Why do you make the choices you make?

Why do you make the choices you make?

The best companies make the best choices.  Sounds simple, but we all know it’s hard.

If we could see into the future, and work out all the variables, that would make it easier. But we can’t. Everything is always changing and we don’t know what’s happening out there – a smart 10-year-old could be sitting in their bedroom developing technology that could completely change our world.

Right now, even the big disruptive players like Uber, Amazon, FaceBook, AirBnb are facing difficult choices. Everyone has their own take on what is the right choice. If you are leader, you make choices for the organisation; managers make choices for their teams and people make choices for themselves. Not only does each person make choices, often, all these people need to agree and that can be the even bigger challenge.

So, considering how Important making choices is, it’s surprising that we rarely think about how and why we make the choices we do.

Let’s take a trip back to when you were at school… If you have a teacher who inspired you and told you that you were good at numeracy, it’s likely you have a job with numbers.  You might be an accountant, market researcher, computer scientist, engineer, statistician.

My teacher said numeracy wasn’t my strong point and so over the years I turned down jobs because I didn’t have the confidence to work with numbers. As soon as I saw a spreadsheet I went into shut-down. I could never work in a bar with the threat of adding up the cost of drinks without a calculator! But one day, I’d love to get over this and find my confidence. It’s on the list along with learning how to make pasta and speaking fluent Spanish.

Often, what we think we can do and what we can’t do has been influenced by others. Usually we don’t know who they are, but we believe them anyway.

Amazingly, we carry these thoughts throughout our lives and it’s difficult for us to shift them.
Sometimes is says more about the person saying them than it does about us.

Importantly what’s in our heads drives our choices. If you were given a choice to write a book for a world-famous publishing house, would you do it? If you think you can, you might; if you think you can’t, you won’t.

But where has this thinking come from? Did someone say, “You must write a book”, or did a colleague say, “I don’t think you should write a book, you are a much better speaker”, or did you read a book and think, I can do that? Some comments and experiences stick and influence us. We carry them in our heads and they impact on our choices.

So, when you next make your business choice, reflect on what has influenced your thinking. Once you have worked out what is driving your choice, it will open your thinking and you might make a different choice – and perhaps a better one.

What’s influencing your choices now?