Make Conscientious Decisions

We all have both big and small decisions to make on a daily basis. Decision-making is a key role for any manager or leader. However fear of failure and lack of clarity may prohibit some from making timely decisions.

After helping so many coaching clients and audiences focus on their priorities, it was time for me to practice what I preach! After playing a key role on the Board of my professional association, I enthusiastically agreed to continue in the role. However, as the work was concluding for the current year, I was feeling myself slightly burning out, frustrated and resentful. This is a sure indication that my boundaries weren’t being respected. Problem is, it was me who wasn’t respecting my own limits and boundaries! I enjoyed contributing to the organization, gaining recognition and acknowledgement and was so caught up in that that I nearly missed the signs! And, I had an important decision to make.

When you feel yourself feeling burned out, frustrated or resentful, chances are you are experiencing the same signs. It’s important to recognize these symptoms and assess the situation. In this case, I had to make a quick decision because the ballot was set to go out in just a few days. If I had mixed feelings about continuing, I needed to explore this and see what it meant.

I’ve shared the process I used with a couple of my colleagues and they encouraged me to share it with you! So, this is my process…

1. Get absolutely clear about the problem at its root cause. To do this I created some quiet time and space for myself for clear introspection. What I discovered is that I had over-committed to the organization at the expense of my business, family and myself.

2. Evaluate and assess the implications. I explored the implications of continuing as well as the possible consequences of not. Again, I got more clarity and increased my focus about what is most important to me. I did a bit of a cost-benefit analysis using time and energy as my highest cost factors and opportunity missed cost to assess time spent on volunteer work rather than on revenue producing business activities.

3. Test my decision. I wrote out my resignation letter on a notebook page and just left it overnight. In the morning, I checked in with myself and asked: Am I feeling a sense of relief or a sense of remorse?

4. Explore different perspectives. I looked at the problem through a couple of different perspectives. I weighed the pros and cons to me, the organization, and my family.

5. Re-test my decision. Still feeling a bit ambivalent about making the right decision for me and the organization, I typed my resignation letter and just left it again. And, again, I asked myself: Am I feeling a sense of relief or a sense of remorse? I was still feeling an incredible sense of relief at the impending decision to leave the Board and shift my energy to my top priorities in my work, personal and family life.

6. Commit to my choice. As difficult as it was, I knew that it was the right decision for me! With some reluctance, I hit the send button in my email that I typed out earlier. My note was brief. I did not choose to elaborate on the rationale of my decision because I know that it’s important to be succinct and to the point. In situations like this, when one chooses to say “no”, I’ve seen people coaxed into changing their mind because they’ve shared too much information and I’ve also seen people burn bridges with accusations, blame and finger-pointing. Being clear and concise will help you stand by your decision,as it helped me!

There is not just one way of making decisions but understanding and knowing what is most important to you will help guide your approach. For me, being professional, respectful, sensitive and firm were important criterion.

The one big lesson: It’s far better to communicate either in-person or by phone so that there’s a two-way dialogue. Sending an email created some confusion and disconnect that could have easily been avoided.

My mantra…stop me before I volunteer again!

About The PriorityPro
Natalie Gahrmann, an international expert, empowers professional women to ignite their passion, demonstrate personal leadership and exude greater confidence. Her background in business acumen and leadership development is instinctively applied through 1-1 coaching, workshops and keynote presentations. She can help you gain clarity, focus and direction so that you accomplish more of what's important to YOU!

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