Book of the Month: Decisive – How to Make Better Choices

 

BookoftheMonth

Every day is filled with choices.  Many are small and inconsequential.  Some are life changing.  This month’s book suggestion was written to improve our decision-making ability.

Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath

Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath

As I was reading this book, I thought back on some of the key decisions in my life.  At age 10, I chose to place my faith in Jesus to save me.  At age 18, I asked the most beautiful angel-voiced blonde on our first date.  Later that year, I decided to attend Murray State University (go Racers!).  Four years later, I decided to enlist in the Marine Corps.  One year later, I proposed to that beauty I mentioned before.

All of these decisions worked out for me.  So many others did not.  I am not going to share that list with you.

So whether you are deciding where to eat tonight, or when and if to propose to your girl (congrats little bro!), you go through the following steps.

  1. You have a choice.
  2. You consider your options.
  3. You make your choice.
  4. You live with/suffer the consequences.

The Heath brothers do a masterful job at describing what they call the four villains to decision-making.  They coincide with the four steps above.

  1. Narrow framing – you don’t consider near enough options – often stopping as soon as you have two.
  2. Confirmation bias – you gather self-serving information to support your natural bias.
  3. Short-term emotion – you allow the heat of the moment to overly influence the decision you make.
  4. Overconfidence – your optimism for the future allows you to be caught off-guard when things go south.

To counter these “villains,” the Heath brothers put forth a very clever and easy to remember acronym – W.R.A.P.

  • W – Widen your options.  Refuse to limit yourself to a “whether or not” choice.
  • R – Reality test your assumptions.  Someone somewhere has faced your situation.  Find them.  See what they did.
  • A – Attain distance.  Sleep on it.  Clarity is often found on the other side of a pillow.  Don’t let yourself make a decision when you are emotionally charged.  If you are older than 12, you can think of at least 3 times immediately when you did not head this advice.
  • P – Prepare to be wrong.  This is just good business.  If you are a golf fan, notice how the elite golfer stays away from the big trouble spots.  They have good misses that do not cripple them.  Force yourself to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

The Heath brothers spend the rest of the book sharing story after story demonstrating the power of this process.  In fact, their premise for the book is that it is the process of making a decision that has the most impact on the quality of the decision.

This book is incredibly clever and entertaining.  It had me page-turning.  I was so intrigued that I’ve shared this process of decision-making with my coaching clients, my family, and many of my friends.  I believe it is powerful.  I believe that this book can have a powerful impact on your future.  Do yourself a favor and decide to read this book.

Question:  What one decision of the past year do you regret not applying this process to?  Your comments are welcome below!

What Are You Worth?

What are you worth?  You don’t have a clue, do you?

I have a mentor and client who is incredibly successful.  He owns over a dozen businesses. He employs hundreds of people.  He loves Jesus and is one of the most generous men I’ve ever met.  He is an amazing man.  He is someone who we should all want to be like.

iStock_000021836294SmallA couple of years ago, I was meeting with this man.  I asked him what the inflection point was in his career.  He surprised me with his answer. He told me about a conversation that he had with his mentor.  At that time, my mentor had hit his limit.  He was experiencing what John Maxwell calls the Law of the Lid (read the book – affiliate link).

In that conversation, my mentor asked his mentor, “Why can’t I break through?  What is my problem?”

Last week at my company’s national convention, I spoke on becoming a Power Prospector.  Afterwards, one of our top producers wanted to talk with me.  He is tapped out.  He has so much business.  However, he is struggling to keep up with it all. He’s trying to do everything himself.  It isn’t working.

I ask you again.  What are you worth?

This is one of the most important things that you can know when running your business.  Why?  Because you have more to do in any one day than you can accomplish.

Delegation

In both of the stories above, lack of delegation is the problem.  My mentor was trying to control everything.  He wouldn’t delegate.  Thus, he was the bottleneck.  He was the problem.

Our top producer has not put together a team or a system to maximize his efforts.  He is the Lid holding his business and his productivity back.  We are going to remedy this situation, and his business is going to explode.

