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What to Do...When You Don't Know What to Do

Leaders are constantly making decisions. 

Some of them are easy, like where to take the team to lunch, and some of them are incredibly hard, like budget cuts and layoffs. With so many decisions, it’s easy to get paralyzed out of the fear of making the wrong choice, or simply not being able to see the best option.

In this episode, Tricia and I talk with Jeff Shinabarger, the CEO of Plywood People, a former leader at Catalyst, and a successful author.

He'll talk about how to make better decisions as leaders, including understanding how to make the right choices even in difficult circumstances, discovering our decision-making style, and using that style to benefit our teams and organizations.


Here are some takeaways he shared:


1. You daily decisions shape who you are and determine your success.

The decisions you make have the power to sustain you. Remember, decisions made in work affect those in life, and those in life affect those in work.

We eventually become known by the things we say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to. And we make 8-12 decisions per year that will determine the success or failure of our business that year.

In those moments, be aware of how what might seem like short-term decisions can have a long-lasting impact.

2. If you make gut, emotional decisions, it's okay to take some time and think about it.

Especially when you’re making major decisions, there’s nothing wrong with asking for 20 minutes to take a walk. Or simply saying, ‘Let me think about that overnight and I’ll answer tomorrow.’

Get more information and data. Ask for the report.

Taking time isn’t a sign of an indecisive leader. It's actually a smart way to make major decisions.

3. Think about your decisions through the lens of your whole person.

In other words, when making choices, how will each choice affect all aspects of your life? If it's a business or career decision, it won't just affect that one area of your life.

And if you don't know what you want or what you need for your future, you'll fail to make a decision for your future.

How will it affect your relationship with your spouse, kids, other family and friends? Be intentional about viewing your decisions through that lens. You don’t always have to have an answer in the moment.


Do you know how you make decisions? In less than five minutes, you can discover your decision making style which will help you make good choices even in difficult situations. Download the What is your Decision Making Style quiz today.

Here are a few questions to also consider from the episode:

Based on the types of decision-making styles Jeff talked about, what type of style do you think you have?

What is one decision in your career you wish you could take back?

What is the best decision you’ve made in your career? What led you to make that choice?

What are some practical steps you use to make good decisions?