Wednesday April 19, 2006

Decisiveness

The difficulty in making a decision is often inversely proportional to the difference between the choices. Yet, according to Anne O'Hare McCormick*, "The percentage of mistakes in quick decisions is no greater than in long-drawn-out vacillation." The best advice seems to be "Just Do It".

In today's Fast Company Now, Doug Sundheim writes:

Consider This:

Contrary to popular belief, your decisions don't drive your long term success - your decisiveness does. Said another way, when you reach a crossroads on any issue, the act of choosing creates power, not the choice itself. The issue is momentum. No matter what you choose, when you commit boldly with conviction, you create momentum. When you hesitate you don't. And success is built on momentum.

He goes on to recommend you take decisive action on your To Do list, saying "Recognize that the more decisive you are, the easier the process gets."

There's a decisive tactic I use when confronted with what seems like a difficult decision. As I hem and haw and tell myself the reasns why each choice is better, anothervoice in the back of my head asks "When all is said and done, and you've finished working over the merits of everything, which of these are you actually going to pick? Surprisingly, there is almost always a single, immediate answer to that question.

The essay fits in well with David Allen's Getting Things Done model (Do, Delegate, Delete or Defer) as well as Malcolm Gladwell's Blink. Be sure to read the comments as well as the complete article. Then go tackle your To Do list.


* Anne O'Hare McCormick (1882-1954);First woman to win a Pulitzer prize for journalism

Decisiveness ( in category Noteworthy ) - posted at Wed, 19 Apr, 13:19 Pacific | «e»

Comments

I've had this conversation several times with a few of my co-workers. We struggle over the snap decisions that impact our lives (and the other minions we work with) but we see that decisive people tend to move up the ladder faster. Doesn't it matter that sometimes that decisiveness creates unnecessary burden on the staff? Am I in the minority when I say I value someone who can make a well thought out decision? But I don't want you to take all day - the pendulum swings toward indeciciveness - which is not such a good quality either. It's a bit of a dillemma for me.