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When You Believe You Achieve

When you believe you achieve

  • The importance of knowing how you make decisions

As a psychologist and corporate consultant for more than 20 years, I have had numerous opportunities to work with all levels of organizations.  Every business unit of any company has various roles, titles and hierarchies:  and decision makers.

The decision-making process is an interesting phenomenon.  Everyone makes decisions, but few are aware of their personal processes that lead them to their conclusive call, let alone the decision-making levels that all of us utilize, whether we know it or not.   Factors such as expertise, experience, rank and intuition are often cited to corroborate the decision made, however it might be helpful to review and compare your decision-making process to the following template.

Decisions are made at one of the following four levels:

  1. Feel (Immediate perceptions)
  2. Do (Behaviors)
  3. Think (Information and Intelligence)
  4. Believe (Trust and Wisdom)

The order is specific and begins with the most transient (feelings) to the most stable (beliefs).

Feelings are powerful yet are the most volatile and susceptible to outside influences.  When left unchecked and run free, they often lead to destructive outcome.  The best example of this is Road Rage.

Behaviors, or the ‘Do’ stage, are often cited as the hallmark of change, however, in and of themselves are only the second level of decision making.  As important as they are, decisions made exclusively on behavioral markers are limited in their longevity as they do not necessarily convey a fundamental shift or productive growth.  This is evident by way of achieving temporary compliance without an internal shift in thinking; which is the next level of decision making.

Thinking, is the third level of decision making.  Accurate information used by highly intelligent people usually make ‘good’ decisions.  Everyone wants to make intelligent decisions based on valid and reliable information; however, Intelligence varies (Goldman’s Emotional Intelligence for example) and information is constantly being updated or replaced. Albeit, more stable than feelings and behaviors, is still not the deepest level of decision-making.

Ultimately, decisions are more often made on the individual’s beliefs, rather than on feelings, behaviors or information.  We are often unaware of this phenomenon because beliefs are so fundamental, they are buried in our psyche.  Examples of decision-making beliefs might be something like; people are fundamentally selfish, or fundamentally altruistic.  On the dark side, bigotry and prejudice, drive decision making.

Being aware of how decisions are made, by ourselves and others, can be very helpful in ensuring accuracy and productivity.  Are you making the decision based on immediate feelings? Current behavior? Information or assumed intelligence, or fundamental beliefs?

   Written by : Dr. Dave