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8 Traps to Avoid When Making Fact Based Decisions

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Many people pride themselves in trusting their gut when it comes to decision making. You may have heard that successful leaders have excellent gut instincts. Don’t be misled by this broad statement. The gut, regardless of how skilled it may be, can trap the best of us into a cycle of poor decisions.

There’s a fact-based approach to making decisions that’s been proven to work by the science of quality management. For over a century, global industry giants have relied on this science to drive outcomes. It tells us that the probability of achieving a desired long-term outcome dramatically increases when you embrace and apply it to your decisions. The approach has been studied, tried, and tested. Based on industry experience, global leaders recognize and watch out for known traps that can easily derail decision making at every level.

The same traps can derail your focus on making fact-based decisions.  Here’s what to watch for as you strive to make fact-based decisions:

Trap 1: The Feelgood Faker

Many people are driven by emotions when it comes to decision making. The urge to move toward things that make us feel good and avoid things that make us feel bad is part of being human.  Be open and willing to allow discomfort when making decisions. Sometimes the best decisions will require you to change, move, give up something, work harder than you expected, delay gratification, etc.

Trap 2:  The Time Trickster

A sense of urgency, as well as procrastination, can trap us into making emotionally driven decisions. Quick decisions are more likely to be gut related. Recognize that the quickest, easiest solution is not always the best. Take a deep breath and follow the process while also not procrastinating. Don’t delay unnecessarily. The farther away from an incident, or opportunity for decision making, the tougher it is to identify and understand the facts. 

Trap 3: The Blind Corner Smash

Understand the difference between objective and subjective information when preparing to make a fact-based decision.  Objective information is factual. You cannot change it even if you would like to. It is what it is. Subjective information is driven by individuals. In other words, it’s made up of opinions, emotions, wishes, dreams, preferences, and such. You own your subjective information, and it can be anything you want it to be. The trick is understanding that you don’t own anyone else’s.

“You cannot make progress without making decisions.” – Jim Rohn

Trap 4: The Power Sucker

Once you clearly recognize the objective facts at play, and the subjective elements within your power to change, you can activate that power through decision-making. Decisions based on subjective information that you cannot control can quickly or slowly suck away your incredible power to create the outcome you envision.

Trap 5: The Blind Spot Blinder

Blind spots are tough to see. They can leave us wondering why our “excellent decision” turned out to be the opposite. Proactively seek to identify potential blind spots when making decisions — this often calls for courage, humility, and a growth mindset.

Trap 6: The Widespread Net Debacle

We all want and need to discuss big decisions with others. But carefully consider who is giving you advice, including their unique and subjective perspective. Great leaders accept responsibility for decision making, and therefore are purposeful when seeking input and advice.

Trap 7: The Root Cause Wrecker

Misunderstanding the root cause, or reason, why a decision must be made can wreck your thought process. Take the time to ensure that the decision/options you’re considering will address the root cause involved.

Trap 8: The Horizon Blocker

When making decisions, be careful not to overfocus on the immediate future. Look to the horizon, consider what you’re building, and keep your eye there.  Despite what you may have heard, your life is not a process but rather a product that you can build to meet your authentic specifications. The science of quality management provides concepts and approaches proven to work.  You can be as specific or as general as you wish, but committing and focusing on an outcome that has meaning to you is critical, and should always be top of mind when making decisions.

Gut reactions and emotions certainly play an integral role in decision making. Hopefully, our gut doesn’t let us down when it comes to our immediate personal safety or other scenarios that leave us with nothing to rely on but our instincts. However, don’t let your gut fool you, or get trapped by blindly believing that your instincts are always right. If guts were right every time, the world would be a different place.

Penelope Przekop is a corporate quality management expert, entrepreneur, and writer. Throughout her 30+-year career, she has worked with numerous Fortune 100 pharma companies, including Pfizer, Merck, Lilly, and Glaxo Smith Kline, and held leadership positions at Novartis, Covance, Wyeth, and Johnson & Johnson. She is the founder and CEO of PDC Pharma Strategy and serves as the Chief Compliance Officer for Engrail Therapeutics. She is the author of Six Sigma for Business Excellence (McGraw-Hill) and four novels: Please Love MeAberrationsCenterpieces, and Dust. Przekop earned a BS in Biology from Louisiana State University and an MS in Quality Systems Engineering from Kennesaw State University. She is a graduate of the Smith College Program for Women’s Leadership and the Rutgers University Senior Leadership Program for Professional Women. In 2018, Przekop and her older daughter founded Bra in a Box, which has been featured in Real Simple and New York Magazine. She lives in the Greater Philadelphia Area with her husband of 30 years. Her new book is Five Star Career: Define and Build Yours Using the Science of Quality Management. Learn more at penelopeprzekop.com and www.pdcstrategy.com.

Success Advice

Can Organic Marketing on Facebook Be Effective in 2022?

