“High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.” – Robert H. Schuller
How do you respond to the countless opportunities which pass your way each day? Do you wait to get all of the data and make a detailed business case for each one, or do you act on impulse, spreading out all of your energies until you keel over, exhausted?
Whether you consider yourself “analytical” or not, everyone tends to first decide on emotion, then justify the decision by cherry-picking the facts which fit the emotional choice. Our unconscious bias is to filter out any facts which don’t fit the choice made by our emotion.
In business, you can’t just follow your feelings. You have to be open to possibility, guided by a crystal-clear set of mission, vision, values and motivations towards intentions, goals and targets. You must be willing to continuously re-examine yourself and get constant feedback to improve your decisions and your actions.
Effective leaders master the art of making instantaneous decisions based on imperfect information. By developing a finely-tuned sense of intuition, they interpret their emotions through the prism of conscious values, well-examined experience and explicit intentions.
This is why professionals who must make split-second decisions in chaotic situations do so through simulation: police, firefighters, paramedics, soldiers, pilots, air controllers, etc. By putting themselves through simulations, they can do a post-exercise analysis to better integrate lessons learned and therefore hone their prism of values, experience and intentions. They internalize a set of go/no go decision points which becomes a sixth sense, that of intuition, enabling them to make fast decisions with confidence.
Another skill is recognizing flow. The natural choice is also the one that ignites your passion, that fires up your energy, your smile, and makes you stand up straight and proud. You want to leap to action right here and now. Flow is an important decision criteria because it enables action and therefore momentum. Momentum makes it much easier to steer, adapting your decision to the realities of the moment.
The other thing to be aware of: there is no “best” decision. When you face an opportunity, instead of asking “is this the best option?”, ask yourself “does this option move me in the direction I want to go in this moment?” Decisions are rarely final, and even if they foreclose an opportunity, they often open others. The right choice for you, as leader, is ultimately the opportunity that summons the conviction of your values and the courage of your vision.
You swim through a sea of opportunities, all with varying degrees of possibility to move your vision forward. Be aware of how your emotions and your unconscious are already making the choices for you, whether through fear, ego or hope. Are you ready to consciously recognize which impulses to act upon and when to hit pause?
Seek the options where your soul is shouting YES! YES! while your head, properly clear and focused, says “OK, I’ll go along with this, and here’s what we’re going to do next…”
Then, what would you do if you were ten times bolder?