Decision making


I can’t because….

  • I’m not clear that this is the right strategy for me now
  • There are just a few edits that I want to make
  • People might not buy what I’m offering
  • I can’t do this alone
  • There are so many pieces I can’t quite figure out yet
  • Things might change after this next client engagement

You get the picture.

They feel like genuine “more real than real” reasons. They might be seen as others as excuses.

You might be able to distinguish the truth in hindsight. In the moment, it is so tempting to label things as a reason than as an excuse. Then we might have to admit that we are afraid… afraid of failing, of looking inadequate or any number of fears.

I can imagine that each MBTI type has reasons/excuses that are more typical for their type. Do NT’s worry about such things as strategy – SJ’s about being able to achieve timely output – SP’s about being fenced in – NF’s about cutting off possibilities?

If you sense confusion or overwhelm is what is stopping you, get curious about what would happen if those reasons weren’t as solid as they appear.

Category : Change | Decision making | Blog

ET - Someone has to decide

One study of 26,477 persons in a Leadership Development Program at the Center for Creative Leadership, reported the following percentage frequencies:

1. ISTJ 18.2%

2. ESTJ 16.0%

3. ENTJ 13.1%

4. INTJ 10.5%

All types can be effective leaders. And conversely all types can be ineffective. There are certain types that predominate and this study illustrates the tendency to see the Thinking preference in leaders profiles. Even though these MBTI profiles or preferences are not an indication of capacity or capability, many of us have been predisposed to turn to those who make quick decisions when we are looking for leadership.

A recent study Psychometrics Canada interviewed HR professionals:

When asked to rate the importance of various leadership skills to success, 90% reported that communication is critically important, followed by dealing with change (52.6%), managing people (48.2%), setting goals (37.5%), solving problems (30.3%) and project management (12%).

We are recognizing the importance of reflection and developing strong relationships and ultimately expanding our view of leadership beyond decision making.

If the cartoon is not visible see it here.

Category : Decision making | Doodles | Leadership | Blog

Seth Godin, author of Linchpin and my blog of choice each day talks about the limitations imposed by the fear originating in what he calls our lizard brain.

“The lizard is a physical part of your brain, the pre-historic lump near the brain stem that is responsible for fear and rage and reproductive drive.”

This fear shows up as resistance that infects the voice in our head we listen to telling us “to go slow, be careful, not to risk, not to try, not to rock the boat, not to stand out etc. etc,)

There is a distinction I would like to add to Seth’s wisdom that comes from understanding the instinctual subtypes of Enneagram. In other words we are not all created equal in our motivation in this area. We are driven by needs for intimacy, for social needs and for security, safety and self care or self preservation needs. BUT we do not have these in the same intensity or priority. You can watch the clip of Enneagram author Helen Palmer below

If you recognize that self preservation or security needs are highly important to you, you need to factor that into how you decide what to listen to. These needs are not going to go away nor can you simply dismiss them. However, it seems to me that people with strong security needs often pay a price that they don’t acknowledge consciously. They will stay in a relationship or difficult work situation long past the time to take action because the familiar discomfort of the current conditions seems less painful than the discomfort of the what is unknown and insecure.

Avoiding is not a strategy or plan that works long term. Don’t wait for a crisis in order to make a plan of action. You can make a plan that is rational and well considered and respectful of who you are as a person. Sacrificing your power by relinquishing the steering wheel for the illusion of safety is anything but safe.

Category : Decision making | Other Assessments | Uncategorized | Blog

We become the stories we tell ourselves. I have seen assessment tools such as the MBTI and Enneagram used to justify believing faulty tales we tell ourselves about who we are.

In case I have just lost you completely let me get more concrete.

Imagine an INTJ who in the course of their day to day work is accustomed to getting the “big picture” swiftly and getting into action perhaps without a lot of engagement with fellow staff because why bother when the outcome required is so obvious and required. The INTJ simply sees things so clearly that they can’t imagine others don’t as well.

On the other hand in this specific circumstance the powers that interpreted this independent and individualistic approach as something exclusionary, perhaps cool and labeled it not “collegial” and grounds for dismissal in a work culture that values being a team player.

Here’s where the storytelling part kicks in.

Does this become the truth… that this person is not collegial and is somehow defective in this area? Or is this an event to learn from and to use to build next steps? What a shame to let it become part of a story that reinforces something that keeps one stuck and in fear of trying again.

