This is part two of a five-part series on the importance of Behavioral Experience, and the impact it can have on our professional lives. Read part one.

As author CS Lewis once said, we live in a world where every road forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork, there are decisions to be made. But, most of his characters lived in a Wonderland. Out here in the real world, decision-making is not as easy as following the rabbit.

Decisions, decisions. We all make them. Whether you are talking to your customers, your stakeholders, your teams or even yourselves - in front of the mirror, decision-making is a pivotal part of your daily lives. Especially, in your journey as a working professional, it can create momentum just as quickly as it can bring things to a screeching halt.

We create road-maps with every decision we take. Sometimes, we treat them as if they are our blind dates with destinies. It is because we are not always in control of what happens. Unsure if these decisions are going to have the desired impact, we turn to haste and lose the plot of the consequences.

"Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision"
Peter Drucker

Decision vs Destiny

Would you rather believe in decisions or destinies? Which one do you think has a better chance of giving you the best possible life experience? The plain truth is that we cannot be sure if it will work out the way we want it to.

For instance, think of a client-facing decision you have had to take in the recent past. I am certain you would have had to answer a few of these questions.

  • What is the biggest competitive differentiation I can highlight?
  • When should I talk about the other partnership opportunities?
  • Should I connect them with the sales head as soon as I can?

Perhaps, you are on the verge of deciding on a prospective service vendor. I imagine you have had to ask yourself a different set of questions.

  • Do they have a list of reputable clients?
  • How quickly will the vendor be able to finish the project?
  • Should I double-check the references, just in case?

First and foremost, once you have taken the decision - it is important to come to terms with it and get going in the direction it has created for you. At times, things might go wrong down the road, and you may convince yourself that the blame should squarely fall on the domino effect of a poor decision.

But, like how goals need to be adjusted based on the environmental changes, it is your responsibility to rework decisions. When the situation calls for it, corrective actions must be taken. Even a quick change in plans or a fresh start. The best part of the decision-making process is that you will learn from it, irrespective of the quality of the results.

Not every candidate, customer or vendor will pan out the way you had intended them to, but it does not mean that it can be attributed to a single decision. You must ask yourself if there is anything you could have done after you realized that the expected experience was unlikely.

After all, “what is the point of having freedom, if you do not have the freedom to make mistakes and learn from it”.

How to make hard choices | Ruth ChangWatch Video

Aim for the head, touch the heart, go for the gut

Decisions must integrate the three elements. The head (represents logic), the heart (emotions), and the gut (impulsiveness/intuition). While the brain is the source for all three, it is good to separate them so that you are aware that there are individual factors that should be considered.

When you decide carefully and consciously by using all these elements, you are empowered to create success. More importantly, to keep it.

It is also pertinent to avoid emotional tagging of your decision-making processes. Like how you tag your friends on Facebook, your brain tags emotions to every decision too. It instantly recalls previous instances that had these exact tags and the outcomes that came from it. While it can provide information on likely scenarios, you cannot assume that two similar events, at different time periods, will give the same outcome - based on similarity of the decision.

"Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach"
Tony Robbins

Learn and grow

Effective decision-making happens to be one of the most vital leadership competencies in any domain or industry. The reason for it is that as you grow in your career – your decisions are expected to get sharper, more focused and success-oriented. In fact, inhibitors such as overthinking and being highly influenced by emotions are known to be traits of a non-effective leader.

The good news is that it can be developed and improved upon. There are various schools of thoughts that can guide you through the experience of what it means to take a constructive decision-making. From Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Six Principles of Persuasion to Jonah Lehrer’s neurological explanations on How We Decide, there is a sea of material out there.

If you are wondering about which one to start with, here is some advice to help you in taking that decision.

Don’t go in search of the rabbit!

Evaluate, decide, learn and grow… today.

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