You have heard that delegation is a good idea, but can you articulate why?  As the CEO of you, there are certain tasks that only you can do.  These are the high-dollar activities or the high value creation activities.  You want to delegate everything else so that you can focus on those activities.  Said another way, anything that anyone else can do, they should do.  This frees you up to do only things that only you can do.

To effectively accomplish this, you must do 3 things:

  1. Catalogue your activities – Before you can delegate, you must know with clarity all the activities that take up your time.  The best way to do this is to catalogue everything that you spend time on for a week.  Write it all down.  Some of you just rolled your eyes.  Don’t skip this step.  Write it all down.
  2. Triage – The triage step involves deciding which are the high dollar activities and which need to be delegated.  Ask yourself, “If I could only do 3 of these activities, which ones would they be?”  Some you will simply want to delete and stop doing entirely.  This step gives you clarity of purpose.  It also gives you the job description for the team member or virtual assistant that you may add.  If you already have an assistant or team in place, this list is now their playbook.
  3. Know what you are worth! – Many of you will be tempted to simply read this and move on with your life.  I challenge you not to.  Go through this with me.  You will thank me.

I’m going to use round numbers.  Let’s assume that you work 50 weeks a year and 40 hours a week.  Now write down what your income goal for the year is.  Great.  The math looks like this.

50 weeks x 40 hours/week = 2,000 hours worked in a year

Income Goal  / 2,000 hours = your value per hour

If you want to make $100,000 this year, then $100,000 / 2,000 hours = $50/hr.  If you want to make $400,000 this year, then your are worth $200/hr.

Rod Santomassimo, the president and founder of the coaching firm the Massimo-Group, knows his number.  He has a note on his desk that reads, “Is what you are doing right now worth $___/hr?  If not, stop doing it!”  This is why you must know your worth.  It allows you to effectively focus on the activities that maximize your effectiveness and earning potential.  Otherwise, you are leaving money on the table.

So what are you worth?  How will knowing this number effect how you lead and work?  Let me know in the comments below!

January’s Top Posts

In case you missed them, here are the top posts from January.  Key to note – January marks the first month I’ve expanded the topics of my blog – from Commercial Real Estate best practices to Next Practices in Life, Business, and Commercial Real Estate.  Thus, please enjoy the post below on marriage as well as other business and CRE topics.  Thanks for reading!

I also want to invite you to sign up just to the right to receive my new posts straight to your email inbox.  Don’t worry about remembering to check my site.  I will do the work and make sure that you never miss a post.  I will also never share your information.

 January’s Top Posts

iStockPhoto via Erikona

iStockPhoto via Erikona

Why You Should Use a Simple CRM – ClientLook – CRE Tech & App Review – On the front-end, I must confess to being a CRM-hopper.  I started my career in 2004 with a legal pad – literally.  Then I moved on to Outlook.  Please pay attention when I say this.  Outlook is not a CRM system – sorry Dad.  It is simply email with contacts and a calendar.  Read More…

 

2012-12-21 22.10.31

12th Anniversary Trip

What 12 Years has Taught Me About Having an Awesome Marriage - I’ve had a crush on my wife – still do – since the day I laid eyes on her.  I was 10 years old in youth church choir.  She sings like an angel, and I liked being around girls that could sing like an angel.  It took me 8 years to ask her out.  Two reasons caused the delay.  I was sort of a dork, and she was intimidatingly beautiful – still is!  After 5 years of me proving that she is the most forgiving person on the planet, we got married.  (This is by far the most condensed version of ‘our story’ that I’ve ever pulled off).  Read More…

 

iStockPhoto from cosmity

iStockPhoto from cosmity

The 3 Benefits of a Well Done Prospecting Letter – You have to assume that at least 50% of recipients are not going to read your letter.  They just won’t.  And that is fine.  All I’m trying to do is warm up my initial cold call.  When I call those who actually read it, my ratio for getting a meeting goes up.  Read More…

 

 

iStockPhoto by hidesy

iStockPhoto by hidesy

The One Secret to Winning the Business Every Time - When I started in the Commercial Real Estate Business, I knew that the listing presentation was important.  Very important. I wrote and rewrote.  I practiced and then practiced some more.  I would record myself and play it back while I was driving.  It was canned…  Read More…

 

iStock_000010779625Small

iStockPhoto

5 Reasons to Develop Decisiveness Using the 70% Rule – You will experience failures in your personal and professional lives.  It should not be the failed goal that defines the experience but the way that we respond to the failure.  Consider reflecting on these questions…  Read More…

 

 

January’s Stats

I’ve read on some other sites where they post their stats.  I have always appreciated this – as much as a benchmark as anything else.  It is difficult to know how well you are doing sometimes.

