Decision-making is done within our own context of being and understanding. We cannot get away from ourselves. Our attitudes and perspectives are with us all the time. As we continue to construct the framework for good decision-making, we take a look at our attitudes toward others and ourselves.
Three perspectives from which we can approach decision-making are described in the following manner.
- I deserve
- I am entitled
- I need it or have to have it
- I desire
- I should be denied nothing
- It exists to please me
- I am
- Move out of my way, I am coming through
- Everyone should serve me
These perspectives shape the way we make decisions in business and life in general. The extremes are described above. We should guard against not identifying with any of these perspectives because we don’t see ourselves in such a harsh light. These definitions are meant to provide directionality of attitude for this discussion. We could look at the opposite of these, however the descriptions above are easier to relate to and unfortunately, easier to find in the marketplace.
We also take into our decision-making certain expectations. We have identified three areas of expectations that shape our decisions and actions can be grouped as follows.
The objectives we set. Our expections of the outcome.
- Activities and conduct in our lives
- Control of our lives
What we think of others and ourselves. Our expectations of motive.
- Trust of others
- Trust of self
What we think about the future. Our expectations of certainty.
- That it will happen
- That we can plan for it
The result or evidence of how our decision-making is going is found at the intersection of our perspective and expectation. Situations have varying degrees of consequence. There are examples at each point of intersection between perspectives and expectations listed above that demonstrate different degrees of impact, such as the way people who work in the quick-serve industry are treated. Waiters/Waitresses can be looked down upon (superiority) and pushed around (tasks) during a dining experience. A way to describe these attitudes and expectations is pride. We are not referring to the idea of being proud of an accomplishment. Pride is a self-focused, self-serving attitude that leads to negative results for someone involved. We may not realize nor expect any negative consequence, or simply not care.
There are consequences or results to every action we take and every decision we make. The opposite of pride is humility. One way to think of humility is constantly serving others. Even in the service of others there can be consequences that we may not consider the best for us. We think of these times as sacrifices. We sacrifice our sleep when we stay up all night with a sick child or with a friend needing to talk through a difficult time in their life. The term sacrifice has a built in assumption of ownership of the thing being sacrificed. A sacrifice is a reminder that ownership is not possible. When we understand we do not own anything (see Ownership is Impossible), but are simply charged with managing what we have, then our judgment of the value we receive (good or bad, positive or negative) from the outcome of our decisions shifts. The shift is toward an attitude of giving to and serving others.
How does our perspective and expectations fit into our overall decision-making framework? What is your primary perspective in business? How does it change in regards to customers or employees? How do you change perspectives when you leave the office and go home to your family?