Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Thoughts on the Future of Work

March 1, 2016

FutureOfWorkThere’s  been so much change in the way companies, leaders and businesses work with each other and together, so it’s difficult to plan your future, whether you’re new to the workforce, returning to the workforce or planning how to remain gainfully employed in later years. Here are my thoughts on the type of work that’s available and how to embrace these opportunities and and prepare for the challenges to come.

  1. The tech-philic worker will be favored, and those who reject or deny this fact will be much less employable. Technology will help workers to gather and interpret data and information so that they can be more productive and better serve the customer, both of which are critical to the performance of any company.
  2. The learning-agile worker will be favored. Those who are resistant to learning new ways of doing things will be left behind, especially as automation will replace the need of workers-who-perform-repetitive-tasks.
  3. The communicative worker will more likely succeed as it would be easier for them to work with all the internal and external stakeholders involved in any job – from colleague to teammate, from partner to customer.
  4. The patient, helpful, service-oriented worker will be better positioned to serve demanding customers. There will always be jobs for people who know how to make even the pickiest of customers happy.
  5. Collaboration between people and companies will more likely succeed. Leaders will be those who can envision the benefits of collaborating across roles, companies and industries, and create and facilitate those successful partnerships.
  6. If you combine the 5 traits above, you will find a worker who may be able to tailor products and services to the needs of the customer. There will always be a role for people who can succeed in doing this well.
  7. Company leaders will be more focused on data and analytics, and there will be more meritocracy-based cultures and less politics.
  8. Along those same lines, productivity of people and product/service lines will be based more on data and information, and less on politics and agendas.
  9. Company leaders will help make it easy for a diverse population of workers to succeed – whether it’s making remote work possible or providing tech tools to support an aging or disabled or other non-standard worker.
  10. The bottom line is that companies and leaders will acknowledge that they are only as good as their people, and think, speak and act accordingly.

Those are my thoughts on the Future of Work. How will these things impact YOU? What can we do to support you in planfully remaining well employed? How can we support your company in attracting, developing and retaining the best and brightest?  Your comments are welcome.

Secrets for Leveling Up

February 17, 2016

LevelingUpThese are not really secrets, nor do they work for everyone, nor do I claim that below is an exhaustive list of strategies. However, the advice below in aggregate can help you rise to a higher level within your organization, if you have reasonable leaders in a growing and successful company.

  1. Decide that you want to level up and rise within your organization, and consistently strive to do so. So many people apply bursts of initiative and effort here and there, which only serves to confuse others – at times you’re seen as motivated and brilliant, and at other times, you fly under the radar. Consciously deciding to level up means bringing your A game every time, all the time.
  2. This is assuming that your A game is good, that you perform well by everyone’s measure, that you are successful working on a diverse range of projects and a wide range of responsibilities, partners and staff.
  3. Clearly communicate your role in the success of projects, without taking credit for the work that others have done.
  4. Watch for people who take the credit for the work that you do and strategize on how to fix that directly or indirectly. In the wort case, the leaders and management will never give you the credit, role, resources, recognition and responsibility  you deserve, so if you’re deciding to level up, you are in the wrong company.
  5. There are more opportunities in companies that are doing well in growing markets of course. However, there are also many opportunities to help stagnating companies in declining markets make a pivot toward a more profitable product, service or market. The key is to understand the needs of the customer in your market and adjacent markets.
  6. But knowing the needs of the customers and the trends in the market is not enough. You need to know how your company can shift its products and offerings to better serve that customer.
  7. And knowing that isn’t enough either. You have to convince key stakeholders throughout the organization about this strategy and collaborate with all stakeholders with the objective of better serving the customer.
  8. Succeeding in the above will change your relationships with many people. Most will be surprised to see a new side of you. Some will not like it, and try to play games and revert the relationship to the way it used to be. Get the support you need to be strong and purposeful. Know who your friends are, and don’t trust those who are only pretending to be your friend.
  9. Doing the above well means that you will have a larger profile, a broader and deeper network, as well as more credibility, responsibility and resources. You may choose to stop ascending if the responsibilities, pressure and stress are too much, if it’s not what you want or need after all. If you decide to do that, make sure it’s the right choice for you. It would be hard to change your mind later and try again to level up, for there will be those who remember when you last tried to do so. But don’t judge yourself if you decide *not* to ‘swim with the sharks’. It’s definitely not for everyone!
  10. But if you do decide to continue leveling up, make sure that you’re emotionally, mentally, psychologically and physically up to that level of exposure and pressure, and get the support you need to stay fresh, centered and strong.

