Avoiding the Peril of Fast Decision Making from a Hectic Life

“So what are you going to be doing this weekend?” I asked.

“This Sunday, after church, I will spend the afternoon sitting in my easy chair and thinking,” my friend Price Harding said.

Price is the best executive recruiter and one of the finest advisors I have ever met. In this conversation, he gave me an insight into one of his secrets of success.

Sitting with Your Self

“What do you mean you are going to sit in your chair and think?” I asked.

“I have three situations I need to think through. So I get quiet. I get comfortable. Then I sit and think through each of the situations and the possible scenarios,” he said.

Price and I had this conversation over ten years ago. As you can see, I never forgot it. It has had a big impact on my life and business.

The Equal Weight Dilemma

Sometimes I run too fast. When I get into this pace, the need to make decisions accelerates. Sadly, I often make decisions to match the pace. When this happens, the issues I must decide on begin to carry equal weight. Not good.

Some issues require deeper thought and analysis. For these, I set aside thinking time, just like my friend Price. With notebook in hand, I sit in my recliner, get quiet and think.

Seven Steps to Deep Thinking

Here’s how I go about it.

  1. Ask God to clear my mind and help me focus.
  2. Ask God for wisdom and discernment.
  3. Define the problem I am trying to solve. (This is a critical step.)
  4. Think through the people involved. Who they are, their motivations and their goals. (The issue and opportunity is always about people.)
  5. Define the elements of the problem. I think through past meetings, what was said at those meetings, what I’ve read, experiences I’ve had, and conversations with people outside the issue.
  6. Develop possible scenarios and play them out in my mind.
  7. Come to a conclusion or course of action. I must be comfortable going to the next step. Either act or gather information and set a new appointment to think through the process again.

Life’s pace has increased for me. With phone in hand, I am the picture of distracted. Before the internet, I used to sit at my desk in my home office and just think. Remembering that conversation with Price reminds me I still must do this to be effective.

Now all I need is a good cigar.

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