Twice recently I struggled too long to make a major decision. One involved a difficult HR situation, the other involved a significant financial decision. I went over and over the options logically in my head. I considered my advisers’ points of view. I thought about what the other people involved wanted. I thought about what my dad would say.
I realized I was going in circles, ruling out every option because I didn’t like something about it, and I knew somebody else wouldn’t like it.
I was being a pinball, letting myself be bounced from one obstacle to the next and settling nowhere. Pinballs don’t make choices, they just react to whatever pushes them.
Stating the obvious: that’s not leadership.
Here’s the thought process that helped me get a grip:
- I am being a pinball, and that’s not how I want to lead.
- I will be the decider in this situation. It is my place and I will take it.
- This is not a no-brainer situation. All options have downsides. I am willing to choose something less than ideal.
- My choice will be criticized by people around me. Those critics might even turn out to be right. I am willing to take those risks. I will still be the decider.
From there I moved on to normal strategic thinking about options, outcomes, and obstacles. I decided, and I like the results.
Choose from the options you have, not the options you wish you had. Include the options that will get you criticized. Be a decider.
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