We are always trying to make sense of reality. Something happens. We bring what we know from our senses and then we interpret that data through all the filters of our past experiences and our belief systems. It is an easy leap to latch onto a tool such as the MBTI to explain or even justify what occurred. “Because I am INTJ or INFP or name your type, I can’t…I don’t….I won’t…they always…this happens…”

My advice is to see each event for what it is or what it was. Something happened. Perhaps based on MBTI preferences how someone responded contributed to the way people reacted BUT it is not a direct automatic result that will happen every time. Each one of us gets to be at choice. We can become aware of our impact on others. Armed with that knowledge we can become transparent about how we interact. Yes it may take courage to say something like “I get focused on the end result and may need your help to remember to seek your input or lighten up or…”

In decision after decision day after day we get to decide what we want to happen or at least how we want to react to what happens and not let past experiences become a verdict of a doomed future.

If a past experience cannot be forgiven or forgotten get help from a coach or therapist to reframe the event and get the learning. Then let go of the story especially if it impacts negatively on your identity and decide what is the next step that lines up with your heart, your gut and your head.

(Note: This post was sparked by an email from a reader. Unfortunately the return email was not deliverable so I wanted to address the aspect of storytelling that leaped off the screen at me by responding in a post – not my first choice but perhaps it will resonate with someone else as well)

Category : Decision making | Perspectives | Blog

MBTI Feeling preference Decision-making Criteria

What is the logical rational first thing that needs to happen when you are making a significant life or business decision? If you have a preference for Thinking, your answer to this question might just be that you need to identify your criteria for a successful outcome. That way you will be able to compare and decide if the option before you meets that criteria.

While this makes sense in theory, in practice someone with a preference for Feeling will typically have a different approach. They may eventually come up with a very rational and objective set of criteria but a more subjective approach will lead them there.

Category : Decision making | Doodles | MBTI Facts | Blog

Abstract landscape painting


I have needed a new computer since last Spring but it was getting to the point where my indecision was nothing but SAD. I asked everyone everywhere – pc or mac? I finally made a decision to save money and the agony of a steep learning curve by committing to a pc. Then just before the trip to the store I simply HAD to ask on LinkedIn – pc or mac? Seventeen passionate mac users responded – enthusiastic, witty and articulate. The kind lone pc user didn’t have a chance against this chorus. It was as if the tribe had spoken.

This is my first post on Blanca – my new mac. I have included the image above named MISTY for three reasons. First, I am finally out of my fog of indecision. Second, I am learning how to do things without classes or reading my new 713 page OS-X for Dummies or calling the 1-800 number I paid to have access to. In part, perhaps, this is an ENFP thing but regardless why, my experiential approach leaves me wandering in the mist – finding my way. Third this is a celebration that I can finally add images again – on my old dinosaur- which shall remain nameless – it simply wouldn’t let me insert an image.

Grateful for the relief of action – indecision stifles creativity.

As an aside – I am open to best advice for Mac Lovers. Please leave your suggestions in the comments and I promise to read and apply what I can. Also I am curious if there is a type correlation with who uses what type of computer and why so if you comment and wish to include your MBTI type that would be interesting indeed. 



Category : Decision making | Personal | Blog

Psychometrics is the hub for MBTI in Canada. In the September newsletter Psychometrics Direct, Shawn Bakker writes an article on applying the MBTI functions of Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling as a guided process for making career decisions. This sequence allows you to:

  • Focus on the facts
  • Identify the possibilities
  • Identify the consequences
  • Identify what is most important

Type theory indicates that each one of us uses all four functions in a sequence that is particular to our type. For my ENFP type for example, the dominant function is Intuition. The second function that comes into play is Feeling. This makes sense to me as I can see that I very quickly can see future possibilities and then I make a value judgment. These two processes close a loop in the decision making process – BINGO – I have decided. It takes compelling new data and thoughtful analysis to open that loop.

The interpretive report from CPP, the publishers of the MBTI, gives you details for your own sequence of preferences. You can see a sample report here.

For those times when you need to have a solid process to explore an issue the same process that Shawn suggests can be applied to other decisions beyond career choices. You may find it extremely helpful when a group of divergent styles and point of view needs to make an informed decision. The secret is in the sequence.

Start with Sensing in order to gather all of the data. Gather facts based on what your five senses can tell you about the present moment. Observe all of the details in a systematic fashion scanning the whole environment in all directions. While gathering data avoid making any conjectures about what they might mean.

In step two, use Intuition to see patterns, how things interconnect and what might be possible. Ask if the theories that you have put forth fit the data that you collected? A helpful question to ask is “What might this be?” What else?” You will want to cover all of the possibilities… expanding without zeroing in on any one assumption for the moment.

It is during step three, using the Thinking function, will help to try out different scenarios and test them with rational cause and effect analysis. Consider the consequences and full cost of each possibility that you brought forth in Step two. It is not yet time to allow your loyalties or habits to influence the process. That happens in the final step.

Step four brings in the Feeling function and involves seeing things from the perspective of everyone involved and how the end result will affect the whole. The values involved are the final measure by which we make a good decision. Which solution will work the best for all stakeholders?

Category : Decision making | Blog