  • 2,371 Unique Visitors
  • 6,761 Page Views
  • 65% Percent New Visitors
  • 61 Countries
  • 30% from a mobile device
  • 81% of those from an iPhone or iPad
  • 119 Subscribers to my email list

I wish you all a fabulous February.  I turn 36 this month!  If you have any comments on the posts above or would like to make a suggestion on what you would like to read, leave a comment below!

5 Reasons to Develop Decisiveness by Using the 70% Rule

I am naturally a perfectionist.  If my parents read this, they may disagree.  They will remember me leaving potential on the table.  I was the poster child for procrastination.  The truth is perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.

Decisions

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.comjoste_dj

I remember one semester of college at Murray State University.  I decided that I would not procrastinate any longer.  I purposed to work ahead in all my classes — finish assignments early.  I remember going to the library to work on a paper that was due weeks in the future.  I found that I could not focus my thoughts.  The possibilities of what direction I could go and how perfect the paper could be were overwhelming.  I needed the pressure of the last minute to focus my thoughts and force me to action.  I am the classic Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim…………….Fire!

My father is not this way.  While he gathers information, he is naturally decisive and instinctive.  I would characterize him as Fire, Ready, Aim.  If you can’t tell, we work very well together.

In business and life, there is a great tension between impulsiveness (foolishness) and perfectionism (procrastination).  Leaders are decisive.  In fact, decisiveness is one of the 14 Leadership Traits of the Marine Corps that I wrote about recently — read more here.  Additionally, decisive leaders reject perfectionism.  They understand that it is an elusive fallacy.  Your business should have a goal of success, growth, and excellence — not perfection.  There is a difference.

So how does a leader manage this tension between impulsiveness and perfectionism?  The Marine Corps taught me the 70% Rule.  It says that you take action on any decision when you have 70% confidence in the success of the decision.  That statement just made some of you uncomfortable.  Here are 5 reasons you should consider implementing this rule in your business.

  1. Reality – Decisions are made in time.  Sometimes it must be made very quickly.  You also have competition.  They are also trying to succeed.  They are also trying to beat you.  Being decisive while not impulsive can be learned.  Rejecting perfectionism frees you up to execute with speed.
  2. Speed – Speed is better than perfection.  A good solution executed quickly will have a higher probability of success than a great solution executed too late.  Speed puts you on the offensive.  It allows you to set the pace of innovation and service.  This also means that it puts your competition on the defensive forcing them to react.  He who sets the pace gains the advantage.
  3. Growth – Speaking of mistakes, you will make them too.  Understand that you will and prepare.  Don’t waste your mistakes — learn from them.  The key to learning from your mistakes is debriefing after decisions are made.  What went wrong?  Why did we fail?  Why did we succeed?  What could we have done better?  How could I have done that presentation better?  If you do not pause and reflect, you will waste the benefits of your mistakes.  You will not grow as a leader.  You will not develop better decision-making skills.  You will repeat the mistakes.
  4. Success – Wayne Gretzky said that, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  This is obvious but so important.  Being decisive with 70% confidence will lead to more success than hesitating due to lack of confidence or information.  As you grow from experience and learning from your mistakes, your success rate will improve.  Over time, this growth can allow you to reach your potential.  Perfectionist straddled by procrastination never reach their potential — never.
  5. Prevents Impulsiveness – Colin Powell is a proponent of the 70% Rule.  He also stated that 40% confidence requires more information gathering and planning.  Going with your gut is often a bad idea.  The 70% Rule acts as a guard-rail for the impulsive who Fire before they make Ready and Aim.

I invite you to share your thoughts below.  Are you a perfectionist?  How would the 70% Rule change how you do business?