Thursday, June 14, 2012

Decision Making Tools - support for BlogTalk radio Episode #3

Episode #3 of my blogradio cast is available on iTunes (search for Doors Close Doors Open) and at

Thank-you to all of you who continue to visit my blog (over 4400 hits since April 4) and now are tuning into my podcasts (over 300 in two weeks).  As always, I will ramble in some sort of direction and give you some tools that I have found in my/our journey and my professional that can help.

I find a real lack of decision making tools in Career Development literature and web-sites.  I think it is "assumed" we all CAN and DO make good decisions regularly.  We all know the saying about assumptions.....  

Here is how I made my decision and I hope it can show you some of the steps.

When I was faced with a decision on my career transition, forced a bit by the news my office was closing, I did 7 things.

The 1st thing I did was to reach out to those in my circle of trust.  I needed them to help me understand the problem I was facing and I felt I needed to be heard and understood.  There are no resources here just the strength and humility to admit weakness and vulnerability.

So the 2nd thing I did when I was overwhelmed by choices was to start writing stuff down. I took all the documents and wrote out scenarios.  I made list of pros and cons.  I pushed numbers into on-line pension calculators.  

The 3rd thing I did was resort to quiet time, mediation, nature in order to unclutter all the work I just did.  I love Sharon Salzberg.  She has a really great approach to meditation.   You can find her book "Real Happiness" on-line and on the web at CLICK HERE (

The 4th thing I did was to push aside my past decision making practices and explore new ones.  I found the wikipedia page on decision making and it opened my eyes to ways to decide CLICK HERE    I especially liked the segment about bounded rationality - the idea that human decision-making is limited by available information, available time, and the information-processing ability of the mind. It identified two styles: maximizers and satisfiers.  From the wiki:

maximizers try to make an optimal decision, whereas satisfiers simply try to find a solution that is "good enough". Maximizers tend to take longer making decisions due to the need to maximize performance across all variables and make tradeoffs carefully; they also tend to more often regret their decisions (perhaps because they are more able than satisfiers to recognize that a decision turned out to be sub-optimal)

Aren't all our decisions limited by information and time?  I am a satisfier and it make my life easier but I also tend to pay a bit more or get a bit less.  Who are you?

The 5th thing I did was Google for worksheets, taking the first stage of writing things down but now forcing me to think in different ways.  I found . There are heaps of worksheets for decision making, complete with tips and tricks at CLICK HERE

I printed some off and started to calculate and figure out what choices meant in real terms.  Really help flesh-out some of my options.  I really like the Career Choice Worksheet 

The 6th thing I did was similar to the second thing - to quiet my mind again.  I refocused on work, play, sport, and music for a few days.  I let all the work, worry settle in and tried to tap into my intuition.  Intuition can be powerful but must be, I believe, validated with facts.  

And lastly, the7th thing I did was I came back to my loved ones.  I told them what my conclusion was, what risks there were and what changes they might be in store for.  Only with their agreement and understanding did I make my choice.

Did you notice the circles I made?  I started with loved ones and ended there two.  I had two different "work" stages and "play" stages.  Hey, that's life!

And a friend Kyle introduced me to this wonderful depiction of life in all its organic, non-liner splendour...

Looping back in your decision making,alternating between your brain and your heart, by trusting others, and by seeking new ways of doing this, your journey may lead you in every direction but in the end will lead to success.

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