A former boss of mine used to listen to our inputs, and then at some point, she’d make a decision. “This is what I want you to do,” she’d say. When the choice was not clear cut, she might say, “Let’s try it and see what happens. We won’t know if it will work or not unless we try.”
She wasn’t afraid to make a decision, or to change her decision when additional facts came to light. Her decisions were pragmatic, efficient and clear. Even if they were not always right.
What she did not do was expect us to vote or to debate until consensus was reached. Voting would have only served to create a win/lose scenario and give those on the losing side the opportunity to walk away from any commitment to implement the actions necessary for success. Too often consensus deteriorates into a process of making sure everyone gets a little of what they want, without regard to whether the actions will at all address the problem they were intended to address or whether the results are likely to yield the desired outcome. (If you want proof of this, look no farther than the U.S. Congress.)
We can’t run our business or lead our team by consensus. It doesn’t work. We also can’t live our life by consensus, by doing whatever the people near us tell us to do about how to live our life.
It’s fine to ask for input, to engage in debate, to seek consensus about the problem and to listen to recommended options. But that’s where it ends. Once we’ve listened to the inputs, we can work to build commitment to our success. We can show our appreciation for those who have our best interests at heart, and say so long to those who are more concerned with controlling us than with helping us to succeed. At some point, it’s time to take all the viewpoints, consider them, and make the decision about what you will actually do.
You get to make the decisions and to accept the consequences of your choices. Making decisions also require that we make a commitment to that decision. It also requires not that we make the one right choice, but that we choose to do the best we can with the information we have, and to put everything we’ve got into making that choice succeed. Making decisions also requires that we be willing to accept the consequences should our choice prove false or should new circumstances prevent success or require a new course of action.
What never works is blowing with the wind. Doing a little of this, a little of that, trying to keep everyone else a little bit happy and no one else too unhappy. Without regard for what will make us happy. It is better to be happy than to be right.
You may or may not be required to make important decisions about your work. You may or may not be paid well for your job. However, we all are unmistakably required to make important decisions about our own lives. Whether we are paid well for our life is measured not by the coin of the realm but by the quality of the relationships we have.
Living well starts with our willingness to follow our own course. Living well starts with being willing to make decisions and to accept the consequences of our choices.
Making decisions is, as they say, why you get paid the big bucks.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: We cannot be our authentic selves when we get so caught up in trying to please others that we have lost sight of what it is that pleases us. We practice being honest, open and true when we make decisions about our own life and fully commit to achieving success with those choices.
Related Posts: Choices