"become very conscious of every choice you make today so you can begin to make smarter choices moving forward." darren hardy, author, "The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster", "The Compound Effect" & publisher "Success" magazine
It's interesting to learn about people's perceptions about their ability to make Smarter Choices...some are proud of their track record of Smarter Choices, or, successful 'throw caution to the wind' attitude / behavior. Others acknowledge their track record may not be as stellar. Usually, for those where the level of confidence is lower, the lack of confidence is usually impacted by a previous negative experience gone awry. Either way, it's not realistic to achieve 100% success in your "Smart" Choices.
For years, my EARLY teenage son and daughter (13 & 14) have been hearing from me, their mom, adult influences, and teachers "it's all about choices". Yet, as much as I'd love to apply this to my own off-spring that's a WHOLE DIFFERENT blog onto itself since studies and research have revealed the brain for teenagers is vastly different than adult brains...or, at least that's what we like to believe...
So, let me migrate to the corporate version of "Smarter Choices"...for adults.
When we go to the adult-end of the brain swimming pool and apply Smarter Choices to the team dynamic that's where it gets dicey. After all, it's usually the adult decisions being made that impact the team dynamic and since teams involve human beings...
This blog explores how we can make Smarter Choices...ON PURPOSE!...and do so while maintaining positive team dynamics!
Smarter Choices in Calm or Turbulent Skies
Self admission. I do NOT like to fly and do so with a sense of dread. I flew for years as part of my corporate role and never had issue with it. It wasn't toward the end of my corporate run that my mindset / psyche toward flying changed. Perhaps it was the experience of flying THROUGH a severe storm above the Atlanta airport BEFORE we could land that sealed my fate. The 12-14 minutes of severe turbulence was enough for me.
This analogy - FLYING THROUGH SEVERE TURBULENCE - can be applied to making Smarter Choices...we make decisions when things are great...smooth...no turbulence and, we'll have to make decisions while "flying THROUGH" severe turbulence. EACH scenario has its own behavioral dynamics and, as a result, its unique outcomes.
Smarter Choices Framework
For those who have been reading my blogs you might have picked up I like easy-to-remember frameworks to apply knowledge. Smarter Choices is no different. I prefer the NAME! CLAIM! AIM! framework and apply it to decision making. (SEE: NAME! CLAIM! AIM!)
Objective: Identify your Motivation Value System (MVS) AND strengths and put them to words that resonate and are core to you.
First, in the case of "Smarter Choices" it's important to understand what motivates us to make good choices! In other words, we need to be able to NAME! how we're motivated to make choices.
Recently, New York Times columnist David Brooks, wrote an OP-ED, “The Choice Explosion”. He discussed the dramatic rise of choices available to us and how, despite having more options, we don’t choose as well as we should or could. The evidence is palpable — corporate mergers failing to create value, surging consumer debt, and people who are miserable in their chosen careers, to name a few. Brooks argues we need lessons in "self-awareness" in order to make good choices.
This blog is an AFFIRMATIVE support for tools to assess people's wiring. In this case, an assessment that impacts decision making - the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI)! The SDI assessment allows people to NAME! their motives and strengths that ultimately shape their choices. As a result, doing so will provide greater self-awareness that will lead to Smarter Choices.
EVERYONE has a MVS - what motivates us. Smarter Choices are usually influenced by the following area(s): People, Performance or Process. Each of us can make Smarter Choices according to those areas or a combination.
EVERYONE also have unique strengths that lend themselves to team success - WITH a CAVEAT - as long as the strengths are NOT over-used. (SEE: The TWO Sides of Gifts...)
Objective: Appreciate the power and opportunities your MVS gives you AND accept responsibility for it.
One way motives shape our choices is by filtering the information we receive. In other words, our motives influence our perception and the choices we make are based on that perception.
We can CLAIM! our MVS AND TALENTS - to understand and appreciate what motivates us and how our talents show up. MVS and our deployment of our talents help us tune out distractions and zero in on opportunities to make Smarter Choices.
For example, when making a choice we see opportunities to help others, or, focus on ways to act quickly / get things done, or, work to restore order / objectivity, and/or, a combination. The SDI Assessment will indicate which motives are driving you AND how, in combination with your unique strengths, may play out when things are going great and when you're under pressure.
Objective: "LIVE IN" to your MVS AND strengths by identifying specific actions to "flex" to better respond to Smarter Choices situations as they arise.
“Make Smarter Choices,” is a hollow platitude if we have not taken time to NAME! & CLAIM! how we make Smarter Choices. Without the reflection, assessment, or self-awareness we tend to agree with the sentiment "make Smarter Choices" without stopping to ask what it really means, how it applies to us, or, how to do it consistently.
Once motives / strengths are identified, appreciated, and understood, behavior can be "AIMed" (directed) to make Smarter Choices. After all, motives shape our choices. It’s the positive intent (helping, achieving or clarifying) behind our motives that gives us a sense of "correctness" or "conviction" about our choice(s).
The Power of Positive Intent
Getting back to David Brooks, and his OP-ED, he mentions the "importance of assuming positive intentions" in others.
SDI helps us learn how to assume positive intent. It starts with self-awareness (NAME!), and requires a next step: other's-awareness (appreciation and understanding what motivates us). When teams experience the SDI together and members talk about their MVS’s, they learn to ASSUME positive intent — to START with the belief others have good intentions.
HOW TO APPLY THIS...
Any time you see a behavior or choice that bothers you (i.e. makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up with a hint of frustration), ask yourself “What's this person’s MVS?”
Example: a colleague does something frustrating. Before jumping toward a negative conclusion, ask yourself "How is his action been intended to inspire others to FILL-IN-THE-BLANK (helping, achieving, or clarifying)?" In other words, a question that reflects their MVS. Chances are you’ll discover something in the answer that indicates positive intent.
Learning nugget! If you cannot find any positive intent, then you should ask the person directly why they are acting the way they are. A conversation with another person, especially if you know their MVS, can help you discover positive intent and strengthen the relationship overall.
Making Smarter Choices corresponds with positive intent. Assume most choices are positively intended — and I believe they are — then we need to NAME! the foundational motives and values (aka MVS) influencing the choices.
Is There Such a Thing As Negative Intent?
I’ve never met a person who says they have "negative intent." I have, however, met people who've said they "felt threatened" and as a result, felt they were "in conflict." As such, they were acting to defend themselves against what they perceived as a threat.
In that case, the challenge then becomes their focus and narrows as they get into the deeper stages of conflict. (SEE: Conflict...ON Purpose!)
What we need, and this requires self-awareness, is find our way back to our MVS — where we’ll make our Smarter Choices. Brooks concluded in “The Choice Explosion" OP-ED “We need lessons in self-awareness.” He’s right — and SDI is the resource! NAME! CLAIM! & AIM!
My best to your quest!
Other "On Purpose" Blogs!
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted relationships where individuals, teams and leaders NAME, CLAIM and AIM their gifts to achieve optimum performance.
Interested to Learn About Yourself or Your Team? Mark is a Certified CliftonStrengths Coach and TotalSDI Facilitator and happy to discuss your situation / team.
About Mark Myette
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted
Based out Roam - Buckhead - 3365 Piedmont Rd NE, Suite 1400 (2nd Floor), Atlanta, GA 30305
Can meet at other Roam locations if appropriate: Alpharetta; Dunwoody; or Galleria