In the Moment

Decision-Making is More than Bravado

Social media provides plenty of fodder for blogger intros and pastoral sermon illustrations. I was reading someone’s posts a while ago in response to a police officer who froze up on the job. The writer commented that if they were faced with that situation, their response would be too quick and decisive to give them the chance to freeze up. Sometime later, that person was faced with a real-life situation where they did exactly what most people without training for such situations do – they ducked for cover and stayed hidden until the danger was gone.

You want to make the right decision when the crisis moment occurs, and you are right to think that we will act out of instinct when the time comes. An instinct is a fixed behavior – muscle memory. Human instinct is pre-programmed for self-preservation. To create a new instinctual behavior requires a commitment to training your mind and body to respond differently to a triggering event.

As a leader, your followers look to you for decisions that are in their best interest, even though they know your job is to make decisions best for the organization. Your staff, your followers, trust you to look out for them. Your prognosticating language about how you’re going to take care of your staff and how you will always make them your first priority is only as good as the air you use until you make good on those promises.

Your instinct is for self-preservation, so how are you going to do right by your followers?

First, train yourself to respond the way you want in a given situation. Boxers, martial artists, cops, Marines, and others spend years perfecting their responses through repetitive training. You can’t always create role-play situations to act out a response, but you can use other methods to train your mind toward decision-making strategies that accomplish your end goal.

Visualization, for instance, will help you train your mind to respond the way you want. Your mind will tell your body to behave the way you visualize it to behave based on the trigger.

Second, believe in what you want to accomplish. If you’re only giving lip service to your outcomes and don’t believe in what you’re trying to do, then your mind won’t commit to the action when the time comes.

Third, as trite as this may sound – fake it till you make it. Just because the behavior you want to do isn’t natural for you, you can still behave that way until it becomes natural. Start with smaller situations you know you will have more often to practice your changes.

Fourth, let someone else know what you’re trying to do. Accountability is key to making any change. Let someone who is around you a lot know what you’re doing and what you want to accomplish. Accept their feedback when they bring to your attention that you’re not on track.

Question: How do you prepare for ‘In the moment’ decision-making? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

I am an author, speaker, and leader with a passion for developing people into practical leaders who put their principles into practice. I am the co-author of the acclaimed book Faith Acts with best-selling author Dillon Burroughs, the Chief Operations Officer at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, and an independent leadership consultant to up and coming leaders and start up nonprofit organizations. My greatest joy, however, is serving Christ and his Church. I am the proud husband of Shay and father of two great boys. We live in Chattanooga, TN. #NoogaStrong

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or downright annoying.

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