decisions

HOW LEADERS MAKE DECISIONS

I’m almost finished writing my book on Decision Making titled How Leaders Make Decisions, and I wanted to give you a little taste of what the book will be about.  If you enjoy what you’re reading please share on social media!  Thanks and enjoy!

On Monday, May 24th, 2010 I was driving on my way to work as the Director of an Early Childhood Education Center. Before I headed down the road I inserted a personal development series on CD called Born to Win by Zig Ziglar for my fifteen minute commute. He started the series by asking the audience five questions, and these questions made such an impact on my life that I will ask you the same questions. Here they are:

  • How many of you absolutely believe that there is something you can do within the next two weeks that will make your life in every area completely worse?
  • How many of you believe there’s something you can do that will make it better?
  • How many of you believe that decision is yours?
  • How many of you believe that every decision has an end result?
  • How many of you believe that making right decisions is your responsibility?

As I listened to those questions I couldn’t help but answer ‘yes’ to all of the questions.

And then he dropped the bomb.

“If you just answered yes to all of those questions then this is what you just told yourself. No matter how good or bad your past has been. No matter how good or bad your present currently is. There is something that you can specifically do right now that will make your life either better or worse and the decision is yours.”

Now, if you were like me and you answered yes to all of those questions then it means something very powerful. With your decision making ability you have the power to determine how far and how fast you want to go in life. And that is really a big deal.

BUT THERE’S A PROBLEM.

We as human beings are notorious for making poor decisions. Let’s look at some different areas of life.

Let’s talk about Career Decisions for a moment. As I was reading the Washington Post I came across some interesting new data from Jaison Abel and Richard Dietz of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The vast majority of U.S. college grads work in jobs that aren’t strictly related to their degrees:

The authors estimated that just 27 percent of college grads had a job that was closely related to their major.  That means that 73 percent of college grads DID NOT have a job that was closely related to their major.

Let’s talk about “graduate degrees” specifically because there may be some people reading this thinking to themselves that the statistics have got to be better when we are discussing graduate school.

I won’t get into specifics about all industries because the patterns seem to be prevalent throughout all industries, but let’s look at Law School, Pastors, and Teachers.

As of February 3rd, 2017, there are 32,757 applicants for the 2017–2018 academic year.

According to analysis from the Wall Street Journal, only 55% of class law school grads were employed full-time as lawyers nine months after graduation. The other 45% may be unemployed, working at Starbucks or starting their own blogs about how they hate law school.

Another study estimates that approximately 1,500 pastors leave their assignments each month, due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention within their local congregations.

When it comes to teachers, Researchers estimate that over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, and between 40 and 50 percent quit within five years.

So we have a few examples of poor career decisions when it comes to which careers to choose.

Let’s talk about personal decisions because this gets really interesting.

If I asked you how many people do you think save for retirement what would you say. What would you guess?

Let me give you some statistics that will blow your mind.

  • The average American retires at age 63.
  • The average retirement lasts 18 years, but many last much longer.
  • You’ll need $1,060,751 in savings if you expect to draw $5,000 per month for 30 years, assuming 6% annual investment returns and 2% inflation. Depending on how much income you expect from your savings, adjust this amount higher or lower to come up with your retirement “number.”
  • The average 50 year old has $42,797 saved.
  • The average net worth of a 55-64 year old is $45,447.
  • 45% of Americans have saved nothing for retirement, including 40% of Baby Boomers.
  • 38% don’t actively save for retirement at all.
  • 20% of Americans tap into their 401(k) assets early, either through a loan or withdrawal.
  • 80% of Americans between the ages of 30 and 54 believe they will not have enough saved for retirement.

Americans know they won’t have enough money, but still won’t save.


The vast majority of those in the prime of their careers are aware they have a problem with their retirement savings.

Let’s talk about something else because that was hard to swallow.

Let’s talk about relationship decisions.

A study shows about 6 in 10 people have stayed in relationships they didn’t find fulfilling, according to The Daily Mail. The reason? They’re used to compromising — even when their partner cheated, disrespected them, or lied.

That’s 60%!

As you can see, MOST people just decide WRONG about what to do in their career, what to do with their money, and who to get involved with in relationships.

I said most, not all.

There’s lots of people with lots of regrets.

