this – here we show the best ways to do this.
2. ‘Buyer’s Remorse.’ Often people are assailed by doubts after making a decision, even if it is a good one. How to deal with this phenomenon.
3. Getting Others to Buy in. A key part of implementation is the ability to convince others of your decision and to ‘bring them on board’.
4. The Art of Gentle Implementation. Complex decisions are ‘living, breathing things’ that need to be handled with care. Reality often doesn’t turn out to fit the model you had when you made the decision, and, even if it does at the time of the decision, the decision itself will have unexpected consequences. These need to be dealt with. Tips and tricks for doing this.
5. Knowing when to give up. Sometimes, a decision, however well reached, can turn out to be wrong. Reality is more complex and faster-moving than any of us can model. So you do need to have an awareness of when to admit that a decision has not worked and what to do if this happens.
6. Perpetual Implementation. The consequences of a decision can take a long time to work themselves out. Being aware of this and making sure that they are all followed up. You may come under pressure to abandon your plans and it requires resolve to keep your vision ‘alive’.
Section 4 – Trouble-shooting guide
If at any time in the process, you suddenly find yourself cooling towards your initial decision – consult this section to find out why, and whether the objection is a real ‘deal-breaker’ or something you need to sort. Sometimes something quite unexpected can come up doing the work above; we present here some practical solutiith conflicting values.
- Is it you? Finding out what is stopping you at a deep level.
- What is it in service of? Often when people are ‘called’ to do something it provides the energy to overcome obstacles and the motivation to keep going.
- Still not sure? Discovering the difference between nervousness and excitement.
Appendix – Head and Heart: the psychology of decisions
The old paradigm of decision-making as a purely rational process is dead. The latest neurological findings show it to be a much subtler interplay of reason, experience and emotion. I look at these findings and how they can help us through the process outlined above.
An understanding of how your ‘state’ or mood also plays a key role is examined in this section.
Part 1 Understanding decision making
1 The psychology of decision making
2 Types of decision and how to make them brilliantly
Part 2 The brilliant decision-making process
3 Stage 1: The decision stimulator
4 Stage 2: Prepare for the decision
5 Stage 3: Make the decision
6 Stage 4: Put the decision into practice - make it happen!
7 Troubleshooting guide
Part 3 Contexts
8 Practice makes brilliant
9 Making brilliant decisions in all areas of life
10 Brilliant group decision making
11 Decision making as a heroic journey