ImageI tried coming up with a catchy title but found that simple stating the word was enough.  It is fair to say that everyone likes freedoms.  Whether this is to chart your destiny or to deliver a certain outcome.  Speaking for myself I have told many a client that if they want to achieve there goals, and they have confirmed trust in me, to get out of the way and allow me to make (magic) it happen.  Very-very few permit this to occur out of fear that the ability to achieve an outcome is overshadowed by a certain corner of mistrust that remains in the minds.  So then we have to discuss what concessions that I will make (permitted barriers) and what ones they are willing to do.  Looking back on these I have found that history, while a great teacher, is also a demon that continually assaults trust.

Creators of Indecision

ImageIf the biggest reason for indecision is the self-imposed expectation that the answer has to be perfect. Unless you have a crystal ball or some inside information it is unlikely that your answer even then will be spot on.  I have worked with consultants who character phrase is “it depends”.  Answers like that leave me cold and in fact a bit agitated but it gives me absolutely nothing more than I have for information at present.  Project managers that I have worked with are undecided on how much longer the project will take and may even be unable to articulate what their present status is.  In part, this is caused by the demon of indecision but more likely its because they don’t have control of their project.  Specific outcomes must be driven and not permitted to free range.  Even more damaging is the lack of actions (a different form of indecision) whereby remedial actions can be taken or increase emphasis can be shifted to adjoining action activities.  No one is immune to indecision.  Even management suffers from this and just about every respected leader are ones that are willing to make decisive decisions, good or bad and appropriately responsive rather than opting for delay.

The Root

ImageThe start to overcoming indecision is a commanding understanding of the environment we are working from.  Casting aside the superfluous things and focusing our undivided attention to those aspects that drive, influence and facility positive results from the decision making process.  With this command one can then address the information, which may require added conditioning, to narrow issues of inaccuracies and false assumptions.  All of this is to achieve a level of comfort about the decisions we make.  I do suggest that critical decisions, either at the time of your first real step forward or for key/instrumental decisions be subjected to critical secondary review by someone else (either direct benefactors, unbiased parties or both).

Barter Kings

ImageWhether it be a contract or a service I have had to make decisions.  Since I am responding to a request I should know what to propose and what it will take in terms of money and effort.  The decision then opens the door for our first insight into whether we are spot on or whether we are some distance from a mutual agreement.  Just because you are a bit off doesn’t mean, if there is mutual interest, that the gap can’t be narrowed.  As the one providing the service you must recognize and understand the other party’s issues surround the gap difference.  At the sametime, and this isn’t always easy given the single focus on a particular need, the client must consider the impact influence on you.  This is partially tempered by respect, trust and possibly past history but even these elements will not simply close the gap… the gap must be closed through compromise.  If there is any hope in achieving a cooperative relationship keenly focused on achieving objectives must be harrowed within the offering and only influenced by these previously mentioned factors.

Just Say No

ImageManaging indecision involves knowing when to say NO.  While it may be work or a business decision it has its limits.  The tone of the interaction may very well make the NO a whole lot easier.  On the other hand saying NO means that one must take a difference course whether it be the reshaping of the item being decided upon or possibly seeking alternatives that you may be less familiar with.   Saying NO admits an impasse, something that cannot be overcome.  It means that one or both of the parties cannot move beyond a certain point.  During a review of 50 odd impasse cases 57% (28 situations) were less about insurmountable difference but rather the inability to look at constructive alternatives as a gap measuring event.

A profound example is when a customer comes to you with a service request with a definitive delivery need.  Under closer examination we discover that its impossible to achieve their delivery goal.  Our inclination is to say NO and this is what it will require (and unfortunately even then our estimate is founded on everything happening as planned.  This is seldom the case).  But we fail to recognize that what is being asked for by a particular undoable date may have alternatives.  Possibly a critical component partial delivery with the remaining work to be provided within an acceptable post period might be a possible.  This assumes two things; the first being the willingness to compromise and the second being a definitive command on the ability to deliver under this plan.  There is no room for vacillation, when they meet you part way you best make it happen without exception.

The Young and the Restless

ImageBeware… there are those that take on making decisions but lack credible evidence that they are doing this wisely.  Even worse is when those making decisions are relying on a successful decision and using that to base all future decision credibility on.  Each and every decision has risk and a level of impact.  The bigger the risk and the higher the impact the more protection we must provide around the decision.  Whether this be alternative choices or stop gap measures a definitive pre-defined notion must be ready to be turned on at a moments notice.

Indecision has a close relative… procrastination.  Procrastination is an acute form of indecision whereby we defer making a decision with hope that it will simply work itself out.  I’m sure you have all seen cases of this and when it does or doesn’t occur the really bad indecisive people will lay claim to the outcome.  Indecision on the other hand is more the case of a lack of confidence or the inability of the person.  They really would like, and this represents the majority of people, to make a decision but feel inadequate in make it.  These individuals have hope and they can be developed to take and make decisions.  Possibly it through limiting how much decision making power they have, sometimes it can also be achieved through training and mentoring/coaching.  None the less there is hope, there is possibilities and there are good reason to make decisions…. it charts our destiny.