The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain.  As it tires, your brain looks for shortcuts.  The 2 most common decision avoidance tactics are:

  • to act impulsively (without seeing the consequences of the decision)
  • to procrastinate (do nothing)

Taking decisions takes willpower.  Willpower is a form of mental energy that can be exhausted. It is like a muscle that gets fatigued with use.

There are a limited number of good decisions that one can take in a day.  You might be a more effective decision maker than those around you, but you will still have a finite limit on the number of good decisions you can take in a day.

Decision Fatigue for Leaders

How do you Ration your decision making?

In the toughest days of my life as a CEO – dealing with the fallout from the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the collapse in bank lending at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009, I hit my limits of decision fatigue.  In order to get through the weeks and have energy to deal with the things that would allow us as a business to get through these tough times, I rationed my decision making.

The first step was to specify when and where I would take decisions.  (Initially… when: on a Friday; where: only in my office).  Previously my team would approach me at any time in the day, over coffee, over lunch, via email, via sms to request budget for small projects or permission to do some new activity.  I felt responsable as leader for providing an immediate answer.  It was killing me and leaving me with no energy to dedicate to building our future once we survived the immediate crisis.

“That’s great, bring it on Friday…”

I decided that I would take all budget decisions on a Friday between 9-12.  If someone came to me with a request, I learnt to say “that’s great, bring it on Friday and we can take a decision”.  It was hard at first, people were frustrated and angry and didn’t like my lack of willingness to engage at the time and place that they wanted.  Over the following months, the people around me learnt to plan ahead and bring the information necessary to take a good decision on the Friday before they needed the decision.

It gave me peace at lunchtimes, in the break area, even in my office when someone opened the door on a Tuesday.   It was a challenge to remove my sense of responsibility to decide at all moments.  I learnt to be able to have a conversation where I could contribute ideas, but allow it to be clear that no final decision would be taken during this discussion.

When One decision is not really One decision…

My wife realised that one of her struggles with going to the gym is that it was never just one single decision.  Each trip to the gym was a series of decisions: do I change at home or at the gym? do I shower at the gym or at home?  will I eat there or not?  which t-shirt will I bring? which trainers will I use today? which bag will I use?  As the idea of gym came up, her brain knew that it would be exhausted by the series of 20 decisions.  Her solution?  She wrote down all the questions that she used to ask herself and wrote the answers.  She make going to the gym become one simple decision, with a written template of pre-decided answers (shower=yes, trainers=blue, eat=there…)

In Vistage one of the first processes of change that we see in a new CEO member, is a greater awareness of which decisions they should be taking and which decisions they should not be taking.

Are you taking €10,000 decisions, €100 decisions or €1 decisions?  

If you are taking the €1 decisions, your brain’s decision willpower will be depleted before lunchtime.

If you are taking the €1 decisions, your €10,000 decisions will not be receiving the analysis and impact that they deserve.

Jack Welch spoke about the size of decisions that he allowed himself to be taking.  GE is a multi-billion business.  As leader Jack allowed himself to only be taking decisions that could affect at least $50M of the market capitalisation.  

Steve Jobs is famous for having a wardrobe full of identical blue jeans and black t-shirts.  It was not a fashion decision, it was a conservation of decision willpower for the important decisions of Apple.  Barrack Obama speaks about a similar challenge as President of the USA.  He set up a structure around him that ensured that he would take no more than 5 important leadership decisions in a day.

The Structure of Leadership Decision Making

The Vistage Decision Model captures 60 years of experience of working with CEOs as they take operational and strategic decisions to lead their companies and their lives.  There are 3 levels of Decision “skill” – Instinct, Judgement and Perspectives.  There are 5 areas of leadership decision: Talent, Operations, Financials, Customers and Leadership Style.

The Vistage Decision Model

Learn More about the Vistage Decision Model

Jeff Bezos of Amazon has a very clear view on how to dedicate his time as a leader of his business:

  • Time working on the Future
  • Time working in the Present

How does Jeff allocate his time?

