Leading Yourself 5 – Decisions

I have been pondering lately hard and soft decisions. We have to know the difference and have the ability to lead ourselves in the area of decision making.

Hard decisions are those we will hold too no matter what. They are the decisions we make that are set in stone.

Soft decisions are those that are more fluid and we will mostly likely uphold them but our commitment level is much lower.

Hard decisions are predetermined and they guide our lives.

Soft decisions should be the ones that are the optional extras.

So often we make the things that should be hard decisions soft,  and the things that should be soft decisions hard.

Hey before you click back onto FaceBook let me explain from an example in my life.

For a long time exercise was a set decision for me – I knew it was important and notionally I decided I needed to do it, however the decision was soft. It depended on what finances I had available, weather, energy levels and some days whether the planets were all a lined correctly. I went in spurts.

However now I have made it a hard decision in my life. I have determined that I am going to be 80 and still swimming laps. I may slow down and have to helped out of the pool but I will still be swimming. . Currently I am committed to swimming 30-40  laps 3 times a week. It has become a hard decision.

I now budget time and money towards it and as it is a hard decision, this guides me to do it. On my swim days I don’t wake up in the morning and decide whether to swim . I just wake up , walk the dog and pray , eat breakfast and go for a swim.

The same goes for a bunch of decisions in my life. I don’t wake up and wonder if I should go to work during the week or church on a Sunday – it is a hard decision I go.

Conversely there are some decisions that I have determined are soft. How I spend leisure time is a soft decision, I have found when I create a hard decision in this area I box myself in and that doesn’t work for my personality. I know people who always go out on a Friday night, or always rent a movie on a Sunday night. I have tried to be like that but it doesn’t work for me.

When I make the decisions that should soft into hard decisions, it feels like bondage.

When I make the decision that should hard into soft decisions my life goes off track and get a little aimless.

Lets lead ourselves by making the right decisions hard and the right decisions soft.  Apart from anything else it’s exhausting to keep remaking decisions that need to be hard decisions that are  made once !

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5 times you should Drag the Chain

The team I work in often comes to me for the quick decisions. I have the ability to make a decision under pressure – in those situations where any decision is a good decision. (Are they always the best decisions – no of course not !).

I also see most things as just a problem to be solved and the sooner it is solved the sooner we can move on.

However in the last few  weeks I have literally forced myself NOT to make a decision, or have a response to a situation.

Here are the 5 times I think that dragging the chain, or slowing down action, is an appropriate plan of action .

1. When we are over tired.

Not just normal tired that most if us live with in the 21st Century. The “I have just been through a very busy season, have not been sleeping well, really need a holiday ” tiredness. None of us make good decisions when we are overtired.

2. When we are angry or hurt.

We should rarely make a decision out of an emotional response. I had to make a decision in the last week about something that had caused me to feel a little hurt. I forced myself to work through the hurt, to process it and then to make a decision that was rational and calm, and ultimately better for all concerned.

3. When we know you don’t have all the information.

I often have people come to my office with a story about some misdemeanour or other one of our students have committed. Experience, learned the hard way, now means I make sure I talk to the student involved and any other people involved to get as complete a picture as I can. I do this before I make any decisions or recommendations.

4. When we need to get people on board.

It is important to involve people who will be effected by a decision. They often can see things from an angle that you won’t and can help you make the right call. If you leave them out of the process they will resent the decision and have more trouble implementing it. I work with lots of contract lecturers who have diferent schedules. This  means it is difficult to meet to work through decisions. However it is always worth it to involve key stake holders.

5. When the decision has long reaching strategic implications – obviously.

These decisions need time, counsel of many, the wisdom of Solomon and lots of prayer. These are not really the sort of decisions I am addressing here.

Obviously there are may times when a quick decision is a good decision. However these are a few times when I have experienced the power of dragging the chain.

What about you ?

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