Best wishes on your journey up the corporate escalator. We welcome your comments on how *you* would level-up.

Choose This, Not That

January 26, 2016

Choose your wayIn this very competitive employee market, everyone is looking for that top talent that would best represent the company, best grow the business and best serve partners and customers. But most of us have experienced first-hand the folly and consequences of those bad-hires that have missed the mark – maybe not in a ‘bad’ way, but in a way that means lost opportunity, and lost time. Here are some rules of thumb I suggest, when you face two apparently equally-qualified candidates for that critical position.

  1. Passion vs. Efficiency. Choose the one who is more passionate about the role, the task and the business. Sometimes you might find someone more efficient than passionate, and that’s good too, but the passionate one will more likely have more fortitude, more perseverance and more patience for the long run.
  2. Education vs. Experience. Some companies and hiring managers look for the right degree from the right school. But I’m personally more impressed by how someone has applied that education in the work context, to produce tangible results. (And I’m personally *not* impressed with companies and pseudo-leaders who are snobbish about educational pedigree.)
  3. In-depth knowledge vs. Openness to learning.  It’s wonderful to meet someone who knows the ins and outs of technologies, processes and solutions, and even more wonderful if he or she is open to learning new ways of doing things. But if you had to choose one or the other, choose the one who is more open. For anyone who thinks that they know how things are done/should be done may not be able to shift with the speed of business, especially when you need to do it quickly!
  4. Process vs Agility. Of course you want someone who is efficient and puts processes in place so that she or he doesn’t have to re-invent the wheel at every turn. But you also want someone agile and nimble enough to flex with the needs of customers and markets. Ideally you need both, but if you had to choose, go with those who are agile and customer-minded, yet efficient and process-driven.
  5. In the box vs. Out of the box. When you’re in-the-box, you know the ins and outs of the business, the technologies, the people around you. Thinking and acting out-of-the-box is good, when done well, but it can also be disrupting and disconcerting for those around you, so of course you need a balance. If you have to choose, select the out-of-the-box thinker and doer who knows how to communicate the whys and whats before making others around them feel uncomfortable.
  6. Speak vs. Listen. Any great leader is also a great communicator. But most leaders don’t know that speaking with impact comes only after listening to those around you. So get the quiet candidates to speak their mind, and don’t assume that they would be too quiet and too complacent for the job. And teach her or him how to speak after listening.
  7. Thorough vs. Intuitive. If your thorough candidate follows the 80-20 rule, it’s all good. And if your intuitive candidate is basing intuition on data, that’s also all good. And if you have to choose one or the other, for most roles, the intuitive who understand the data is better. The exception is when a role needs to be extremely thorough, and every nuance of data and task is important, and much rides on the data and information available, go with the more thorough candidate.
  8. And vs Or. You have candidates who are very competitive and speak to their greatness in delivering specific results. And you have candidates who talk about the efforts of the team and how together the team is greater than individual members. This ‘and’ thinking is the kind of collaborative mind set which will better help your company, than the ‘or’ thinking that characterizes how someone is trying to sell herself or himself over someone else who is equally qualified for the role.
  9. Inclusive vs Selective. You will have candidates who have a track record for working with disparate teams and people, and those who have a track record for working with people just like them. Both are good, but if you had to choose, the one with experience working with diverse people would be more open to working with diverse teams, customers, technologies and requirements.
  10. Breadth vs. Depth. Although doing a deep-dive in any one technology, industry, company or market is also a very good thing, breadth in education, role, experience, company and industry will bring you a more well-rounded candidate.

These are my opinions based on what I’ve seen over 25 years in working with tech business experiencing much change. I’m sure that your mileage will vary, and I welcome your thoughts! But I also hope that my thoughts above will help you weigh which candidate would work better for you.

Negotiating Best Practices

January 15, 2016

star success partner vector logoFountainBlue’s January 15 VIP roundtable was on the topic of Negotiating Best Practices. Thank you to our senior execs participating in the discussion, as well as our gracious hosts at OCZ. Below is a summary of advice and pearls of wisdom.

  1. Be strategic and plan-ful about each negotiation, taking the time to understand the objectives and goals of various stakeholders, the motivations and drivers for each side, and work the relationship as you manage the process.
  2. Change is part of life in the tech sector. Understanding how people interact with each other, how success is measured, and how to work with various stakeholders through these changes is critical for the successful implementation of programs and projects.
  3. Today’s companies are international in flavor and scope, and negotiating with staff, business partners, customers, etc., to align goals, deliver results using a common standard, and make the top line and bottom line meet are critical to the recruitment, development and retention of your key talent.
  4. Build strong trust-based relationships with key stakeholders and partners and a relationship for communicating with transparency and integrity while delivering on results. 
  5. When negotiations get complicated, it may help to script out a conversation and do some role-playing to prepare for the negotiation.
  6. Ensure that your role and that of your team is one that facilitates communication and collaboration. 
  7. Have a list of musts, wants, and walk-aways, so that you can help manage the natural gives-and-takes when you have a yes-no-yes conversation. You can also think of it as a sandwich of good and bad things to communicate as part of the negotiation process.
  8. Don’t be afraid to make the ask, if it’s the clear and right thing to do, even if it’s awkward and uncomfortable to do it.
  9. Leveraging specialists and resources during tough negotiations, and always be actively listening and empathetic, especially when the egos of top execs are involved. 
  10. Speak the language of various groups to get them all engaged and aligned on the same goals – understanding and delivering what the customer wants.
  11. Be ready to say yes, but with conditions. (e.g., sure we can deliver by X date/integrate that solution, but we can’t hold to the standard of scalability and reliability we set)
  12. When reaching for the next rung on the corporate ladder, first consider do you want to swim with the sharks? Is it something you’re looking to do with the current company/management? If so, learn to confidently and clearly communicate your results with the right people and ensure that you get credit for the work you do. 

In the end, the key to negotiation is to plan-fully create that win-win, to address your immediate and long-term interests while factoring in that of the various stakeholders.

Fail Forward

December 19, 2015

FailForwardIn Silicon Valley, where we wear failure like a badge of courage, we must consider that not all failures are *good* failures. Having witnessed first-hand and indirectly ranging from small to spectacular, my rule of thumb when experiencing failure is whether the failure moves you forward.

  1. Moving forward means that you’ve learned something new about yourself, and what you do well, and not so well.
  2. Moving forward means that you are less likely to do a similar thing again, for very specific reasons.
  3. Moving forward means that you build new relationships in your life that adds more meaning and perspective to what you do at work and at home.
  4. It also means that some important existing relationships are different and/or better.
  5. Moving forward means that you see the overall experience as a net positive one, despite the short-term pain and upset.
  6. Moving forward means that you are stronger and better and more grounded overall.
  7. Moving forward means people who know you and used to know you may see you now in a different light.
  8. Moving forward means that you can forgive yourself, and others involved and know better what to expect from yourself and those same others in future projects.
  9. Moving forward means that you have a broader, deeper view of the world, and the people and technologies and things in it.
  10. Moving forward means that you are better and braver and more prepared for the next adventure.

As we go into a new year, look for opportunities to succeed, reach for stars, and if you have to fail, fail forward.

Productivity Gifts

December 18, 2015

ProductivityGift

People remark all the time about how I can get so much done, so in the spirit of the season, I thought I’d share my favorite productivity tools – no I have no stock in any of the products or services recommended and no, nobody is paying me to promote their product or service. I hope that you find them useful, and wish you all a happy, healthy holiday season!

  1. E-mail helps us all live and breathe – connecting and communicating with others. This year, I moved from an e-mail tool I used for decades on to Gmail. Yes, Gmail! I set up a corporate account using my domain name, and I find it better because: 1) the spam arrest is built in, intelligent, and terrific, 2) the nested conversations helps me organize and track, 3) the way the contacts link with the messages helps me see whom I sent what to, 4) the filters help me organize and track and plan, 5) the support is wonderful (yes, someone answers the phone and is knowledgeable and it comes with the subscription), 6) I can have multiple domain names to my account, and it appears just like another folder, … I could go on and on, but Google got this right! Check it out.
  2.  MixMax is a new app I tried this year, which has made my e-mails so much easier to manage! With MixMax, I can 1) better create and manage my drafts and templates, 2) better time-send my communications, 3) schedule meetings and appointments within an e-mail, 4) run polls and surveys, 5) better manage groups of people. I could go on and on. It’s great.
  3. It’s so much easier to collaborate on updating documents and spreadsheets through Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides! Whether you’re collaborating on creating a job proposal, sharing financial information, or just communicating the details about an upcoming event, there’s no easier way to document, coordinate, communicate with select people, while keeping records of versions and files.
  4. Google Voice has also served me well, as it directs all calls to several numbers – say your Skype, cell and office numbers for example – into a single phone number/point of contact. The translation of voice-to-text sent by e-mail or text is surprisingly good, and it also makes it easy to manage voice messages.
  5. Have you tried Google Photos? It is awesome if you take lots of photos, or in my case videos. It allows for unlimited unloads (if you don’t need those high-res copies) and is easily shareable as individual files or an album.
  6. My last Google plug – the new Google Wallet is also great, as it lets you easily pay people through their e-mail address. And if it’s done for non-business reasons, there are no fees. (IMHO, PayPal.me is also great, but doesn’t do the auto-deposit into account, although it does fine with the withdrawals.)
  7. Speaking of finances, you must try SquareUp for selling products or services and invoicing customers. It’s simple to set up and use and integrate, has reasonable fees, plus it does auto-deposits for you.
  8. LinkedIn is a tool I use every day – to expand and connect with the networks that matter to me. If you don’t yet have a LinkedIn profile, you’re missing out. (Thanks LinkedIn for letting me publish this article to my network, and beyond!)
  9. I love how Scoop.it allows you to collect and gather articles of interest to you, based on a theme you define. I’ve blogged on the topic of Age of Personalization and on Leadership for the past three years, capturing my own writings plus those of others on the same topic.  It helps you both define your brand and connect with people who share your interest.
  10. I started using Airtable this year, and I don’t know how I lived without it. It’s an online relationship database which lets you track, share and organize who you’re reaching out to for what purpose, and coordinate with others to reach those goals. It works well with LinkedIn.

Gasp, I’ve come to the end, and haven’t mentioned my favorite PDF-editing tool, PDFEscape, my favorite people-in-the-news app Newsle, which highlights people in your LinkedIn profile who made news headlines, CamScanner which allows you to capture and edit photos on your phone. And how can I live without Google Calendar to keep me in line and manage my time and Google Drive to organize and track my files? (Woops, I mentioned Google again, and twice!)

There’s more, much more – but I’ve got to get back to work.

Happy Holidays!

Linda

A Note of Thanks

November 25, 2015

ThanksThere’s much to be thankful for this year. I originally sent this message on to those who have touched me for any one of the bullets below, but thought it might be a message that the larger community might also appreciate. 

  1. Here’s to my own continued health and vitality, and that of those I love. It’s not until you’re sick that you appreciate the simpler things in life. It’s not until you witness the illnesses of the young, the feeble frailty and vulnerability of the old, the noble stoicism of the aging weekend warrior that you appreciate your own vigor and energy, and see fully all that life has to offer.
  2. A shout-out to the strangers who generously give their time and energy to lend a helping hand and later become a friend. Your altruism and generosity give me faith in the goodness of mankind.
  3. It’s a gift to witness the bravery and courage of those who raised the bar for themselves and insisted on making different choices, putting themselves first, and getting more of what’s rightfully theirs. You give us all hope for a better world.
  4. Thank you to those who have made me laugh at the folly of others, at the inconveniences of circumstances, and mostly at the way I nobly try to manage it. Yes, control is an illusion.
  5. For all those who gave me the resources, information and opportunity to lead, thank you so much for your faith in me, for your support of me. Life never goes as planned, but I’ve enjoyed every opportunity, every lesson and grew because you were there for me.
  6. To all those who have been part of our sports teams this year, your ongoing support, camaraderie, endurance, positive attitude and good hard work helped ensured the success of the team on and off the court. 
  7. A grateful thanks to all the players and teammates from my daughter’s teams this year. The victories, losses, close-calls, connections on and off the court provide memories for a lifetime.
  8. To all those who joined me this year for a weekly game of mahjong, thank you for bringing camaraderie, fun, entertainment, distraction and support, but mostly for showing up and being there.
  9. A shout-out to all those who took the time to listen to me when I was down, and helped me see the riches at my feet, yet beyond my imagination. I am in your debt.
  10. To my family and closest friends who witnessed my trials and tribulations this year, I am who I am, where I am because of you.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Measuring the Impact of Diversity

November 24, 2015

BeingDifferentI always thought that being different was a *good* thing, but we’ve all been conditioned to conform in various ways. There are many studies heralding the business advantages of diversity in the workplace, most notably Catalyst’s infographic listing 39 benefits of Diversity available at http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/diversity-matters. Below are suggestions on what to measure, to help leaders from across the organization ensure that diversity, a cornerstone of innovation, thrives within and throughout the organization.

  1. The most obvious thing to measure is the number of new-recruits. But measuring how these new recruits are different than current staff is also important. Consider diversity in gender, culture, orientation, age, background, and other measures as well.
  2. Another measure is a derivative of the above and often goes un-measured because of it. Measuring the quantity and variety of sources for new recruits helps ensure that a large range of recruits gets considered for employment.
  3. Some companies run programs to attract people of diverse backgrounds to an organization. Whether it’s an innovation competition, a scholarship program, or a community outreach campaign, these types of programs can successfully garner more awareness and more interest from the right people. Measuring the number and impact of corporate programs will also impact the number of job applications received.
  4. If we move on from attraction to retention and development measures, the first thing to consider is the process for identifying high-potentials. Who gets to decide who the high-potentials are? How many leaders are engaged in the process? What’s being measured when identifying these high-potentials? Rare is the organization that has a coordinated, concerted effort to even identify these high-potentials.
  5. Even those organizations who know who their high-potentials are may not have a plan for developing and retaining them! Measure how successful your organization is in developing and retaining people in general, and high-potentials in particular! How will you have a leadership pipeline if you don’t do this?
  6. It’s worth investing in the education of your people in general, and measuring how many of them attend classes and programs and certifications. Emphasize as well *who* gets selected to attend which program, favoring those identified as high-potential.
  7. A strong measure of success for any training and development program (as it is for any corporate initiative) is the engagement and commitment of senior leadership to the cause. Executive participation must go beyond the thoughts and words, but also into specific, committed and ongoing actions which provide funding and resources behind those words.
  8. Retention statistics are important, but look not just at the percentage of retention you have, but more carefully at who’s leaving. Attrition is part of the game when working in a fast-paced tech environment. Focus on and measure the retention of your best-performing high-potentials, even if that means that you might lose an overall volume of people on the team.
  9. If you do all the above well, then there should be more high-performing people with diverse backgrounds in the executive and C-suites. Of course you measure how many people there are of diverse backgrounds in those senior positions, but the problem comes when companies don’t have the diverse leadership they’re looking for and hire outside talent that might not be the right culture/social/program/tech fit rather than look at how to do all the steps above better.
  10. Of course it’s always about the bottom line, so measure:
  • The number of technologies you’re offering successfully;
  • Your expansion into new markets and opportunities;
  • The amount of revenues generated;
  • The number of new opportunities available;
  • The depth and breadth of your partnerships and client base;
  • All other corporate and cultural performance indicators.

And if it doesn’t add up, how could more diverse and varied leadership and talent make it right?

The Business Case for Diversity

November 16, 2015

November13PanelistsFountainBlue’s November 13 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series was on the topic of the Business Case for Diversity. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have panelists representing different backgrounds, upbringings and perspectives around leadership, innovation and diversity. But they had much in common:

  • they were all exposed to people from many cultures, languages and backgrounds and recognized the importance of having diverse viewpoints and accepting people for their differences;
  • they recognized and appreciated that they themselves are different, largely because their mothers helped them be confident in being original and respecting the differences in others;
  • they embraced diversity as a business advantage; and
  • they generously share their perspectives with their teams, with their company, with their community.

Collectively, our shared the following pearls of wisdom:

  • Do accept and respect that others have expectations about where you should fit and what you should do, but be your own person despite what they expect of you.
  • Respect that we are all different but equal, and all have something to share. These differences add more varied and diverse elements to work and life.
  • Find your talent, find your voice and speak your mind, while encouraging and supporting others to do the same. This takes self-awareness, patience, reflection and is part of an ongoing inner journey.
  • Know what you’re good at, accept who you are, and be passionate about what you do. With that said, STRETCH all of the above, don’t just complacently go through the motions.
    • As one panelist puts it, if you are a tiger, be that mover and shaker, if you are an elephant, be that reliable beasts of burden who get the job done but don’t be a hippo who swaddle in mud and occasionally raises his head.
  • Be strong, especially when it’s not easy to be different and un-accepted because of the differences. You are not just making a stand for yourself, but for others who are also different.
  • Develop and curate your own moral compass so that you can strike that balance between who you are, who you want to become, how you are responding to others, how others are influencing you, what you think is the right thing to do, and how to achieve the best-for-all-results. An integral part of achieving this goal is to embrace the thinking and perspectives of people not-like-you.
  • Take charge and reach for what you want to achieve in life and work, overcoming restrictions and barriers, collaborating and working with others.
  • In order to take charge, you need to curate the influence and support of those in charge. See what motivates them, show them why embracing your perspective and that of others who are different would provide a business advantage. Speak in a language they understand and respect to earn your credibility.
    • Consider that being overly-emotional might make some people uncomfortable and impact the message you would like to deliver, and how you are viewed. Manage your communication accordingly.
    • Consider that many people might be influenced by what you wear. For example, wearing skirts and jewelry might limit how others perceive you and take that into account. You could overcome these perceptions with your results and your words, but understanding how you will be perceived and making the other party comfortable and open might make it easier for you to get your message across and focus on the results, rather than gender.
  • Be patient with those who are judging you, restricting you, or trying to get you to conform. Understand the influences that have brought them to this state and work with them to embrace the value of thinking and doing things differently.

Below is advice for facilitating diversity within your organization.

  • Communicate the importance of diversity and its impact on products, team and solutions.
  • Help teams understand that they are on the same side, but may just perceive and respond differently.
  • Show management the data behind the diversity initiatives implemented.
  • Put the actions behind your words – encourage out-of-the-box thinking, hire diverse people on to your team, reward different perspectives, listen to those who see things differently, encourage people from different teams to participate, etc.,

In the end, we hope that the panelists and the event encourage all to better embrace diversity as an opportunity for you to rise and shine and find a better, deeper, more complete version of yourself and others around you.

Resource:


Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at TI and our panelists for FountainBlue’s When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series, on the topic of the Business Case for Diversity:

​Facilitator Camille Smith, Work In Progress Coaching
Panelist Monica S Bajaj, Senior Engineering Manager, NetApp
Panelist April Greene, HR Director, Juniper
Panelist SK Lau, Product Line Engineering Operations, Texas Instruments
Panelist Shobhana Viswanathan, Product Marketing, VMWare

Ten Steps to Better Decision-Making

November 4, 2015

Decision-Making

Wouldn’t it be great if we could logically and methodically think through the most important decisions of our lives and feel confident that we are making the right choice for the right reason, without second-guessing ourselves, without looking back? In working with dozens of professionals at all levels, making decisions big and small, I’ve come up with ten simple steps to break down the decision-making process. I hope that you also find it helpful.

  1. Decide to decide. There’s nothing more crippling and stressful than to know that you have to make a decision, and yet aren’t doing it for whatever reason. No matter how high the stakes, how stressed out you are, how many factors are involved, the first step to resolving the problem is to decide to decide. The worst thing you can do is to procrastinate or delay or delegate or rationalize, or whatever-else-you’re-doing that’s not-deciding! (With that said, you may decide that no decision is necessary, or it’s not your decision to make, or that the decision doesn’t have to be made right now, and that’s ok too. Just let it go then.)
  2. Identify 5-10 criteria for making a decision. In complex decisions, there are so many factors to consider. Identifying each of these criteria will help you break down the pieces so that you can dissect and analyze in unemotional, methodical and rational ways.
  3. Decide how important each of these criteria are to you personally. Assign each criteria a percentage of importance and make sure that the sum of the percentages equal 100%. It’s important to understand how you personally weigh in on the importance of each criteria before looking at the individual options, before looking at what other people think about the importance of each criteria.
  4.  Then consider *why* each criteria is important to you, and factor in how important each criteria is to other important people in your life. Adjust the percentages based on the reasoning behind your thinking and how important the criteria is for others in your life. Also consider the short-term and long-term importance of the criteria and adjust the percentages as necessary.
  5.  Rank your criteria based on how important each is to you. Do a gut-check to make sure that your prioritized list correctly reflects your thinking. Adjust as necessary.
  6. Add 2-4 options that you are considering.
  7. Stack-rank how well each option does compared to the other options for the 3-5 most important criteria. Do a gut-check to make sure that the information is  correct.
  8. Add a new option that you were not considering, but could be an opportunity for you.
  9. Use the chart to decide what to do. Consider questions such as: Which option looks best? Which option do you prefer? What do you need to negotiate to make your favorite option also the best option?
  10. Make a selection and move forward based on the many factors you’ve considered. Stand strong in your decision knowing the data and thinking behind that decision is solid. But also be prepared to re-think your choice if things change.

Best of luck with your decision-making! Let us know your best practice for making decisions and/or how this process helped you make a tough decision. We are also happy to share some thoughts about common decisions people make: job selection, car selection, college selection, candidate selection, etc.,