Decision Making Secrets … from Sequence!

I played the board game Sequence for the first time over the holidays. I know it’s been around for a while but our family usually plays Bid Whist so it was new to me. If you’ve played the game, you know it can be kind of slow…unless you have trash talking Bid Whist players at the table! If you haven’t played, the object of the game is to place 5 poker chips on a board in sequence based on the cards in your hand.

It was a great demonstration of how people make decisions. Some spent (what seemed to me) an interminable amount of time pouring over the board, looking at their hand, back at the board…I kept suggesting we incorporate a timer!

Others seemed to go with their gut… or maybe they had a predetermined plan. But most players took their time to make the best decision.

Why people make the decisions they make was also on full display. Those motivated by a sense of competition were of course significantly more vocal than those who just like to perform well.

I’m a pretty quick decision maker so once I picked up the basics, I was off to the races … when I finally got a turn. But I missed at least one opportunity to win the game for my team because I was so focused on MY plan to Sequence, I didn’t see it

Isn’t that how it is with leadership? You see an opportunity, formulate a great plan but fail to get a win for your organization because things have changed by the time you’re ready to execute. I was reminded of three keys to executing a plan of action that I learned in the Air Force.

Make sure your execution plan is flexible enough to react to new realities.

At one point in the game, I was so busy fending off efforts to block the sequence I was trying to create in one corner that I missed a chance to complete a sequence on another part of the board!

A plan is a great way to help you focus your vision but don’t let your plan turn into blinders that prevent you from seeing what else is going on. Circumstances change; make sure your plan is a springboard not a concrete block!

Communication is key to executing your plan.

In Sequence, team members CAN’T talk to each other; in business, they often choose not to. But the beauty of a team is the diversity of perspectives. So first, make sure your team is as diverse as you can make it to include gender, race, age, strengths, experience, etc.; second, make sure you are creating space for all member to point out the pitfalls of your plan as well as protect it to mission accomplishment.

Sometimes to see the perspective of the other person, you have to sit where they are sitting, be where they are or trust them to make the decision.

I realized that I was missing possible sequences primarily in one corner of the board. That’s because from where I was sitting, they didn’t look like sequences. I had to rotate the board and look at it from all angles to see ALL the possibilities.

Your reality is really your perspective; your team members may have different perspectives. Simply communicating conflicting realities may not result in understanding; sometimes intense interrogation and even immersion in information that is unfamiliar is required. But getting all the information available to determine the best possible action is worth the discomfort.

Good leaders are able to articulate a vision and plan of execution that attracts those who see themselves contributing to the vision. Great leaders invite their team members to expand the vision and create the best action plan.

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked

Authenticity

People treat us the way they see us treat ourselves.

If we respectfully reject disrespectful behavior aimed in our direction, our action conveys a sense of self, maybe even an inward calm.

If we are comfortable asking for what we want and consistent in our refusal to accept less, we will attract more of what we desire.

There is a risk in demanding what you desire, what you deserve. It could mean you loose what you have. But it could also mean you get want you want.

And isn’t it better to be without, than to settle for what you don’t really want?

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Inhale Awareness, Exhale Disregard…
Inhale Authenticity, Exhale Safety…
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Detachment…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Energy

How you experience everything is up to you. Your reactions need not be automatic or similar to ones you have had before… ~Neale Donald Walsch

What you take in from the world is what you put out into the world. When you take in negativity, you will spew anger, frustration and fear. When you take in positivity, you will send waves of love to everyone you encounter.

Be intentional about what you watch. Be deliberate in choosing whom you listen to. Be conscious about what you put in your body.

And even if you accidently encounter negativity energy, YOU get to choose how you respond. Choose positivity.

Inhale Positivity, Exhale Negativity…
Inhale Intentionality, Exhale Accidentally…
Inhale Responding, Exhale Reacting…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Resistance

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Newton’s Third Law of Motion
For every dream, there is resistance.” ~ Steven Pressfield

There will be resistance. You’ll wake up from a dream that felt real, see the vision clearly, feel the knowing intently and immediately the voice in your head will demand to know “Who. Are. You. … to think you can do this?”

It will be so loud, you’ll think it’s someone else and perhaps it WAS someone else…but you’ve internalized the voice, and now believe the thought and you’re thinking it so loud it sounds like someone is speaking.