50/50?  80/20?  90/10?…

What do you think is the allocation of time that Jeff aims for himself?  What is the allocation of time in your life as a leader?  Watch the video for Jeff’s answer.

(If you want to skip all the introduction and go straight to Jeff’s answer, go to 3:05 in the video or click Jeff Bezos’ ideal allocation of CEO time)

If you liked this idea from Jeff Bezos, check out Amazon: Why Jeff Bezos banned Powerpoint and Jeff Bezos on High Standards (and why you don’t achieve your goals).

The term “archetype” means original pattern in ancient Greek. Jung used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. He identified 12 universal, mythic characters archetypes reside within our collective unconscious.

Jung defined twelve primary types that represent the range of basic human motivations.  Each of us tends to have one dominant archetype that dominates our personality.

The 12 Jungian Archetypes

  1. Ruler
  2. Creator/Artist
  3. Sage
  4. Innocent
  5. Explorer
  6. Rebel
  7. Hero
  8. Wizard
  9. Jester
  10. Everyman
  11. Lover
  12. Caregiver

 

What do each of the 12 archetypes seek?

The 4 Cardinal Orientations

The 4 cardinal orientations that the archetypes are seeking to realise are:

  1. Ego – Leave a Mark on the World
  2. Order – Provide Structure to the World
  3. Social – Connect to others
  4. Freedom – Yearn for Paradise

 

The 12 Archetypes in Detail

Detailed Description of Desires, Fears and Talents of each of the 12 Archetypes

The Ego Types

1. The Innocent

  • Motto: Free to be you and me
  • Core desire: to get to paradise
  • Goal: to be happy
  • Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong
  • Strategy: to do things right
  • Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence
  • Talent: faith and optimism
  • The Innocent is also known as: Utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.

2. The Everyman

  • Motto: All men and women are created equal
  • Core Desire: connecting with others
  • Goal: to belong
  • Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd
  • Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch
  • Weakness: losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships
  • Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretense
  • The Everyman is also known as: The good old boy, regular guy/girl, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbor, the silent majority.

3. The Hero

  • Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way
  • Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts
  • Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world
  • Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”
  • Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible
  • Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
  • Talent: competence and courage
  • The Hero is also known as: The warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.

4. The Caregiver

  • Motto: Love your neighbour as yourself
  • Core desire: to protect and care for others
  • Goal: to help others
  • Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude
  • Strategy: doing things for others
  • Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited
  • Talent: compassion, generosity
  • The Caregiver is also known as: The saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.

The Soul Types

5. The Explorer

  • Motto: Don’t fence me in
  • Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
  • Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
  • Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
  • Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
  • Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
  • Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul
  • The explorer is also known as: The seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.

6. The Rebel

  • Motto: Rules are made to be broken
  • Core desire: revenge or revolution
  • Goal: to overturn what isn’t working
  • Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual
  • Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock
  • Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime
  • Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom
  • The Outlaw is also known as: The rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.

7. The Lover

  • Motto: You’re the only one
  • Core desire: intimacy and experience
  • Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work and surroundings they love
  • Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved
  • Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive
  • Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing own identity
  • Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment
  • The Lover is also known as: The partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.

8. The Creator/Artist

  • Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
  • Core desire: to create things of enduring value
  • Goal: to realize a vision
  • Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution
  • Strategy: develop artistic control and skill
  • Task: to create culture, express own vision
  • Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions
  • Talent: creativity and imagination
  • The Creator is also known as: The artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.

The Self Types

9. The Jester

  • Motto: You only live once
  • Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment
  • Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world
  • Greatest fear: being bored or boring others
  • Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny
  • Weakness: frivolity, wasting time
  • Talent: joy
  • The Jester is also known as: The fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian.

10. The Sage

  • Motto: The truth will set you free
  • Core desire: to find the truth.
  • Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.
  • Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.
  • Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.
  • Weakness: can study details forever and never act.
  • Talent: wisdom, intelligence.
  • The Sage is also known as: The expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.

11. The Magician

  • Motto: I make things happen.
  • Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe
  • Goal: to make dreams come true
  • Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences
  • Strategy: develop a vision and live by it
  • Weakness: becoming manipulative
  • Talent: finding win-win solutions
  • The Magician is also known as:The visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.

