'Creativity is caring enough to keep thinking about something until you find the simplest way to do it.'
- Tim Cook
The first of the Five Steps to a Good Decision is to Step Back.
The information hits our desk.
Surprise, anger, annoyance, frustration, disbelief, hurt, delight, indignation, suspicion, confusion, amusement, alarm, despair.
We are human. We have emotions fed by thousands of years of evolution.
The first step to a good decision is to not make one.
Be selfish for as long as it takes to be able to focus on serving your Boss - or someone else.
Allow yourself the time to be honest and submit to your weaknesses.
Surrender your story of Busy Manager, Heroic Leader, Decisive Boss, Overworked Supervisor, Indispensable Assistant. Martyr.
Lean back in your chair and wallow in how unfair life is.
Ring, email or text a colleague or friend with a whinge.
Go home and vent to your spouse or tropical fish.
Recline with a glass of wine or seven.
Go for a run.
Do whatever it takes to admit and indulge your authentic selfish feelings.
Allow the chemicals to recede and perspective to emerge.
We die to that person who wanted to run or fight.
We step back into ourselves so that we can become who we are.
We return to the Decision and our Widget and the person who our boss is paying us to be.
If we don’t retreat into ourselves to be ourselves, then we risk tangling our ego with our decision.
We risk a conflict between who we are, and who our boss wants us to be.
By surrendering to our selfishness – if for only a few minutes – we are better equipped to be selfless.
There are studies that show that we cannot focus on the other if we're pre-occupied with ourselves.
Some remarkable, unforeseen, positive, creative things can happen in that space that cannot happen in the largely rational, logical process that follows.
Allowing this space isn’t easy amidst the largely self-imposed pressure to be ‘decisive’.
Like any skill, doing nothing takes practice.
But doesn’t creating space and taking time over a decision risk appearing not to care? Appear not to be taking the decision seriously, especially by others who are relying on it?
By slowing down and giving the decision time and attention you're investing more in it and are more likely to care more about it.
If you care about something you're more likely to do a better job.
The more important a decision, the longer it should take.
Don't reply to the email. Don't pick up the phone. Don't summon the staff member. Don't interrupt. Don't pretend to be someone you're not.
Because then you're only adding another person to the fight.
Step 1 - Step Back.