I recently had a huge Ah-Ha! Choices are always based on something. If we aren’t aware of the basis of our choices, we live and lead reactively instead of intentionally.
In my last post I talked about the hierarchy of decisions and choices, with decisions being bigger than a choice.
Alignment occurs when choices agree with decisions made in advance. For example, if has been decided that the company always promotes from within, it’s an easy choice to seek internal candidates first. If you decide to eat healthy, it’s easier to drive past the fast-food joint. Unfortunately, most choices are based on something other than well-thought-out decisions. Sometimes our choices are based on convenience, fun, avoiding risk or looking good.
To make it practical, let’s say you know you need to initiate a difficult conversation with a star employee who has a few behavioral problems, but you keep putting it off. Your choice to avoid may be based on protecting the employee, the need to be liked or the fear of experiencing uncomfortable emotions.
Much of the time we are unaware of hidden motives. Although the choice is there, we simply react on the basis of some unknown motivator.
What to do: Become aware of your actions and ask whether you were aware of your choices at the time or whether you were taking the path of least resistance. Make a list of what motivates you, and notice when you are more likely to react or make choices that are misaligned with higher priorities. You can use this same technique when coaching other leaders or employees.