5 Simple Questions To Create The Best Leadership Decisions

Mike Pelfini — 17 December 2015

When faced with leadership decisions to make or problem to solve, we’re so geared to thinking it through–to using our minds–that we end up forgetting.  We forget that, in addition to our brains, we’ve got a powerful and equally effective ally to use.

It’s about the size of a fist, and located just behind and slightly to the left of the breastbone.  It is of course the myocardium, or heart.

Sure, the heart’s primary function is to pump life-sustaining blood through the body’s circulatory system.  Then why is our language so filled with heart references in subjects having nothing to do with its apparent only physiological role?  As in

  • I know it by heart
  • Cross my heart and hope to die
  • She’s (he’s) a heart-throb
  • Heart-felt and sincerest wishes
  • I love you with all my heart
  • Home is where the heart is

It turns out that all of the poetry, songs and sayings about the heart “knowing” were not just idle chatter; we now have scientific validation that the heart shares brain-like functions. The connection of the brain’s prefrontal lobes to the heart has been demonstrated at the neurological, biochemical and biophysical levels. [1]

What’s this got to do with decision-making?

When deciding what leadership decisions & behaviors or actions a particular situation requires from me, I’ve found it best to engage both my brain AND my heart by answering five simple questions.

First, to ensure that you touch on each aspect of the mental processes involved, do what Ann Herrmann refers to as a Whole Brain Decision-Making Walk Around [2], mentally “walking around” the Whole Brain® four-quadrant model asking:

  1. Do I have all of the facts?
  2. What level of control will I have?
  3. How will this decision affect others?
  4. Have I seen and considered all of the hidden possibilities?

Second, travel the 18 inches from your brain to check in with your heart, asking:

  1. How does this decision feel?

After answering these questions, if you are left with a solid, secure and balanced feeling, this is a sure signal that you’ve engaged what’s referred to as your heart intelligence in validating your decision. [3]

Ultimately, there are no good or bad ways to make decisions.  There are only the consequences that follow from them.  Considering all aspects of the mental processes involved, as well as engaging with the heart, will increase the likelihood that the consequences of your decision will be positive.

[1] [3] Doc Lew Childre and Howard Martin, The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of Heart- Math’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence (HarperCollins: 1999), 28-34.[2] Ned Herrmann and Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, The Whole Brain Business Book (New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 1996, 2015)

Mike Pelfini of Michael Pelfini Consulting provides leadership coaching and training for CEOs, senior leaders and executive teams.  Mike guides individuals and organizations across thresholds onto paths leading to deeper purpose, rediscovered relevance and greater sustainability…to maximum achievement.

Contact Mike for a free consultation!
(415) 250-4139

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