Posted in writing

Six Ways to Decide Wisely

  1. Go to the source. If you don’t, you could be getting distorted information.
    1. Make it routine
    2. Develop permanent sources
    3. Find out whose driving (go to the right source, despite the title)
    4. Empathy is essential


  1. Fill the room with barbarians; listen to all sides ofthe argument from those who are passionate about their side in it
    1. Require full participation; no one is allowed not to have a recommendation
    2. Forbid carryover; there is no carry over from one vote to another
    3. Seek diversity of opinions
    4. Quash the pocket veto; everyone who agrees must also agree to follow the chosen path


  1. Conquer the fear of risk
    1. You can’t schedule inventions; your schedule must be flexible to allow them when they come
    2. Identify who really drives the risk; conventional wisdom? fear?
    3. Reward people for taking small risks
    4. Test the waters before taking the plunge
    5. Create a risk-tolerant environment
    6. Ask, “what would it take?”


  1. Make vision your daily guide
    1. Get the vision right
    2. Convert the Vision into priority objectives
    3. Stay flexible


  1. Listen with purpose
    1. Are you listening carefully?
    2. Ask the right questions
    3. Challenge assumptions
    4. Remember the implementers


  1. Be transparent
    1. Be consistent
    2. Dramatize consistent decisions
    3. Don’t forget to follow up
    4. Conduct post mortems

Reference: Zeckhauswer, B. & Sandoski, A. (2008). HOW THE WISE DECIDE: The Lessons of 21 Extraordinary Leaders. New York: Crown Business Publications



Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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