Ch-Ch-Ch-Choices (turn and face the strain)

According to some – everything is a choice. It is up to you to make the choices that deliver your lifetime goals. There is no excuse. Nothing is pre-determined or imposed.

Who feels like that?

What about a new strategic imperative handed down from above in your working environment? Or a reduction in funding for the area you do business in? Or the introduction of a strong competitor into your business area?

Did you have choices about that?

I studied for an MSc in Change Agency at the University of Surrey. An amazing course now sadly closed down. We spent time debating what we could and could not control in the actions of the people around us. I learnt that I don’t have control over the thoughts and actions of others but that I had a lot of control over how I responded to them. Also that it was my response that was the key actuator / influencer in my practice as a change agent.

“I don’t have choices about what you do but I have many choices over how I respond to you.”

So I’d prefer to say;

‘Everything is a choice about how to respond’.

At least that keeps the business mentors and life coaches in business 🙂

Several questions interest me:

  • How many of the people you work with would see that idea as obvious and how many would consider it alien?
  • How well do teams work if there is a mixture of participants who are focussed on response rather than control?
  • When we make significant business decisions, have we framed the decision we need to make in terms of shaping our response or trying to control others?

For example; do we need to discount our prices to entice customers to choose our products or do we need to listen hard to what they care about when buying our type of stuff and engage them in a narrative about value?


Is the focus of our programme business case to prevent others from wasting our money or is it based around what we each have to do to realise the benefits?

Are we in control of our responses to others?

Some of you may have been curious that I did not claim to have ‘complete’ control over my responses to others. From studying change agents’ skills and strategies I realised that most of my responses to others were primarily driven by early life conditioning, prejudice and assumptions without much objective analysis or validation. So I now have a lifetime quest to become better at recognising when my choices are being driven inappropriately by intuition and reflex rather than by logic, analysis and competent judgement.

I believe that better business decisions are made when the parties to the decision are aware of their biases and share their knowledge of them.

The Business Decision Design® approach focusses on each part of the decision making process to ensure that is cost effective in managing specific risks and that the content being used within the process is of appropriate quality.

Cover picture: Ch-Ch-Choices – after David Bowie RIP

I hope you have an enjoyable day.

Nigel Stock

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