We have an excellent workshop to help you and your organization make better decisions. The title of our program reflects the tone very well – “DARE TO BE DECISIVE.”
The workshop is based upon the best-selling book by Dan and Skip Heath entitled Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (Crown, 2013). Many people may be aware of what the book says about doing this, but yet, have never participated in any activities to transform those principles into practice.
This highly affordable program contains summaries of the key points from their book, along with numerous practical activities that will enhance your ability to make strong decisions more effectively and efficiently.
Randy Mayeux is the lead facilitator, and he presented the original synopsis of the book several years ago.
The on-site workshop lasts just three hours, and we have facilitated this for several companies and non-profit organizations. The facilitation fee allows you to bring as many participants as you wish, and the only other fee is for per-person materials. We are happy to provide you with references from participants who have already completed this.
For more information and details, simply send an e-Mail with any questions you might have to: . Or, you can call at (972) 601-1537.
We look forward to working with you to be more decisive!
I just read this article on Slate.com about Melissa Mayer, the new CEO at Yahoo, Marissa Mayer Is in Over Her Head: That’s just how Yahoo’s new CEO likes it by the always insightful Farhad Manjoo. She described how she decided to work at the then very new company, Google, which had very-few-employees. Here’s the key paragraph:
“I had to think really hard about how to choose between job offers,” she said. Mayer approached the choice analytically. Over spring break, she studied the most successful choices in her life to figure out what they had in common. “I looked across very diverse decisions—everything from deciding where to go to school, what to major in, how to spend your summers—and I realized that there were two things that were true about all of them,” she said. “One was, in each case, I’d chosen the scenario where I got to work with the smartest people I could find. … And the other thing was I always did something that I was a little not ready to do. In each of those cases, I felt a little overwhelmed by the option. I’d gotten myself in a little over my head.”
After weighing her options, Mayer chose Google.
So… work with the smartest people you can find. And tackle a challenge that is just a little bit too much. I think the idea is that if it pushes you just the right amount — tough enough to be very, very difficult, but!, still doable — then you learn more, you might succeed spectacularly, and you are then more ready for the next, bigger challenge.
Mr. Manjoo is not sure that this decision, heading Yahoo, will be successful (there may not be that circle of “the smartest people she can find”), but he is convinced that it will be fun to watch: “And even while I have severe doubts that Mayer will be able to turn Yahoo around, I’m excited to see what she can do with the place. Yahoo has long been headed for failure. Now, at least, it will be an interesting failure, not a depressing one.”
This much is clear: a person with the ability to follow a very serious process of decision making, a process that can lead to a brilliant decision, will probably lead the pack. Because, most of us are just not very good at making decisions.
(an aside: I have said, in one way or another on this blog, Farhad Manjoo is the writer that most consistently gives me the insight that I need).
Have you ever made a bad decision? The answer, of course, is yes. Have you had trouble acknowledging, even to yourself, that your bad decision was a bad decision? Again, I suspect, the answer is yes.
Yesterday, I heard a terrific interview with a professional decision maker. The decision maker was Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. It was on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (the best interviewer out there!) 66 times in the interview, either the word decide or decision was used. This man makes his living listening to two sides of an issue, and then deciding.
Most of these decisions are decisions where uncertainty looms its head, because the decision is between two good, almost equally strong and plausible sides of an issue. After all, if it was an easy decision, it would not make it up to the Supreme Court.
Here is an interesting excerpt:
Justice BREYER: I’ll tell you something interesting about that too, if you want – human nature.
GROSS: Sure. Yeah.
Justice BREYER: I’ve found it interesting. I bet it’s true whether you’re in business, whether you’re in law, whatever field of life you’re in, you have a tough decision to make, really tough, and you think, my goodness, this is evenly balanced. Oh my goodness, what will I do? But I’m sorry, time is passing. You better make up your mind. And so you do and you think this side has a slight edge. Now time passes. Do you think you think I might have been wrong? No. As time passes you begin to think, I think I was probably right. More time. Yeah, I was right. More time. I sure was right. More time. How did I think the opposite? That is called the self-protective psychology of human nature.
