Year-end and holiday activities are making everyone in the office a tad bit crazy. The pressure cooker environment and the increasingly complex daily life demands we find ourselves dealing with lead us to erroneous actions and wrongheaded decisions. Cognitive overload and an accelerating pace deprive us of the calm conditions we crave to make calculated choices. Instead of fully considering each situation thoughtfully (who has the time, patience and bandwidth for such careful analysis right now?), we rush to careless conclusions and take a short-cut approach to making decisions. Sometimes this works in our favor, but the gamble is dangerous and often leads to undesirable circumstances that will create a challenging and chaotic beginning to the new year.
So how do we defend ourselves against making bad decisions and choosing wrongly? Exploring these 3 indicators only takes FIVE MINUTES and will enable us to make CLEAR, CONFIDENT DECISIONS.
1. Write down or say aloud the response to the following question(s): What at am I agreeing to? What am I buying? What am I believing?
2. Recognizing I’m taking a short-cut approach, identify the basis for the decision I’m making: My values (truth, loyalty, justice, compassion)? Short term goals? Long term goals? Personal agenda? Company’s mission? Past decisions? Promises made? Obligation? Commitment? Boss’s orders? Competition? Comparison? Or?
3. Imagine or envision the recipients of my decision: Who else will be affected by my actions? Would I like to work in an office where similar choices and decisions are made by others? Is the risk incurred worth the benefit received? Will my decision be perceived as an imposition of my personal position? Does my decision produce the greatest good for the greatest number?
This focused, reasoned approach is our best defense to the mindless and automatic nature of our short-cut responding, especially in this frenzied and frantic time frame.
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Lee Broekman is an executive coach and trainer. Her company Organic Communication, brings interactive, never boring, always edifying workshops like Defend Yourself Against Bad Decisions: Cognitive Biases that Lead to Erroneous Conclusions, to your firm or organization.