27 April 2015
'I had no choice; it was me or him'. The quote was on a news item, but it could have been from anywhere in any number of business situations that I have been in over the years, blogs John Bowen.
Many of us will have said it too, but it is nonsense because there is a clear choice in the statement; "me or him". What we really mean is that we took the selfish choice.
It is another of those silly things that we say and you can argue that we all know what is meant so what does it matter, but my point here is that so often in making a decision we don't always consider that there are choices. We eliminate one or more other options and go with what seems the obvious choice.
Decision-making is not always easy and there are times when, instead of the knee-jerk reaction above, we will dither over what to do and we often in those cases ignore the obvious choices that are available, usually because they are a bit harder to put into action. Even when the right choice is clear we are reluctant to make the move and for the same reason we often make the wrong choice as it is often so much easier to do nothing than to take action. We look the other way and leave the harder course to someone else.
Making choices is important though; it is a skill that most of us need to master in our personal and professional lives. While few of us like to admit that we have made the wrong choice it doesn't usually matter if we get a few wrong because that is one way in which we learn and the more decisions we make the better at it we can become. Making the right choice is usually a matter of weighing up what we know, and experience helps.
To say that we did something because we had no choice is nonsense; there is always the choice to do nothing or to do something. If you can recognise that you are on your way to being a better decision-maker because there are times when to do nothing is the best option; patience is a virtue, as they say. When you do need to do something then you need to understand your options and that is why risk management and contingency planning are so important. When one of those moments arises where you need to react quickly then having an awareness of your options will help you make the best possible decision in the time available.
Whatever the situation you are in, there is always a choice. All you need to do is to be prepared to make the best one.
John Bowen is an FM consultant