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Monday, March 27, 2017

Make Your Own Decisions: Beware of Influence

Many years ago, I was heavily influenced by colleagues with regard to other colleagues. I took some colleagues' beliefs as true while I didn't trust other colleagues' opinions. We could probably dissect this activity in many, many ways, but in truth, the end conclusion is that it's best to make your own conclusions about situations and not be influenced singularly by one group or individual's perspectives.

We see this right now in the political realm. We noticed many people taking sides for this decision or that when in truth there's probably no side that aligns with any one individual's beliefs or interests--it's probably a mix of this and that, one side and another.

Our two party system models this either-or think which can be damaging in so many ways as most decisions aren't either or, but instead a continuum of some of this and some of that. How do we move from "either-or" think to "continuum" think.

In a current professional situation, I find myself disagreeing more than agreeing with a few policies, yet I can see value in each policy too. It's not one or the other, but some of what exists and some of what I think can be better. Our paths to good continuum think is a path of inclusive, strategic process--a path that includes multiple perspectives with good process.

Recently I was involved in such a process as part of the new superintendent screening committee. I felt that the process was a good one which represented many points of view. As I listened to the many points of view during the screening committee meetings and then again during the public share, I found myself both agreeing and disagreeing with every candidate. No one's answers matched my perspective entirely and no one's answers were without wonderful merit and substantial good experience. Ultimately as the process continued, one candidate rose to the top. Since I felt the process was fair, I am ready to ally myself with the new superintendent with regard to the work I do to forward system goals and vision in a honest way.

Later today, I'll attend another meeting that falls at the end of what I believe was as fair as possible a process for the given objective. I'll listen to multiple points of view from a good diversity of people, and then ultimately a decision will be made. What I care about most in this process is that people who want to talk are heard, and all points that people feel matter are given air time. If the process is good, I'm ready to trust the result.

It's important that we're all independent thinkers who promote and support good process as we reach for the visions we hold for good work and living. We will all see it a bit differently, and that's the way life is. If the issue really matters, we'll likely give it greater advocacy, energy, and time. If it's a smaller, less important issue, we might let it go and let others decide.

Most of all, it's important to decide for yourself and not let undue influence from any individual or group mark your resolve. The best decisions rely on many points of view, good listening, and honest, respectful share. That's the path I hope to follow. Onward.