Rules For Best Decisions

By Patrick Sharpe, Vice President of Audience Development

From the September 2019 Lessiter Link newsletter

All of us have trouble making decisions from time to time, particularly when it comes to the ones we make for LM. Decision making can be hard and complex, especially when the consequences of making the wrong decision are high or perceived to be high.

Here's a simple sequence to help guide you through your decision making.

LM Decision Tree (Base your decision on ...)

  1. What is best for LM
  2. What is best for your department
  3. What is best for your manager
  4. What is best for you

Here's why ... If you base a decision on what's best for you, you're at a much higher risk of missing the desired outcome. While it might feel right for you at the time, unintended consequences of that decision can cause all sorts of problems for LM, co-workers, your department, your manager and ultimately, yourself.

Here's a simple example of a bad decision ...

You're working on an important project with multiple deliverables and departments and your task is due by end of day Friday. The final project is scheduled to be executed at noon on Monday.

It's late Friday afternoon, and your task is still not done (due to reasons that both legitimate and not), but you've got big weekend plans and want to leave early. "It's not really due until Monday, so I'll just hand in the project early Monday morning," you tell yourself and leave.

Monday rolls around, and you get to work expecting to finish the project first thing. But you have two unexpected fires to put out before finishing up your project. You hand it to your co-workers hours later than your best intentions the previous Friday.

Maybe your teammates shifted their workloads and even delivered the project on time. No harm, no foul, right? Not so.

Your co-workers knew your task was due Friday and you delivered it late. They complained to you and let the other departments know you were late. Delay caused disruption and stress as they had to move other projects around to meet the deadline and had to take a shortcut somewhere else to put time back on the clock. It tarnished your reputation as well as that of your department and manager.

If you were following the decision tree, you'd have based your decision first on what was best for the company and those relying on you to deliver the project on time (if not Friday, then sometime over the weekend) and kept the project moving. Your department, manager and your own reputation would have remained unquestioned.

If you go through the decision tree sequence, you will almost always make the right decision for LM. And it will have the greatest and most positive impact for LM and all your co-workers.