12. The Ruler

  • Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
  • Core desire: control
  • Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community
  • Strategy: exercise power
  • Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown
  • Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate
  • Talent: responsibility, leadership
  • The Ruler is also known as: The boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator.

 

A Corporate Perspective on Jungian Archetypes

Which well known corporate brands are representative of each of the archetypes?

Further Personality Resources

Other Personality Profile tools to understand yourself and those around you:

What is your dominant archetype?  I’d love to hear in the comments below 😉

This video is about the 4 seasons of nature, and the 4 seasons of our life.

Farmers understand the seasons – they don’t plant in autumn and try to reap a harvest in winter… they know that spring is for planting, summer is for nurturing and autumn is for reaping.

In our own lives we have these seasons. If you can recognise the seasons of your life, you can keep a better perspective and clarity about what you are seeking to achieve.

Stay strong… and remember: all winters come to an end and spring, the window of opportunity will come again.

I mentioned Brandon Dempsey’s blog post: How to cautiously and successfully reap the rewards of your hard work

Write stuff down.

I say it over and over again. I repeat myself. My blog is an extension of my habit of writing down ideas.

A short pencil is longer than the longest memory.

Writing is among the greatest inventions in human history, perhaps the greatest invention, since it made history possible. Yet it is a skill most of us take for granted.” Andrew Robinson, The Story of Writing.

Check out how to begin with a journal, or hear what Jim Collins has to say on the writing process.

 

This weeks video is inspired by a book: The Road Less Travelled, by M. Scott Peck.

The book begins with the statement “Life is difficult”. It is my failure to understand this, believing that my life should be easy and problem-free that is the root of suffering.

Life is not meant to be easy, and is a series of problems which can either be handled or ignored.

Discipline is required to solve life’s problems rather than ignore them.  Discipline is made up of 4 aspects of how we chose to live our lives.

The 4 Aspects of Discipline:

  • Delaying gratification: Sacrificing present comfort for future gains.
  • Acceptance of responsibility: Accepting responsibility for one’s own decisions.
  • Dedication to truth: Honesty, both in word and deed.
  • Balancing: Handling conflicting requirements. Scott Peck writes of an important skill to prioritize between different requirements – bracketing.

Carl Jung, said “neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.” Neurotics make themselves miserable; those with character disorders make everyone else miserable. Everyone is neurotic or character-disordered at some time in their life, and the balance is to have a structure and relationships in your life than can help you see your lack of balance before you hurt yourself (or others).

Dedication to the truth represents the capacity of an individual to modify and update their worldview when exposed to new information discordant with the old view. Dedication to truth implies a life of genuine self-examination, a willingness to be personally challenged by others, and honesty to oneself and others.

Really coming to terms with oneself is very hard and painful work. Most people prefer to complain about their pain and continue their self-destructive patterns than to take up the challenging task of constructing a self and a life they could really live with.

 

This is the detailed guide to boring others. In this video from Portugal, I share the 5 best ways that you can develop an ability to bore the people around you.

The 5 Specific Areas to Develop to Be Boring

  1. Negative Attitude
  2. No Interest in Others
  3. Stay in your Comfort Zone
  4. Be a People Pleaser
  5. No Social Awareness

The 4 Areas to Develop to be Deeply Interesting

  1. Find a Cause to Support
  2. Take Courageous Leaps of Faith (help others)
  3. Get out and Explore this World
  4. Cultivate Weirdness 

 

This video is about Innovation and the 3 types of innovation as described by Ferran Adrià, the world’s best chef.  He tells us that there are 3 levels of innovation… and that it is type 3 innovation that really moves humanity through a step change in progress.

Read more on Innovation on the blog:

I have worried for too much of my life about whether I am a success or not.

This video shares the simplest and most empowering definition of success that I have found.  It comes from Pema Chodron.  It is a wonderful reflection for me about how I am living my life.

Am I learning to forgive myself and to be a positive addition when I am with other people?

Thank you for your comments, reflections, shares and likes!