How to make effective personal decisions

“How would the person I’d like to be, do what I am about to do?”

This is a great question to ask yourself when you are trying to decide which path to take. Figure out the answer to this question and you will know which path to take.

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How to Lead via their Ego

It amazes me how much our ego plays in our day to day decisions.

One tip on leading people is to look for the win for them personally if they act the way we want them to act.

The reality is that your employees will only act the way you want to act while you are watching, if the only reason you give them for acting that way is, “Because I say so.”

However, if they see how it will make their life easier, reduce personal stress or make them more money, by acting the way you want them to, then their will be no need to police them. They will simply act that way because it will produce personal benefits for them.

Educate them on those benefits and they will be motivated to act that way, whether you are watching or not.

This is how you get them to do what you want to do, because they (and their ego) want to do it.

How to make decisions with the best decision making tools

“So which option is better A or B?”

Your customers may not vocalize this, but they are thinking it.

When customers are hesitating to make a decision, you need to understand that there are many factors that they are thinking of.

“Should I choose A or B?” “Should I buy now or wait?” “Should I buy here or somewhere else?” “Should I buy or not buy? “Should I pay cash or use credit?”

A lot to think about. I know whenever I have a big decision to make I use a simple tool to help me decide.

I write a pros and cons list. This is a tool that I believe dates back to Ben Franklin days. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Get a clean sheet of paper

Step 2: Draw a line down the middle of it.

Step 3: Write a “+” sign on the left side and a “-” sign on the right.

Step 4: Brainstorm all the reasons why you should go ahead (benefits) and write them down, in point form, below the “+” sign.

Step 5: Continue brainstorming and write down all the drawbacks of going ahead below the “-” sign.

Usually the answer will be clear at this point, with one side dominating the page. However, if it isn’t then proceed to Step 6.

Step 6: Assign a rating for each point. ie. 5 pts. for really important point, 3 points for somewhat important point and 1 point for ever other point.

Step 7: After assigning a rating for each point, simply add up your total. And the side with the most points is the decision you should make.

So if you find your customers hesitating, you may want to help them buy using this simple tool.

However, if you need to narrow the decision between multiple options, there is an excellent tool called a barrier analysis, which can be found in the book, From Landfalls to Legacies by Rob MacLeod http://www.macleodandcompany.com/. (This is also an excellent read because he uses a parable style, but the book has more meat that most parable books that I have read.)

I’ve witnessed Rob work with a cross functional group from a large organization (who was legendary for not being able to come to a concensis) and using this tool, they agreed on which areas of their company to work on in a few short hours. The facilitation was so successful, that it even ended early.