The Order of Operations for Effective Decision Making
Throughout my journey of helping startups, I have learned a lot about myself and the way my body and mind works. I have implemented a method of ordering the use of my body parts to effectively make decisions. I originally developed this method as The Order of Operations for Effective Communication, but through sharing my ideas with others and receiving feedback I have concluded that this method can be applied across the board into all decisions (not just communication).
The order goes as follows:
1 - The Eyes & Ears
2 - The Heart & Mind
3 - The Mouth & Body
The Eyes & Ears
Before making any decisions we should first activate our Eyes & Ears to gather information. We must listen and look for information to build an image of our current situation. Let's use communication as an example throughout this article. When in a conversation with someone, the majority of the information we obtain comes from listening to the person's voice - The words they say, the tone, the context, etc. and looking at the person's body language - Facial expressions, posture, body gestures, etc. Additional information can come from our surroundings so pay attention to that as well to get a full scope of your situation.
The Heart & Mind
Now that we have gathered information from The Eyes & Ears we must activate our "Heart" & Mind to process the information.
Disclaimer: There are debates about whether the heart play's a role with decision making or not. In this article we are going to assume that the heart does play an important role in our emotional experience.
As our Heart and Mind work, we store the information and begin to process it. In addition to the newly gathered information, our mind also refers to information stored in the past relating to our current situation. Back to our conversation example: whether it be information about our relationship with the other person or information relating to a similar conversation we had with someone else, our Heart and Mind are working in unison to utilize all the information available to draw a conclusion. These conclusions exist in various forms such as thoughts, opinions, emotions, decisions, etc.
The Mouth & Body
Once our Mind & Heart has drawn their most rational conclusion, we may proceed to The Mouth & Body. The mouth and the rest of our body are used for ACTION. Action can be an amazing thing, but just as easily, it can be a terrible thing. Our actions are the end result of this decision making process. Whether it be something we say or something we do, our Mouth and Body will carry out the function. Actions include anything and everything including speaking, yelling, hugging, punching, walking away, running towards...you get the picture. With every action comes a reaction, and this reaction dictates what happens next, starting the cycle all over again.
In order to make the most effective decisions one must operate body functions in this order to ensure information is gathered, processed, and acted on. Taking actions outside of this order is extremely dangerous and is probably a major contributor of any "bad decisions" we have made in our lives. This process will help us all make safer and smarter decisions in our business, personal, and social lives. It takes extreme practice and discipline to continuously follow this model, but in time, anyone with the desire and persistence to do so, will. The results are staggering and can be what makes or breaks your ability to succeed. Use this method to improve your ability to make effective and efficient decisions.
If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comment section below.