Decision Making For Dummies
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Your relationship with your ego is an essential part of your decision-making expertise. Everyone has an ego — composed of your self-esteem, self-worth, and personal sense of security — and it's the ego's job is to look after your safety and security in the big world. When your fundamental emotional need to feel safe isn't met, you'll fill in the gaps, sometimes in ways that undermine your ability to make sound decisions.

An ego that's in a sad state of health is behind nearly every poor business decision: Failing to report bad news, putting personal career interests ahead of the company, telling the boss what she wants to hear rather than what she needs to hear . . . all expose your company to greater risk, and all are manifestations of an ego that's looking to protect itself.

To assess how powerful your ego is and ensure that it doesn't undermine your ability to make sound decisions, answer these four questions and then follow the suggested recommendations:

  1. Do you say yes to everything you're asked to do, regardless of the implications on your personal life?

    If the answer is yes, you likely seek approval, or you fear conflict. Gain greater confidence by strengthening your self-worth.

  2. Do you put other people down in order to feel more important?

    If you answer yes, your relationship with power is based on use of authority instead of your self-value. Trust your value and extend the same trust to your coworkers.

  3. Do you seek to avoid conflict at any cost?

    If you answer yes, you'll sacrifice truth to sustain a false sense of harmony. When you don't alert leaders to bad news, the company is exposed to more risk. Exercise your leadership abilities. Find the courage to speak your truth.

  4. Are you afraid of making a mistake or letting people down?

    If you answer yes, work to strengthen confidence in your abilities and let go of the need to be perfect. Trust in your creativity and ability to adapt. How secure you feel — financially, emotionally, ethically, and personally — contributes to the strength of your decisions.

By looking after your emotional needs, you look after your ego. When you have a strong relationship with your ego, you can function at a high level.

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Dawna Jones generates imaginative insights and applies 25 years experience in helping businesses and organizations make bold decisions. She co-designs the future of organizations, transforming them from "business-as-usual" to inclusive cultures of prosperity.

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