The Complexity of Decision-Making

The emergencies that school principals wrestle with each day, demand a constant flow of choices and decisions, or as one principal described it, “reactions.”

From the most mundane requests to the demands of an irate parent, the school principal must make choices each day largely around the priority of keeping everyone happy.

Dealing with the constant ‘live moment’, she develops a habit of navigating through decision-making based on emergencies. Those decisions are made on the spur of the moment, where the temptation is high to opt for shallow and short-sighted considerations. There is seldom time to reflect over a long-term view of the implications of decisions or careful scrutiny of the ramifications for people.

As a consequence, an abnormally high percentage of the school principal’s time is spent on making decisions as a way of stopping the bleeding, as it were. Also, this energy-zapping process leaves the principal with fewer chances to develop sound decision making processes.

Instead of consistently demonstrating a razor-sharp mind honed by a capacity to synchronize, compare, contrast and assimilate, the principal finds his mind in atrophy, blunted by trivialities and too exhausted to capably deal with the real courageous choices that she needs to make.

Tomorrow, they go through the same cycle.

How then, does one lead wisely when decision-making is so complex?

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