Posts Tagged ‘decision’

Think for the Future

by Guy Ralfe on September 29, 2009

thought-and-art-the-thinker1Have you noticed how on occasions you may have done something and it occupies your mind for days wondering what the outcome will be? It continues to consume your thought when you are at an unrelated place doing something else. Have you noticed how your body tenses in response to the thoughts of situations you are not in? All these are reactions to thoughts you are not in a position to act  to rectify or change. Often these are related to actions and situations that are in the past.

All this does is rob us of valuable limited energy and time we have to think, which in turn reduces our ability to act and take care of what really matters to us.

I was recently back in South Africa with my laptop and thought it would be a good idea to catch up on my e-information habit after 10 days of abstinence.  I was told that where we were staying had a high speed broadband internet connection and I couldn’t wait to get on (with) it. So I connected my laptop and then the world seemed to stop… everything just seemed to take forever.

It felt like someone had sold me out on a dial-up camouflaged as broadband, but the speeds were 300/800kb. My analytical mind persisted… the next thought was: “Maybe speed is just relative to what you are used to”. For those on dial-up it would have felt very fast, where as my 5/15Mb home connection made it feel ridiculously slow. I began to ask myself how do they work with this connection, this must be costing so much in productivity?

As I got more and more frustrated with the experience I started to turn off all the ancillary messengers, auto update and other background tasks running on my computer. It took a while but slowly it began to feel like the connection was representational of what I had become accustomed to in the USA. It wasn’t the connection that was the issue but how I used it that made the difference!

I like to think of our brain as being a bit like an internet connection, we are given a set amount of bandwidth that we can utilize at any given time, but we decide how we utilize this bandwidth and that is where the power of our judgment comes into play. For most of us, I speculate, we do not even think about the consequences of our thoughts, it just happens much like we breathe and our heart keeps pumping. Making the best use of our brain’s bandwidth is critical to ensure we make effective actions, which is what ultimately determines our future.

Here are some actions to help manage these bandwidth thieves:

  1. Start to notice when you are being gripped by these interrupting thoughts – particularly those beyond your control, relate to situations that have already occurred or will have little consequence on your future.
  2. Make an assessment of the impact on your future – spend a short time, no more than 15 minutes, concluding what you should have done or will do in a particular outcome. If it has no impact on your future then be at peace with your decision, close the thought and agree with yourself this is what it is. If it does have an impact on your future then it is a thought you need to act on. You need to find help if you cannot resolve it yourself.
  3. The next time the thought enters your head – you revert to your conclusion from step above. Do not reevaluate your conclusion as that is just adding fuel to the fire and ultimately utilizes more unnecessary thought.
  4. Be at peace with yourself and your decisions – it is highly unlikely others are affected the way you perceive the situation. Do not worry, worrying has never solved a situation to date only action has!

Think of your brain as a pipe through which you have to pour water, the more water through the pipe (representing active thought to produce action) the more effective you will be in your life. Do not let residue build up in the pipe that slows the flow of thoughts, especially when this residue produces no actions towards your future.

Make every thought count, keep thinking about the future!

Producing Good Decisions… consistently!

by Thomas Frasher on August 11, 2009

decision making cartoonDecision making for entrepreneurs/business owners can be difficult, time consuming, arduous, fractious and distracting.  This article discusses a method for clarifying decisions and streamlining decision making.

There are four parties to every business decision:

– The facilitator

– The approver

– The contributors

– The informed parties

1. The facilitator – this person pushes everything, keeps the schedule, facilitates meetings, and makes sure the lines of communication stay open. There can only be one of these at a time.

2. The approver – There is only one of these for any decision. This is the final authority for the decision, they have the responsibility for the delivery of the business outcome of the decision. In some very rare cases you can have more than one approver, this requires a high degree of trust between the approvers and they need to have a single vision of the desired outcome. The approver needs to be designated pre-decision.

3. The Contributors – These are the individuals that execute the decision. The contributors have the technical expertise to provide input to the decision. It is very important to understand that the contributors do not need to agree with the decision, however, after the decision is made the facilitator and the contributors must support the decision. There should be 5 or less contributors.

4. The informed parties – The fourth group are those that are informed of the decision. They have no vote and no say. The facilitator is responsible for communicating the decision and the business outcome of the decision to those affected by the decision.

It is also important to understand that this process can also be used to drive efforts to produce business outcomes, not just decisions. with the contributors being the architects of the design, the facilitator keeping the schedule and coordinating actions among the contributors and informed (often implementers), the approver having the final say over the outcome quality.

Paying careful attention to the make-up of the decision team will greatly influence the quality and speed of the decision. Good teams produce good decisions… consistently!