'Remember to stand up straight'

How to assess your decision making.

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Charlie Perkins.
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As a child, little did I know that a simple directive from my mother to “stand up straight” would have such a profound impact on my ability to make decisions as an adult.

You make thousands of decisions in a day. The number is higher than you might guess. And for leaders, many decisions must be made on behalf of others. We make enormous decisions regularly that may heavily impact our homes, organizations, the people who work for us, our clients and customers, and the investors and stakeholders who support us.

When a crucial decision must be made that could affect any of these parties, we need to assess the possible outcomes and potential risks. Here are three ways for decision-makers to ensure they take responsible risks.

  1.  The mission, vision, and values of your organization are the boundaries for good decision-making. Within those boundaries, opportunities are maximized, and risks are minimized. Buy-in and engagement will generate support for the endeavor rather than resistance.
  2.  Tap into the wisdom of wise leaders with whom you surround yourself. Seek research and data to inform your decision-making as you consider alternatives and the associated consequences of taking the risk. See if your organization has a structured method for considering risks and using them.
  3.   If a decision is made to take a risk, ensure you are getting feedback from a diverse group of people. This includes listening to the ideas, insights, and perspectives of people on your board or in your organization. The business case for gender diversity is clear. The mix of perspectives can provide powerful guidance in making responsible decisions.

While it is vitally important to collect and carefully consider all the facts before making any decision, never go against your gut feeling. And remember to “stand up straight.”

About Charlie Perkins


Charlie Perkins is an author, musician, photographer, and videographer based in Rochester. The Chicago-bred Perkins attended Northwestern University concentrating on Radio, TV Broadcasting, and Interpersonal Communications. He spent 29 years at Harris Bank in Chicago and taught “Principles of Corporate Television” Columbia College in the same city. He has also spent 17 years as Unit Manager, Media Support Services for the Mayo Clinic. In a previous life, he covered the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan’s championship run, ’96-‘98 as a freelance photographer.

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