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  How to Use a Decision-Making Process to Minimize Daily Distractions

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"How to Maintain Focus and Motivation"

Course Transcript

How to Improve Decision Making

Today I want to talk to you about making decisions, having a good decision making process, whether that's for you alone, with your team, brainstorming, whatever the case may be, how do you make decisions. You might think, well Larry, who cares about that? Look, deciding is tough. It means taking responsibility, it means getting rid of other options, it means standing on your ground for some ideal concept. It isn't as easy as you'd think. A lot of people think, well look, it's an easy process. You check out what the pros are and what the cons are and you make the decision. I taught that in B school.

No, that doesn't help with innovation, that doesn't help giving you good ideas or original ideas, it doesn't help in solving problems long term. You really want to have a process that allows everyone to be on board, to gain buy in and have the highest chance for your plan, whatever it is, to succeed. All right, three parts to this. Part one is the idea of understanding what the end game is. Now you might say end game, what do you mean by that? The problem is we get stuck in the right now. We get stuck in here's the issue, act.

I want you to realize, is this the problem or is it some other problem and here's an example I'll give you. Someone rushes up to you and says, boss, our printers, they're not working, should we buy a new one or should we call and get them fixed? As a boss you might think, well we've got a service contract, let's call and get them fixed or no, they're old, let's buy new ones, whatever the case may be. My point is, what's the actual problem? What's the issue? What do these people want, what do they need? You say well, they need to print. Do they?

Ask the question, what's going on? How do you know the printer's not working? Well I'm trying to get this information over to our client. Oh, the clients need the information. You could email it to them. Yeah, I could. Great, now we're talking. The problem isn't that the printers don't work, the problem is that our clients don't have information. How do we fix that problem on ongoing. That's the idea of what's end game, not just the problem there. What I did when I said, do we repair them or do we buy new ones is I decided, I fixed what the actual problem was, I framed it in a way that kind of forced you into two different options.

As a leader you can't let me do that. As a leader you must realize it might not be A or B. It may be C, D or E or none of the above. That could be questions, that could be training, doesn't matter, you as a leader must ask those questions. That's what matters, but not just that. I got to verify data. Is it really broken? Is it unplugged? Did we have an outage? What's the problem? Verifying data. You might say Larry, I'm not going to ask all these questions every time. Up front you will and the more you do it, the more your team will realize you'll always ask those questions, therefore they'll start coming to you with the answers already, you won't have to ask them.

Upfront you'll ask them to train them into understanding what you expect from them when problems come to you. They will now give you the information you need every time. That's how you'll begin to think about end game and so will they. We don't just want to fix the problem now, we want to fix it long term. Second aspect, once you know what the problem is and you should or shouldn't deal with it right now, the next thing becomes when do you announce, when do you decide that you're going to actually make a decision. You give yourself a deadline. Now people think deadline for action?

Deadline for decision. Sometimes you should not decide right away. Some reasons might be, you're emotional, you're upset, you're angry, bad time to make a decision. You'll just say things that are mean or wrong or you don't have enough information or someone else should be involved. All those things you got to think about before you decide if you want to decide now. Is it truly urgent or can it wait? The most important question here is, what happens if we do nothing, what's going to happen? Think about that question. We don't ask it, we just want to solve the problem.

Remember, if you've been coming up through your company, you were given accolades, you were promoted because you became a good from a doer to a decider. Now you're more powerful, you're now going to become an empowerer. I don't want you to just decide. It may not be the right time. You might say, but Larry, that's procrastinating. Yeah if I say, I don't want to handle this now, that's procrastinating but if I give it a time, we will solve this next week, next Tuesday, at our next meeting on Monday, by Friday, get me these three people, meet in my office today.

That's not procrastinating, that's smart, that's getting the right people and the right timing together to make a decision. Awesome, but the reverse is true. What if you're just afraid? What if someone says, boss, we got to do something. Whenever you hear, we got to do something, what you should hear is, I'm afraid. That's what they mean and if someone says, I'm afraid, you probably shouldn't be making a decision right then and there. Why? Fear should not spur action. Fear should spur thought, thought should spur action. If fear is causing you to act, that's probably a problem and a bad idea. That's when a lot of bad things happen.

If fear causes you to think and then act from your thought, well done. Remember, I'm afraid means I should think. We got to do something means I should think and then take action. All right. Once you've done that, you decide if you should decide now or wait a week or a day or whatever, awesome. You make your decision, once it's done the last piece is to commit. Now remember, if you make a decision and you don't commit to it or you act like it's unimportant or you don't stand behind it, you just allowed the odds of it's success to go down.

Your commitment as a leader matters tremendously. You have to commit to your decisions. People will fall behind you, people want to do it, people act accordingly, they'll take on ownership and it will actually work a whole lot better than if you just go, you know, let's give it a shot, what evs. Your commitment does matter. All right, those are your three steps. Think about the end game, decide when you're going to actually decide, go through a critical thinking process, commit to it and move on. The first step, end game, how do we start with that? I'll tell you that in the next video.

Access the rest of this Series:

"How to Maintain Focus and Motivation"