Updated: Sep 1
Making decisions that are well-informed is more critical in these post-pandemic times than it has ever been and we can see how leaders all over the world are responding in different ways. The best of them are measured, knowledgeable, humble and most importantly prepared to shift when new information is revealed or the context shifts.
In any decision-making process, the very first and critical step is to gather all the views.
This means all of the views, with no view to be considered irrelevant or unimportant. This sounds deceptively simple however we have two impediments to doing this well, the first being intellectual arrogance and the second being time pressure.
Impediment #1: Intellectual arrogance
People who know they are smart and have achieved well in their careers are all at risk of falling into the intellectual arrogance trap and it could be you. The acid test is a dogmatic attachment to your own opinion. Sometimes it’s more subtle when you think you can make decisions on behalf of other people because you know better. This is ego at its worst, shooting from the hip and making statements from your gut rather than based on facts.
Impediment #2: Being in a hurry
The second impediment is time pressure, which can also be described as expediency, urgency and stress. What is called for is patience and calm. The more we are able to approach this with ease, the clearer our thinking will be. We have time, in fact we must make time to consider all the facts, and once we have them act decisively and quickly.
In summary the first step of our decision-making process is gather all the views. As you may have gathered this requires patience and openness to listen. In Lewis Deep Democracy we call this the meta-skill of neutrality. To be able to listen openly to all views requires a level of maturity and impartiality which only comes with self-awareness and discipline. To summarise; we need humility and ease.
Antidotes to the impediments: Humility and Ease
To do our best in current times and good quality decisions that take into account wisdom from everyone we need to do the simple act of asking for and taking into consideration all viewpoints. To do this leaders need to forgo the idea that they know best, and take the time required.
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