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As another cat video is served to me in my Reels on Facebook, I am beginning to wonder if this platform can still serve to attract clients to my coaching business. And as the wondering turns into worrying, I feel a pressing need to make some vital changes to what worked for my solopreneur business for half a decade. (more…)

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How to Leverage Your Leadership Style for Business Success

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When we hear that leaders should operate within their zone(s) of genius, it’s easy to think that this only applies to tasks that they excel at. Whilst this is true, the piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is the positive correlation between a leader’s zone of genius and their leadership style. (more…)

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5 Simple Habits to Live A Less Chaotic, Happier Life

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Many of us spend our daily lives searching for happiness. We jump from one job to another, from one hobby to another, hoping to spark a sense of joy and purpose.

But it’s hard pursuing happiness. After all, life is full of frustration and can put a stopper to our feel-good days.

And it’s challenging to be happy when we are juggling the responsibilities of everyday life like work and relationships. While achieving happiness is arduous, it’s not impossible. Try out these 5 habits to enjoy life more and be happier.

1. Walk in Nature

Spending time in nature has always improved my mood. Taking a walk around my neighborhood park, surrounded by trees and vegetation, I enter a peaceful state of mind.

The worries previously weighing on my mind are suddenly lifted, and I feel an indescribable sense of joy.

Taking just 20 minutes out of my day to get a fresh breath of air is extremely relaxing. 

In our work culture that favors busyness, there is little room for calmness. We associate a busy schedule with how successful we are, which isn’t entirely true at all.

In fact, it might be a disaster in the making. All that stress and anxiety bottled up without an outlet—the outcome is obvious.

So getting in touch with nature is my go-to way of maintaining a proper work-life balance. It makes me energized and ready to blast through the rest of my day with optimism.

2. Smile More Often

I make it a habit to smile every day; they aren’t fake smiles but genuine ones. And they have become a regular part of my life.

What am I smiling at, exactly? It can be the night sky covered with shining stars, like fine quicksand. Or, it can be the flowers sprouting new leaves in spring.

I embrace everything with open arms. Even when I have a rainy day, I don’t let it ruin my momentum.

Regardless of what happens, a simple smile can brighten my day; and best yet, it’s completely free.

At some point, everyone can have a stressful day and feel burned out. So put up a smile. Even if you’re not a positive person, take a firm stance against negativity. Your daily life will surely burst with joy.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

3. Find Your Passion

Many people dive headfirst into a day job that doesn’t interest them. They do it just for the money, which only makes them more miserable.

People who aren’t attached to their work will find difficulty achieving happiness. They live in a gray and stale world devoid of positivity.

Listen to your heart. Ask yourself: What makes me feel enthusiastic and excited? This is a time to discover your hopes and dreams.

You have endless opportunities in this world. Start a business. Volunteer at a charity drive. Figure out your reason why.

Personally, I used to turn to real estate to earn dependable rental income. But there was no sense of fulfillment. That feeling soon reached a tipping point, which pushed me to re-prioritize everything.

I wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Combining my interest in business and self-improvement, I pursued my passion for blogging. And I can’t be any happier about it.

Everyone needs something that keeps their life meaningful. It can be a source of light that helps us walk in the right direction.

So having goals and dreams makes us genuinely happy. Without them, it will be a long, treacherous journey.

4. Practice Gratitude

Some days we may not feel a shred of gratitude. We are overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of life where we seek perfection, one that is only full of success and wins.

However, that will only put you further away from happiness.

Take the time every day to pause and appreciate something in your life. What I find helpful is sitting down with a pen and paper.

I start with “I am grateful for…” It can be the appreciation for my afternoon cup of herbal tea. It can be the clear blue sky on a sunny day.

This routine sets up a support system that reinforces positive emotions. It reminds me that there are many things I’ve experienced in life and even more things that I’m grateful for.

Even if I have a bad day, I try my best to be grateful and encourage lasting joy.

So appreciate everything that enters your life—all the good and bad. You will see your mood elevate to an entirely new level.

5. Create Memories With Loved Ones

It can be tempting to focus all our time and energy on reaching valued goals. We say, “I’ll take it easy and spend time with loved ones after I’m successful.”

But what if that time never comes? What if, at some point, your loved ones are suddenly gone?

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Prioritize your loved ones today, not next year. After all, you wouldn’t want to leave any room for regret.

The cherished memories you make now will be a spark of joy. They can even be a source of motivation when shooting for goals.

As social creatures, sharing stories, feelings, and dreams can make us happy and fulfilled.

Living a solitary life is not for everyone. Although having some alone time is perfectly fine, you should still make memorable experiences with those close to you. They will be cherished within your heart for as long as you live.

The quest for lasting happiness can be daunting at times. We spend much of our time searching for it, almost giving up along the way.

But you need to see the bright side. Living a better and happier life isn’t a far-fetched dream; it’s within reach. Remember that happiness can come from the small habits and things you do daily.

If you want to lead the life you truly want, practice these 5 habits and be consistent every day. Don’t give up halfway. Once you do so, there will be nothing stopping you from enjoying life to the fullest.

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Success Advice

Avoid These 12 Mistakes on the Way to Success

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One day when I was writing an interesting article my wife asked me, “Why did you achieve success so late, during the late forties?  Did you ever find out the reasons for your late success?” The question was an interesting one as I seldom thought about why I achieved success so late in my life until then. I thought about this for a while; here are the reasons that come to my mind: (more…)

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