90% of people say they have a major regret about a decision they made in life according to the Huffington Post. Regret is the second most frequently mentioned emotion after love.

What do we have regrets about? Romance, family, education, career, finance. The more choices we have, the more regret we have about what we chose.

We feel the most regret about missed chances or missed opportunities. In the long-run, we’re more likely to regret things we didn’t do than things we did do.

Why is that? Our psychological immune system helps us recover from bad experiences quicker than we assume, thanks to our ability to rationalize and reframe how we see things.

But it’s harder to use these tricks to get over never having tried something in the first place.

So why do we have such a difficult time making right, good, sound decisions?

That’s my aim in this book. That’s my goal. To help you understand the different types of decisions that are out there.

To help you understand that there are pitfalls out there that will attempt to put you in harms way, make the wrong choice, and, in some cases, take years to recover.

After identifying different types of decisions, and understanding the pitfalls that sabotage making quality decisions, I will give you a Decision Making Process proven to help you make better decisions in all areas of life.

By the end of the book, you will have a good understanding of how to make better decisions. You still have to make them, but at least you’ll will be informed on HOW LEADERS MAKE DECISIONS.

 

These Young Managers, Who Do They Think They Are?

“He doesn’t have a lot of experience managing people. Do you think he can do the job?”

I remember being a young manager of a small business.  I was 26 and most of the people working in the company were my senior.  Even though I was qualified for the position I still felt as though I didn’t have the respect that the position required.

This is a tough position for anyone to be in

So I started asking questions to some of my coworkers, and people I was responsible to manage.

Here’s a couple questions:

  • I’m feeling like you don’t listen to my insights when it comes to your project, is there something wrong with our relationship?
  • When I’m talking to you about your work I feel like you’re not listening, and to me it comes off a little disrespectful.  Is everything okay with me as your manager or is there something bothering you about me?

Some of them expressed frustration about being managed by someone so young that didn’t have years of experience.

Were their frustrations grounded? 

How effective are newly appointed managers compared to the older and more seasoned folks they replace?

I assumed veteran managers would prove to be the more effective leaders. But the data surprised me.

Younger leaders are better at six things.

Here’s what we found:

  1. Welcome change. The younger leaders embraced change. They did a great job of marketing their new ideas.

They had the courage to make difficult changes. Possibly their lack of experience caused them to be more optimistic about proposals for change.

It was as if they did not know that changes would be hard to make happen. They possessed the courage to take on significant changes and were more willing to be the champions of change projects.

  1. Inspiring behavior. Younger leaders knew how to get others energized and excited about accomplishing objectives.

They were able to inspire others to high levels of effort and production to a even greater degree than their more experienced counterparts. Their older colleagues tended to more often lead with “push” while they lead with “pull.”

  1. Receptive to Feedback. Young leaders were extremely open to feedback. They more frequently asked for feedback.

They wanted more extensive feedback regarding their performance, and they found ways to both digest and implement the feedback. Older leaders tend to be less willing to ask for and respond to feedback from colleagues.

  1. Continuous Improvement.  It may be the result of the fact that they have less invested in the past, but the younger leaders were more willing to challenge the status quo.

They were constantly looking for innovative ways to accomplish work more efficiently and with higher quality.

  1. Results Focused.  Young leaders will do everything possible to accomplish objectives.

They have a high need for achievement and will put every ounce of energy and effort they have into achieving their goals.

In contrast, when someone has been in an organization for a long period of time, it is easy to become complacent and to see the status-quo as sufficient.

  1. Elevate Goals.  The younger leaders were more willing to set stretch goals.

Some older leaders have learned to sandbag a goal so they don’t have to work too hard or run the risk of falling short of a goal.

Younger leaders were more prone to set stretch goals and inspire their team strive to achieve difficult tasks.

Every organization will need younger managers to fill in the vacancies left by their long-term predecessors. Understanding and leveraging the many strengths of this younger group creates a big opportunity, higher performance, and productivity.

While younger leaders have challenges that will require focused effort and leadership development to overcome, they bring tremendous assets to the organization.

They may likely be one of the most under recognized and under utilized resources in our organizations today.

Thanks for reading,

-Tom

 

Contributors: Thomas Nestor, Forbes, Joseph Folkman