The way to quiet the voice is to feel the fear, face the fear and pursue the dream in spite of the fear.

Because along with resistance, comes assistance. Tweet this!

It’s the money that shows up AFTER you registered for the course you weren’t sure you were going to be able to pay for. It’s getting hired for the job you almost didn’t apply for because you believed you lacked all the qualifications. It’s starting the journey.

There will be resistance to your dream. But resistance doesn’t mean can’t, stop, or don’t. Take the first step.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV

Inhale Action, Exhale Inaction…
Inhale Movement, Exhale Obstacles…
Inhale Assistance, Exhale Resistance…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Perfection

Sometimes the fear that keeps us from pursuing our purpose is hidden under the guise of a quest for perfection. But God doesn’t require us to be perfect to start our journey to purpose, He only requires us to be committed to His call on our lives.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV

Inhale Commitment, Exhale Perfection…
Inhale Compliance, Exhale Perfection…
Inhale Creation, Exhale Perfection…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Fear

Our fear keeps us from so much that is promised to us! But if we can believe that God loves us, wants the best for us and is for us 100 percent of the time, what is there to fear?

For God does not give us a Spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NET

Inhale Love, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Faith, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Belief, Exhale Fear…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Gut Feeling

Healthy fear is part of our survival mechanism. Our intricately designed bodies have more than one way to notify us of danger. That gut feeling, the hair prickling on your arm or the back of your neck….it’s your body notifying you of danger that you can’t see or hear. It’s a knowing from the oldest part of our brain, the limbic system, which has no language. It’s why we often can’t articulate that feeling that says STOP.

The issue is NOT that we don’t have the feeling, it’s that we don’t acknowledge our own knowing. The issue is we are often unable to separate the knowledge-based feeling of danger from the fear-based feeling. And so we move forward when our knowing is screaming “You in danger, Gurl” and are paralyzed when our fear is whispering…”WHO are YOU to do THAT?”

Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.” Will Smith in After Earth. Tweet this now!

Inhale Truth, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Power, Exhale Paralysis…
Inhale Knowing, Exhale Doubting…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Wisdom

When I was a teenager, I used to wonder why all the really old people were so…religious. Always praying, always thanking God, always referencing the Bible. Then I got older and I realized they had probably tried going it on their own, doing it their way, relying on their power…only to fall again … to fail again …and again…

Finally, we take that first step in God’s guidance and find our lives flowing in Divine order.
Finally, we stop resisting and rest in God’s purpose
Finally…God.

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11 The Message

Inhale Faith, Exhale Insecurity
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Arrogance…
Inhale Wisdom, Exhale Ego…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Confidence

I’m a part of a mentoring program that recently did a session on courage. It was a reminder that God commands us to be courageous and gives us the reason why: God! Tweet this now!

So it led me to muse…when we think we are acting courageously, are we really being courageous or obedient? Are we being courageous or faithful? Is courage, obedience and faith all the same reaction based on our confidence in who God is?

“…because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Donʼt be afraid.” Mark 6:50 NIV

Inhale Confidence, Exhale Discouragement…
Inhale Confidence, Exhale Disobedience…
Inhale Confidence, Exhale Disbelief…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

Do This One Thing to Gain Your Leadership Equilibrium

Equilibrium: a state of intellectual or emotional balance

There are a lot of productivity experts offering systems to help you organize and act on anything that comes into your workspace. The best ones focus first on helping you find your purpose. Author Brian Tracy says “Once you know your purpose you can organize all of your activities around it.” Tweet this now!

Knowing your purpose is an important first step to gaining balance in your life, because if you align yourself with something that’s not what you’re supposed to be doing….

If you continue to say yes to things that are not aligned with your vision or values…

Or if you say no when you should to something that’s not in alignment with your purpose, but believe you probably should have done what you were asked me to do…

Then even if you apply some practical productivity tools, you’re still going to be out of balance and stressed out. Tweet this now!

Everything you do should be an expression of your purpose. If an activity doesn’t fit you shouldn’t be doing it. Knowing your purpose helps you laser focus your effort and energy on the things that matter… and ignoring or deferring the things that don’t.

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked