“By expanding our network and seeking out diverse perspectives, we can gain valuable insights that help us overcome decision-making challenges.” – Timothy Welch
In this episode, I interviewed Timothy Welch, a seasoned engineer and leader with more than 15 years of experience across diverse industries, such as startups, telecommunications, and healthcare about the intricacies of decision-making. We delve into crucial topics like steering through life-altering choices without succumbing to analysis paralysis, achieving equilibrium between reason and emotion, steering clear of decision fatigue and potential business setbacks, and recognizing the pivotal role emotions play in the decision-making process.
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Empowering Your Decision-Making:
- People can get stuck in decision-making in two different ways: either when there’s only one option and they become fixated on it, or when there are too many options and they become overwhelmed with analysis paralysis.
- To overcome decision fatigue and analysis paralysis, follow three steps: staying gentle with yourself, seeking perspective, and getting curious. Staying gentle is important to avoid becoming frustrated or overwhelmed. Seeking perspective, especially from outside sources, can provide valuable insight when you feel stuck with only one option. Lastly, getting curious about other perspectives can open up new options and possibilities.
- When seeking perspective, it’s important to reach out to coworkers and individuals who are outside of your usual circle or bubble. For engineers, it can be helpful to talk to UX/UI people, who use a different part of their brain and can provide a more far-off perspective. By expanding our network and seeking out diverse perspectives, we can gain valuable insights that help us overcome decision-making challenges.
- It’s not always possible to have all the information when making a decision, and striving for 100% information can lead to diminishing returns and be very time-consuming. The 70% rule, as Jeff Bezos called it, suggests that once you have gathered around 70% of the necessary information, it’s time to decide and take action. This approach allows for a faster pace in a fast-paced environment like the tech industry, and can lead to better alignment with the company.
- Embracing uncertainty and getting out of your comfort zone is essential for developing resilience and confidence in decision-making. This can be achieved by taking small risks and challenging oneself, such as extending workout routines or taking cold showers, to gradually building up a tolerance for uncertainty and discomfort.
- Consistency, embracing uncertainty, and finding uncomfortable places are key strategies for developing the skill of making decisions in an ever-changing environment. By establishing a consistent process and embracing uncertainty, individuals can build the confidence and resiliency needed to make better decisions. Seeking out uncomfortable experiences can help individuals grow and develop the skills needed to thrive in uncertain situations.
- Gaining perspective and reframing negative thoughts can help us overcome feelings of grief and loss and enable us to move forward with a positive mindset. It’s important to recognize our accomplishments and the impact we have made, even if the result may not be what we expected or hoped for. By reframing our thoughts and focusing on the positive aspects of our experiences, we can develop a resilient attitude and continue to strive toward our goals.
- Timothy provides two examples of decision-making processes. The first one involves choosing between two CI/CD deployment options, where intuition played a role in the final decision. The second example highlights a personal decision to quit a job and become a life coach. Timothy used the 70% methodology but procrastinated due to fear, ultimately wasting four months, which shows that he could have made the decision earlier.
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