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The Art To Becoming A Decisive Leader

Source | | Joseph Folkman

Have you ever purchased a car? Doing so is an excellent example of a difficult decision.

Things to consider:

  • Make and model
  • Dealer
  • New or used
  • Financing
  • Trade-in
  • Test drives
  • Negotiations

In other words, buying a car is a tough decision. If you consider all the factors, it becomes incredibly complex and hard to choose one car over another. My solution is to call my brother-in-law; he loves to read consumer reports. He asks me what I want in a car, and then he provides the top three choices. This process helps but making the final choice is still a stressful experience.

When making a difficult decision, you have a great deal of what Leon Festinger called cognitive dissonance. In the beginning, we open our minds to lots of different alternatives, all of which look good in some ways and bad in others. Struggling with several various options creates dissonance because many of the choices are mutually exclusive. Most of us hate cognitive dissonance. As a result, we tend to rationalize our choice, defend our decision, and then find reasons to denigrate alternatives. The most common problem, due to this justification process, is that it may take you a long time to recognize that you made a poor decision. It happens in all aspects of life: at home, at work, raising kids, or even buying cars. Once you decide, you find yourself defending the decision and it’s difficult to accept the fact that this may have been a wrong decision.

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