Sunday, March 20, 2005

Curious about Decisions and Decision Making

T. Boone Pickens said, “Be willing to make decisions. That's the most important quality in a good leader. Don't fall victim to what I call the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome. You must be willing to fire.”

What makes you come to both big and small decisions? Do you take your time, considering all of the pros and cons? Or do you decide quickly and then take quick action based on your decision(s)? What prompts you?

I started this questioning while reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink (The Power of Thinking without Thinking). He examines intuition and decision making that works without lengthy consideration.

And, I just made a life changing decision. I have lived in a special apartment for nearly eleven years. It is located in an old, but rehabilitated building loaded with charm - lofted ceilings, leaded glass windows, hardwood floors, built-in book shelves, and a space for a roof garden. The building had been completely rehabilitated when I moved in and is also located in a wonderful location that I love.

But - and it is a big BUT - three years ago, a new owner took over. Since then the building has gone downhill steadily. It is nearly empty now, the halls, walkways, garage and court are filthy, and there is trash everywhere. The heat has been turned down, so I must run a space heater constantly, just to keep from shivering as I work. And, yes, even though I am not a complainer, I have complained - and more than once.

So, I have decided to move. You may not think this is a life-changing decision. It is for me. I have loved the apartment I am now renting, and really thought I would stay here forever.

The part I find interesting about this decision is that once I made up my mind, I couldn’t wait to move. I will be out of here in a month. I am already sorting through all of my accumulations, deciding what I will give away and what I will need for my new apartment. It is in a brand newly built building - as modern as this is ancient. And, I find it totally charming with its wall-to-wall carpeting, Pella windows, modern baths and appliances, and even an elevator.

I feel excited and happy - just as I did when I moved into my present apartment.

Thinking back about the many decisions we all are forced to make, I wonder how most people decide - quickly, slowly, with a snap of the finger, or with great deliberation. I know some who take forever to even make up their minds on what to order in a restaurant. I tend to delegate the decision making to the back of my mind (my unconscious) until the answer pops up while I am exercising, driving, bathing, or just doing dishes. When the answer is needed right away, I am quick with my decision making.

Some of our - and especially my - decisions are good ones and some are not, but I seldom agonize over them. And, when they are made, they are made. How about you? I find this whole topic intriguing. Let me know what works for you and what doesn’t.