(Soundbite of laughter)
I like that phrase: “the self-protective psychology of human nature.”
Just a little for us to think about as we make decisions in business, and in life.
Last Friday at our June First Friday Book Synopsis, I presented the synopsis of the book 10-10-10 by Suzy Welch. It is one of the few books I have read that just seems to pop up in conversation after conversation. The book states very simply that whenever we need to make a decision, we need to ask: what are the implications of this decision in the next 10 minutes, in 10 months, and in 10 years. She argues that many (most!) people don’t actually have any process they follow to make decisions. They simply go with their gut instinct, or they just “do” without “deciding, and then doing.” Here’s her sentence: “We decide by not deciding or by letting our gut instinct guide us… And we hope for the best.” It is a powerful, simple reminder. And it is espeically helpful in reminding us that we really do not think through the significance and possible consequences of our many decisions.
Well, I have not been able to get the book out of my mind. And one aspect is especially captivating – we are not very good at thinking through the long-term impacts and implications of our decisions. Read the news, and you learn this in a hurry. What our Congress passes, about financial regulations, about mortgage guidelines, about investor protections — these all have serious long-term consequences.
Recently, I was reading one of the many articles attempting to explain just what put our auto companies in the mess they are in. Here is one interesting theory — in 1962, after we got mad at unfair tariffs imposed on chicken exports, we imposed a 25% tariff on all truck imports. This led our auto makers to spend years (actually, decades) making the best trucks in the world — because they had a practical monopoly on trucks (remember, all of those ubiquitous SUV’s are trucks), and thus they put their best researchers and their best innovators into trucks, not cars. By the time the gas prices and the financial collapse finally hit, we were literally way behind the curve on car innovation, and leading in an area that can no longer be as profitable economically (trucks). So, a seemingly logical and understandable decision in one year had serious, maybe catastrophic unintended consequences over the long haul. (You can read the article, The chickens have come home to roost, here).
This is just one example. We all could provide many more. This question helps in so many ways. Should I finish (should I have finished) my: degree, graduate degree, project…? Should I do this, do that, go here, go there?
What does this short-term decison today do in the long-term? What will the consequences be in 10 years? This is the question we need to learn to ask — and keep asking.
In my speech classes, I frequently show my students the locker room speech delivered by Al Pacino from the Oliver Stone movie, Any Given Sunday (watch it one youtube here — my apology for the language). I think it includes the truest line I have ever heard: “That’s what living is — the six inches in front of your face.” There is no truer line. Every decision flows from this question: what do I put in the six inches in front of my face? How do I respond to what is right in front of my face? Pick any bad habit, or destructive behavior, and it is the result of putting the “wrong” thing in front of your face, and not putting/keeping the “right” thing in front of your face.
Start your own list: do I answer this e-mail, or do I surf the web? Do I meet with this person, read this book, go to this networking event? Do we allocate our resources in this way, or that way? Do I look at these numbers, hire this person? The questions are always demanding an answer. (Do we have/keep the right questions in front of us?) The decisons are always waiting to be made. We put information in front of our face, and then we tackle the important and hard decison making process. What am I putting/keeping in front of my face?
I thought of this as I began reading the new book by Suzy Welch, 10-10-10: A Life Transforming Idea. Her premise is simple: life works, or it doesn’t, based on the quality of our decisions. The decisions we make lead to success and joy and fulfillment — or the other direction. And then she adds this brilliant insight: about each decision, think about how this will turn out in the next 10 minutes, then in 10 months, and then in 10 years.
Yes, this is ancient widsom, pointing to the immediate impact, and the mid-term impact, and the long-term impact. But her formula, 10-10-10, is simple and tangible. In other words, what do I put in front of my face, and what will be the impact of that decision — now, later, and much later?
I think this is a question worth asking any time, all times — and especially in these especially challenging economic times.
If you live near Dallas, I hope you can join us for the June First Friday Book Synospis, as I present my synopsis of this book, and help us think of this simple yet life-shaping formula — for business decisions, and all-of-life decisions.