Step One of Good Decision Making: Step Back.
Viktor Frankl wrote:
'Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. '
Stimulus: information. A complaint. Criticism. Bad news. New and unexpected data. A problem.
Instinctive reaction. Surprise. Shock. Anger. Defensiveness. Denial. React. Respond. Return fire. Fight.
Lean back in your chair. Stare at the ceiling. Get up and walk. Down the corridor. To the kitchen for a cup of coffee. To a sympathetic colleague's office. Or home.
Have a lemonade or three. Vent to your spouse or pet. Take the cat for a walk. Go for a run. Smash a golf ball. Have another lemonade. Wallow. Feel sorry for yourself. Search the job ads. Watch a movie. Reclaim your freedom.
Be human. Not boss, manager, leader, decision-maker, company woman, parent, mother, father, son, daughter, prodigy. Be worried, annoyed, frustrated, sad, impatient, unreasonable. Wallow. Be selfish.
Allow yourself to be yourself so you can choose to become yourself.
Create the space.
Step up and begin doing what your boss is paying you to do and what you promised her that you'd do. (That's called 'Integrity.')
'I'll have an answer to you by next Friday.' (Aim to have it to them by Wednesday. Under-promise and over-deliver.)
You feel your power returning.
'Psychological distance may be one of the single most important steps you can take to improve thinking and decision-making. It can come in many forms: temporal, or distance in time (both future and past); spatial, or distance in space (how physically close or far you are from something); social, or distance between people (how someone else sees it); and hypothetical, or distance from reality (how things might have happened).
But whatever the form, all of these distances have something in common: they all require you to transcend the immediate moment in your mind. They all require you to take a step back.'
Begin the rest of the Good Decision Making Process unencumbered by the emotions that strangle your ability to analyse and assess data openly and logically and on its merits. Earn your salary. Build your Widget. Become who you are.
'You can't change what's already happened but you can change what happens next.'
- Peter Baines, Disaster Management Specialist.