Monthly Archive for July, 2005

Decisions Build Careers

Do you dislike making decisions? Do you frequently have to kick yourself in the backside before you will face issues and make decisions? And then do you worry on and on about the choices you have made?

Take heart. You have plenty of company. How many times have your projects been brought to a grinding halt by someone failing to make a decision? How many people do you know who avoid making decisions?

Management psychologists Irving L. Janis and Leon Mann say people tend to be “reluctant decision makers” because they are “beset by conflict, doubts and worry.” These career counselors explain that we “seek relief by procrastinating, rationalizing and denying responsibility” in making choices.

Job Tip: But hold up before you sink into the warm cocoon of it’s-okay-everybody-does-it.

Organizations cannot succeed without good decision-makers. Organizations reward those men and women who are willing and able to fill those roles.

Therefore, opportunities are available for those who are able to come to grips with decision-making. It’s the very essence of management. Success depends on being confident and reasonably comfortable with the process. Of course, success also requires a good batting average of right decisions. That doesn’t mean you have to be right all of the time; it means be right more often than wrong.

Why Do People Shy Away From Decisions?

There are many reasons people dislike making decisions.

All decisions encompass some degree of irrevocability. Once a decision has been made there is no returning to square one. There is a price tag attached to every decision. Important decisions can be breeding ground for conflict. There are bound to be winners and losers.

Decisions expose us to attention. Decisions mean accepting the risk of being wrong and paying the price of embarrassment or worse.

You may lack confidence in our ability to make decisions. You may not believe others will follow you. You may not know how to make decisions.

These facts of life breed the kinds of stress that make some people so uncomfortable they had rather let others call the shots and take home the rewards. Some are willing to stick their heads in the sand, leaving the issue go unresolved.

Job Tips: How To Make Better Decisions

You can improve your tolerance for making decisions and do a better job at it by embracing a few common sense job tips.

Realize that although each decision carries with it certain consequences, no outcome is likely to be the raging success or the unmitigated catastrophe you tend to imagine.

You will not be a good decision maker if your goal is always to avoid losing rather than always trying to win. Nobody can expect to be right 100 percent of the time. Besides, you don’t always have to be right in order to come out an overall winners.

Don’t be defensive about decisions that turn out to be wrong. When you are wrong, and you will be from time to time, admit it and go on. Don’t look back, except to learn from your mistakes.

Don’t get hung up waiting for all of the facts. Satisfy yourself that you understand the issue and have weighed all of the options. Test the alternative solutions among those who know the situation and will be impacted by the decision. Then decide, then act.

Trust your intuition. Hunches are not random bolts out of the blue. They are rooted in all the knowledge and experience you have accumulated in general.

Break down decisions into smaller, manageable parts. Resolve the parts one at a time.

Resist being pressured into making a decision before you are ready. All problems do not require immediate answers. Sometimes issues resolve themselves or just go away.

Job Tip: Check all decisions against your own set of values. Ask yourself, “Does this decision square up with my own moral and ethical values?”

Career Advice: Make decisions to grow

The choice is yours. Make a decision today.

Are You Having Fun At Work?

Such qualities as loyalty, energy, intelligence and hard work are consensus career advice of what it takes to build a successful career.

However, same career counseling holds that there is another essential ingredient that is too often overlooked. That is having fun on the job.

You’ve heard the axiom, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Well, it is true.

A macho point of view is the order of the day among some ambitious careerists. It expresses itself through a sort of masochistic drive to work more hours than the next fellow, never take a vacation and otherwise reject the idea that work can be fun.

Jon Neulinger, author of The Psychology of Leisure states flatly, “Those not interested in doing anything but work are not likely to be CEOs.

Job Tip: Fun Increases Productivity

Studies show that a sense of humor, in proper dosage, can boost creativity and productivity, as well as take the air out of tense situations.

It can help you land the job you want. One study revealed Nearly 100 percent of over 700 chief executive officers surveyed preferred job candidates who have a sense of humor over those who don’t.

A clinical psychiatrist at Stanford University has found that a good laugh raises the pulse and blood pressure and releases adrenaline into the system. The lungs expand and torso muscles expand and contract. After laughter, the blood pressure and heart rate return to normal. Laughter is said to be like jogging in place.

Leaders use humor to communicate goals and motivate their followers.

That’s why the late Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, the giant retailer, was willing to put on a hula skirt and dance down Wall Street when Wal-Mart employees met a challenge he had laid down.

Job Tip: It is not necessary to be another Johnny Carson to provoke a rejuvenating laugh or enjoy a joke. Lighten up. Be willing to laugh at yourself. See and tolerate absurdities on the job. They do exist and they are not necessarily the end of the world.

Tommy May, CEO of Simmons First National Bank, who is an arch conservative in business matters, put humor to work to motivate workers in a United Way campaign by letting his chief competitor throw a chocolate pie in his face when the May-led team came in second in raising money.

Heed the wisdom of Mark Twain: “…the law of work…the higher the pay in enjoyment the worker gets out of it, the higher shall be his pay in money also.”

Wise Career Counsel: It all comes down to the advice from one sage observer who said, “Get happiness out of your work or you may never know what happiness is.”