Do Your Decisions Boldly Shout FOR or AGAINST?

Trigger Question 52

“I am for being against that!” (Created by Roare)

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Have you ever wondered why, once you have made a decision, you don’t always feel excited by it or motivated to execute on it? Surely, you’ve noticed this at work as well, in how people react to decisions already made. Sometimes they are positive and enthusiastic. And sometimes not.

Do you think their reaction depends on whether they agree with the decision made? You could be right. But there is also a gloomier explanation.

When we decide, we are in fact making two decisions. We are deciding for and we are deciding against. Think about it. If you make a yes decision, then at the same time you are also making a no decision. You are deciding against all other options.

Consider the last time you bought a new smart phone, a new laptop, or a new car. How many other smart phones and laptops and cars did you not buy? You decided against them. You turned them down. (And you possibly set the scene for buyer’s remorse.)

Clearly, much of our decision-making is less a matter of if-this-then-that and more a case of if-this-then-NOT-that.

It can demoralize you if you wonder whether a decision made has shut out other opportunities and possible better options. The same happens to other people. No surprise, then, that your colleagues and subordinates are often less supportive and enthusiastic about your decisions.

And if they often feel that way, then I wonder what sort of decision-maker you are. Do you habitually lead with YES or with NO? People on the receiving end obviously find one style less motivating than the other.

Yes, I know, sometimes you must decide with a firm NO. Probably more often than you would like to. But this has really less impact on the mood and motivation of others than you might think. What matters more is how you present your yes or no decision.

You see, colleagues and subordinates will feel more motivated, and thus more supportive of your decision, if you present your decision as a clear FOR something rather than a firm AGAINST something else.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.

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