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It is not just what you think, but how you think that matters

The daily juggling of data, reports, email, meetings, decisions, and way too much information makes it difficult to cope and results in leaders running on autopilot. We see these zoned out and inattentive leaders struggling to lead their teams and team members, as well as themselves. Many are so consumed with firefighting activities that few realize these fires have been caused by the bad decisions and choices they have made. Thus the cycle of stress-induced poor decision making is perpetuated by the stress of course correcting for the unanticipated results from previous poor decisions.

No wonder so many leaders operate in a mind full mode. This is not good. A more effective method is to make decisions in a mindful mode. Fortunately, this is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and ingrained.

Leaders are paid to make decisions and to ensure the execution of their decisions. And to course correct whenever a wrong decision is made or unexpected results occur from what was deemed a correct decision at the time.

Leaders spend an exorbitant amount of time in the decision-making process, deliberating the pros and cons of multiple options, analyzing potential outcomes, and trying to anticipate or measure the probable costs and impact of their decisions.

In an interview published by Inc. Magazine (May 2018), Stanford decision analysis expert Michelle Florendo shared five mistakes people make when facing hard choices:

  1. Spending too much time in the research phase.
  2. Not giving yourself enough time to learn how to make great decisions.
  3. Confusing the quality of the decision with the quality of the outcome.
  4. Mistaking your options as fixed and binary.
  5. Getting stuck in a perfectionism trap.

Every business and every organization runs on thinking. Every leader makes decisions and acts as a result of his or her thinking processes. Hence — and this is very important in the information overload world in which all leaders operate — it is not just what you think, but how you think that makes a difference in the outcomes you generate.

This article is partially excerpted from my award-winning book Better Decisions Better Thinking Better Outcomes: How to go from Mind Full to Mindful Leadership, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.

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