Good decisions help you save time, guide your choices, and are the foundation of good habits. Look at the root of your struggles and you will find ineffective decision-making. Good decisions not only affect your leadership. Good decisions affect your life. Here are three ways: Decisions save you time, guide your choices, and help you build good habits. Let me go a little deeper with each.
Decisions Save Time
Every choice you make requires thinking, and thinking requires energy. For example you may spend time trying to answer the question, “should I try to go to the gym today or tomorrow?” You may go back and forth considering the benefits or disadvantages. You may even promise yourself to skip today and work out an extra hour tomorrow. These mental dynamics are exhausting.
However when you make a decision that you are going to go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you no longer have to play ping pong in your head. The decision has been made, the dye is cast, and you don’t have to waste time going back and forth about when to get to the gym. The same rule applies in your leadership role. If you continue to promise yourself you’ll have a team meeting once a week, but three months later you still haven’t had a meeting, it’s simply because you haven’t yet made the decision.
Your excuses may be that you are growing too fast, there’s no time, it was the company picnic, or the timing hasn’t been right. Once you actually decide to have a weekly meeting, then it becomes a priority, stops taking up space in your brain, and you start to feel in control because you are now leading instead of reacting to circumstances. The easier you make decisions the more energy and time you have.
Decisions Guide Choices
A decision is distinct from a choice, because a decision requires many small choices to help fulfill the decision. We usually call the fulfilling of a decision, a commitment. From my perspective, a commitment is only a commitment once it is fulfilled, therefore I distinguish between decision, commitment, and choice.
Using the gym example, now that you know you are going to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you have some smaller decisions to make, which I refer to as choices. Now you choose when to block out your calendar. You choose to lay your clothes out. You have effectively eliminate other choices that do not align with going to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Once you have gone to the gym consistently you can now say that you are committed because the proof is in your decision-making and your supporting choices.
Decisions are the Foundation of Good Habits
Your habits either work for you or against you. If your habits work in favor of your productivity, achieving your outcomes, or aiding in your well-being, chances are you had to work hard to build the habit. Funny though, how we never have to work at developing bad habits. Bad habits are like addictions; we know they are bad for us, but we can’t seem to help ourselves.
How many people do you see who are actually addicted to their anger? They need to be right. They get triggered and then the conversation spirals down.They want to change but keep getting triggered. No matter how many opportunities they succumb to their anger. No matter how guilty they feel they can’t help but blow up, use sarcasm or get in the last word. Breaking that habit requires a decision. You can wish, hope, or feel guilty about the behavior, but unless you make a decision to replace the behavior with a more empowering action nothing happens no matter how much you wish it would.
Conclusion: Decision-making is a muscle that the no-drama leader develops. The next time you find yourself procrastinating, or falling into old addictive behaviors and mindsets that do not serve your highest and best vision, make a decision, then make smaller supportive choices. You will save time, choose more consciously, and build habits that work for you instead of against you.
Marlene Chism is a consultant, international speaker, and the author of two books: “No-Drama Leadership: How Enlightened Leaders Transform Culture in the Workplace” (Bibliomotion 2015) and “Stop Workplace Drama” (Wiley 2011). Chism’s passion is developing wise leaders and helping people discover, develop and deliver their gifts to the world.