It’s estimated that the average adult makes 35,000 decisions each day. This numbers seems contrived. Let’s just say that you make a lot of decisions each day. Most of these decisions are trivial. Do you wear the red tie or the blue tie? Do you take I-5 or the Boulevard to work? What should you eat for lunch?
If you own a business, you make about one hundred important decisions per year that determine the fate of your business.
Hiring a business manager who had a great resume; and is now pulling down your entire company.
Avoiding a troublesome client to see your competition is making millions in profits from the same client.
Choosing to let your cash sit in the bank while others use cash for winning acquisitions.
These critical decisions make or break the success of your business. What is the formula for making the best business decisions?
That’s the question I’d like to answer in this blog post.
Core Energy & Deciding
Before I answer that question, I want to take a quick detour into Core Energy™. If you want to learn about Core Energy™ you can read my blog post entitled, "What is Core Energy?". For now, we will dive right into the seven levels of Core Energy™ and how they impact your decision-making ability.
Level 1 – Victim
If you’re in a victim mindset, you’re reacting to news that you perceive is “bad news”. You may have lost a big sale; or your favorite employee just told you she’s resigning. If you make a decision while you’re in this state of mind, you’ll decide to do “nothing”. Victims dwell on the bad that’s happening and tend to sulk and retract from acting.
Level 2 – Conflict
In the conflict mindset, you’re also reacting to bad news. However, you’ll always act out of anger. This means that your decisions in this mode of thinking will be to harm the person or people who have harmed you. Nine times out of ten, this decision is a bad one that will cause more damage to you than those you had hoped to cause to others.
Level 3 – Acceptance
Acceptance is the first level where you’re not reacting negatively or positively. In fact, you’re not reacting at all. Instead, you’re ignoring negative or positive. If you make decisions in this state of mind, they’ll often be focused on whatever you had planned to do regardless of what is happening in the present.
Level 4 – Compassion
Compassion is the level that is exclusively focused on others. Deciding in compassion mode will consider the feelings and reactions of people and not necessarily the good of the organization.
Level 5 – Opportunity
Opportunity decision makers will turn negative and positive events into win/win opportunities for everyone. Most win/win decisions are not made independently, but rather with input from multiple parties. One challenge at Level 5 is that no decision will be made because the decision maker will be paralyzed with too many options.
Level 6 – Synergy
Synergy uses multiple inputs and intuition of how your decision affects the whole. My field of study is “green energy”. This is a broad topic to be sure. Renewable energy is thought by most of its adherents to be “good” for the environment. A synergistic thinker will consider the impact of “green energy” decisions on materials, manufacturing, world trade, local economies, climate change, power transmission lines, political nuances, and so many other topics. This is very rare; and is not understood by the masses who are often at lower energy levels.
Level 7 – Total Awareness
Total Awareness is more rare than synergy. It’s a state of mind that’s inventing at the same time it’s considering all the aspects of Level 6. Decisions made at this level revolutionize industries and economies.
Initially, you may think that deciding at Level 7 is a great idea. Let me add that each increase in Level of Core Energy™ requires additional time and effort to achieve that level of thought. It’s also difficult to get an entire group of people to function at Level 7 for any length of time… if at all.
In my experience, the best and most timely decisions are made at Level 5. Most people can obtain this level of energy, which allows for better decisions that can be made by a group.
Climbing the Ladder
Most decision makers will not arrive at higher energy levels on their own. There is tactic that I use to help my coaching clients make their best decisions. This exercise is called “Climbing the Ladder”. Climbing the Ladder allows my client to simulate a decision at each Core Energy™ level. I’ll share with you an example to illustrate what I’m talking about.
Francine’s engineering firm has lost an opportunity for the third time in a row with the coveted architect client, Universal Architects. Francine created a proposal that had won with other architects but was failing with Universal Architects. They picked ACME Engineers each time. Francine brings up this topic in our coaching session. I ask Francine to model this situation at each Core Energy level.
Level 1 – Victim – “If we can’t get a project with Universal Architects, I don’t see how we can call ourselves an engineering firm. We might as well give up.”
Level 2 – Conflict – “I’ll go to Universal Architects and give them a piece of my mind. How dare they continue to award work to our competitor when we deserve at least a fraction of their business. I know what I’ll do… I’ll tell Universal Architect’s customers that they’re losing out because their architectural firm is choosing favorites over value. That’ll teach ‘em.”
Level 3 – Acceptance – “We win some and we lose some. It may not be a good idea to propose to Universal Architects anymore since we never seem to win.”
Level 4 – Compassion – “I’ll visit with the principle of Universal Architects to create a better relationship. After all, people buy from people they know, like, and trust.”
Level 5 – Opportunity – “This is a great opportunity to have a brain-storming session with my team to see what we can do to improve our engineering offering. Maybe one of the ideas could be to partner with ACME Engineers to be part of the winning team.”
You can see how the Climbing the Ladder exercise quickly highlights the different decision-making modes available to the decision maker. Francine is most likely to choose Level 4 or Level 5 to make her final decision on what to do with proposals to Universal Architects.
When making critical decisions, are two heads better than one? It depends.
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.
This is what happens when employees in a company makes decisions. Each individual has natural biases that are formed by several factors. These biases result in decisions that aren’t always the best decisions for the company. Such biases as: job security, favoritism, personal benefit, cronyism, sexism, and all sorts of biases. This same dynamic exists outside of the company with friends and family.
Business Coach Objectivity
Talk about bias! You’ll hear from a coach why business coaches are the best resource to help business owners make important business decisions.
Job security’s not a problem – Yes, a business coach can get fired for telling a business owner something they don’t want to hear. No, it’s not that big of a deal for a business coach to lose one client. Why? Because most business coaches’ book 100 business coaching sessions a month. This means that losing one client is not a huge deal.
Objective view – A business coach sees the business from an unbiased viewpoint. They’re not an employee worried about position or job security. They’re not a customer who wants a better deal. They’re only interested in their advice and counsel making a positive difference in the life of their client.
Socratic Method – A business coach’s job is not to decide for the business owner; but rather to expand the thinking of the business owner to make their best decision. This’s done by asking empowering questions. These questions give the business owner the ability to see their business objectively. The Climbing the Ladder exercise is a good example expanding the thought processes of their client.
The one disadvantage that a coach has when compared with actively engaged employees is that they don’t know as much about the detail of the decision to be made. For this reason, it can be helpful to have a coach facilitate a team within the company to make important decisions. This gives you the best of both worlds. The coach can ensure that groupthink is held at bay, while employees engage their experience and knowledge in the decision-making process.
I hope you’ve learned that making important decisions at high energy levels is always preferred. I hope you’ve also learned how to incorporate a business coach in either one-on-one coaching or as a facilitator of a decision-making process. If you’d like to learn more about how I coach my business owner clients, please visit my website at www.mmbizcoach.com.