Author: Edward Maggard
Date: June 23rd, 2021
Making good decisions is a big part of leadership, obviously. A consultant I used to know said, “Once you know the facts, the decisions jump out at you.” This is true, but it is not always easy to know the facts. In today’s complex world of global economy, political extremes, and rapid technological development, not to mention a global pandemic, it is getting tougher to get the facts together.
One result of the pandemic is that people are having a lot of “decision fatigue”. This is caused when our capacity to make decisions is worn out. We spent the first few months trying to guess what was going to happen, how long it was going to last and what effects it would have on our lives, whether personally or professionally.
Jo Saxton, author, speaker and leadership coach, has a podcast called Lead Stories. In one of the recent episodes, she talks about decision fatigue and how after days and weeks of making decisions about important things like capital purchases in an uncertain economy or whether to expand the business when the pandemic may lock our customers away, we simply hit a wall in terms of decision making.
This affects our personal life as well. Saxton talks about how after a particularly long stretch of stressful decision-making someone asked her what she wanted for dinner. That’s not a normally hard question, but when you are in decision fatigue, all decisions are hard.
The way this affects me is a little different. When I get to that point, it’s not just that the decision about dinner is harder, I just don’t care. It seems I have a limited number of things that I can care about and at that point, dinner doesn’t make the list.
So, what do we do? First of all, listen to Jo’s podcast. You can find the link here. She is a featured speaker at our LeaderImpact Summit on November 18th, 2021. I find her warm, insightful, intelligent and engaging. Second, try and list out what is going on. When we write things down we tend to be more objective about them. Try making a decision tree, listing the relationship between the decisions that need to be made. Finally, make sure you have people with whom to process your decisions. Going at it alone is hardly ever a good idea, but when the pressure is on it’s especially important to share the load of your decisions.
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