Simple Universal Process

Our lives are shaped by our decisions, our decisions almost always bring about change and yet as human beings we are creatures of habit and we find change unsettling.

What results in us having to make a decision? Generally it is a change to our environment, some new information, a change in condition, a new arrival which prompts us to ask ourselves a question.

So the sequence is typically, Question, Decision, Change and this forms a cycle.

Question, Decision, Change

Question, Decision, Change

The reason that human beings have developed is down to this cycle, every element is necessary, think about what would happen if we stopped asking questions, if we stopped making decisions and if our environment was static.

The quality of our lives and the rate of productive change is inherently linked to our ability to make good decisions.

Decisions, Decisions

We typically feel uncomfortable with chaos and in making a decision we frequently use tools and a structured approach. We use models, matrices, visualisation tools to help us rationalise our decision. We recognise that the larger the change that will result from the decision the more effort we need to put into the decision process. There is a danger that we get into analysis paralysis or what used to be called procrastination. Most of us are pretty good at delaying a decision.

Change is good but uncomfortable

As I said earlier, we humans are creatures of habit, most of us like a routine, we like familiar things and familiar surroundings. We have an affinity for the familiar because it feels like stability and it feels safe. We are reluctant to move out of our comfort zone and yet once a change is made we frequently find it invigorating and exciting.

Questions, always Questions

We are also inquisitive, this is why we have uncovered the secrets of science and nature, why we have over history explored the unknown, made great discoveries and incredible inventions. If we stopped questioning we would stop the cycle until an external event impacted on us but even then the cycle would remain active.

Relevance to Business

Businesses are run and staffed by people and they all have this basic cycle going on to a greater or lesser extent. Once we recognise this simple fact we can understand the effect of rules and policy changes, incentive schemes and retirement plans and individual agendas. As a business leader you will be using this cycle for strategic business change. As a lower level worker you will be using the same cycle in performing your job function.

5 Things to bear in mind

  1. Never be satisfied with the status quo, safe stability suffocates progress
  2. Never make decisions without some rational analysis behind them
  3. Embrace change since it shakes up your environment and plants the seed for improvement
  4. Questioning is healthy and fundamental to progress
  5. Recognise the cycle and that is is endless

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