July 11, 2005

Good day, team,

The coach’s challenge this week is about making decisions. Have you ever observed that when we postpone making decisions sometimes, we’re actually making the indecision our decision?

A few years ago when I was on the board of a nonprofit here in town, I noticed that one of my fellow board members had a lot of trouble making decisions. Because we needed unanimous agreement to act, this person’s inability to make up her mind frustrated everyone on the board; often it led to someone getting up from the table in a huff and storming out. Interestingly enough, our “indecision maker” would then suggest that we look at more alternatives instead of choosing based on the information we already had! This preference for examining new options rather than making a decision is a way of avoiding choosing altogether.

What keeps us from making decisions? In most cases, it is our fear of being wrong. Edmund Burke wrote, “No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”

To move from the attitude of scarcity that always accompanies fear toward the attitude of abundance and excitement that comes from envisioning new possibilities, we need to understand some core principles. These insights are especially important when a team of people needs to make joint decisions.

In “How Great Decisions Get Made,” Don Maruska offers some of these principles:

1. Each of us is valued and valuable. Everyone who has a stake in a decision can participate in a way that reflects his or her inherent value.
2. Each of us is free to change. We don’t need to score points with each other, defend past positions or otherwise prove our worthiness.
3. Life is abundant. We may not always get what we want, but we can get what we need.
4. Hopes, not fears and expectations, can guide us. Hopes are not bound by current realities, but can transcend them.
5. We don’t have to do all the work. Traditional views of the rugged, self-reliant individual feed our egos and our desire for control. But this myth doesn’t serve the greater good.
6. Cooperation, not competition, wins. Glorifying competition and conflict denies our shared humanity. Cooperation is our best avenue for growth and fulfillment.

Try not to be afraid to make decisions this week. Trust your ability to look at all the important factors and make up your mind from a sound basis of knowledge. Participate with others in the decision-making process. Multiply your prospects for success by sharing with others the hopes and dreams that influence your decision-making process. Make the decisions that will turn your vision into your reality.

Have a great week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

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