Make decisions in a timely fashion

October 15, 2011

Each decision made in managing your staff presents as a new journey.

My sister blew that theory out of the water because she would poke a hole in the bottom of every chocolate to see what flavor it was. If she liked it, she would proceed to eat it. If she did not like it, she would simply put the candy back in its place for the next soul to break a tooth on, because it would harden to the consistency of a rock within hours.

Whether her decision-making process was right or wrong, it certainly would not be described as middle of the road. She didn't spend a lot of time weighing the goods and bads of her decision-but she did get the answer she was seeking.

Straddling the road

Hence, the very person that comes to us for advice and a diagnosis becomes the key person with all the potential answers. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with the patient, but he or she perceives that there is. We end up straddling the center line of the road to determine what might be or is wrong.

Patients can become exasperated because of all the questions we need to ask.

I have had more than one patient state, "How should I know? That's why I came here. Don't you know the answer?"

Actually, sometimes I don't!

I need to glean the information from someone who cannot differentiate between a symptom, a sign, or a red herring.

But one answer I do know: One way or another, you have to make a decision and get out of the middle of the road. Right or wrong . . . make the call.

I had a colleague, Grant, who mastered the art of walking the dotted line. He spent so much time questioning "if this, then that" and being ultra-politically correct that he was constantly mired in the quicksand of non-decision.

No matter what decision he was trying to make, he never weaved into the right or left lane. He stayed firmly planted in the middle.

It became so frustrating that one day, in my kind and gentle way, I said, "You need to pick a lane. Stay in the right lane and keep a steady speed and you will get to your location sooner or later. No glitches, no risk, but potentially a lot of white-knuckle driving because vehicles will constantly try to merge into your lane. You'll always keep swerving to avoid them, but you will always risk being hit.