A Different Approach to Decision-Making

Decision-making does not have to be daunting and stressful with these different approaches.

When we think about making a decision about something, we almost always think about two roads diverging. A fork in the road. A choice to make.

Metaphors like this can be very daunting and overwhelming. Decision-making as a process can be pressurising by itself. So instead of increasing the pressure with such heavy metaphors, why not think of some lighter metaphors for decision-making?

A Closet Full of Jackets:

As a conversation between authors Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferris brings to our notice in The Daily Stoic podcast, when we think about decisions, when we think about the ‘choosing one of the forks in the road’, we think going back on the ‘other’ road is not possible.

Ferris suggests that instead of the fork, the process of decision-making could be seen as a process of opening a closet and choosing the jacket you wish to put on. If you don’t like the jacket, you can always put it back and choose something else that suits your needs better. No drama, no do-or-die anxiety to deal with.

Decision-making often is actually a matter of trial and error in the process; of choosing the right jacket from the closet.

It’s not a ‘wrong fork’ you chose- it’s actually just a different jacket that’s needed! Say, you decided to change your career, and it didn’t go according to plan and now you decide to go back to your old career. Viewing that decision as the ‘wrong fork’ would make you feel horrible about the change in plans. However, viewing it as the time to go back to wearing your old jacket would enable one to de-escalate the pressure, see it for what it is- an experience to learn from, instead of an experience to be bitter about. Just a jacket to change back to.

There are More than Two Forks on the road:

Some of us would still be sceptical of this approach. What if we don’t wish to go back? Some decisions are indeed irreversible.

In that case, one more approach comes in handy- why see only a two-forked road? Why not think of the forked road like a cutlery fork- having multiple forks, multiple arrows, each leading to a different outcome? Having a sense of more choices, instead of a ‘this or that’ approach would be freeing. There isn’t just a plan B, but also a plan C, D and E.

There are not just two roads diverging- there are perhaps four or five roads, and we have the choice to weigh in our options, and then make a decision.

So, the next time you find yourself at cross-roads and a decision must be made, remind yourself that you are not actually at cross-roads and are instead looking at a process of trial and error. You are looking at a vast closet full of different jackets to try out, and you just need to pick the one that helps you combat the weather. If it doesn’t, you can always go back and change! You are looking at a road with multiple forks, and you have a broad set of potential outcomes to choose from!

How to Advance in Your Career Even if You Aren’t the Boss Yet

Is there a way to advance your career even when you are not a manager, the BOSS yet? Career-advancement is a topic which often just relies on titles and the number of rungs one has climbed on the corporate ladder. In such a scenario when titles on paper matter so much, one might end up feeling stagnant even though the value one attaches their work is high.

Some people might be quite content with their current roles and they might be fearing a certain stagnation; they might be thinking: is this the limit to what one can do before their nature of work changes? Is there no way to continue doing the work they love and still advance in some other way?

Take for example a journalist who might enjoy reporting, and might be fearing the supposedly higher position of an editor where they will have to put a stop to their regular reporting, and actually manage teams and departments. Or a salesperson who loves to interact with clients and engage in selling, and as they become managers, they have to forego the sales part and end up handling administrative responsibilities.

There are many people who might be willing to take up a new challenge and yet, also might be fearing the new kind of responsibilities that come with such a higher, management position.

Is there a way to get over the stagnancy, to advance, without having to embrace a managerial position?

 Is there a way to advance in your career even if you aren’t the boss yet?

Turns out there are a few ways. Let us take a look at a few of those.

Look for In-Role Growth:

When a promotion to a managerial position seems to be on the horizon, it is a good idea to talk to your seniors and mentors within the company and be honest about your values and what kind of advancement means more to you. There are roles and opportunities which can be tailored especially for you. There are roles like an in-bound consultant and/or the expert, where you can have a ‘promotion’ within the role, get around the sense of stagnancy and yet continue to do the work that you value. All without or with very minimal managing to do.

A way to stay in the company, get promoted without having to take up a managerial position is to become a mentor or a trainer for new joinees. You will not only get to use your expertise, but also impart it to others. This can be as “satisfying” as the promotion you didn’t go for.

Looking Elsewhere:

You can be a ‘bigger fish in a smaller pond’, or you might as well look for a ‘bigger pond’. As an article by the Muse goes on to explain, one might need to take a leap and look for other options where there is scope for growth in other aspects. Growth and advancement in career can be found in:

  • A leap to a bigger company/brand
  • A leap to a bigger market
  • An increase in your client pool

In simple words, it could be as simple as switching to a company that has a larger reach and more prestige. But if that sounds like a turning your back on your current company that has given you so much, and a risk at your well-earned independence, then the next option might look more pleasant.

Take the Independent Route:

If one feels that they have enough experience, networking skills and potential clients ready, a great step into career advancement is consulting. An independent consultant will have the autonomy and hands-on work to learn more and more on the job. They will have the liberty to pay attention to their work and their clients. At the same time, they will also have a better sense of control, as opposed to someone who might be on managerial position constantly needing to check on their team members.

And consulting is something that can be done full-time or part-time: it could become a side hustle, and eventually, perhaps a full-fledged retirement plan.

The position of the ‘the boss’ comes with its own perks and advantages. Some of us might be game for it, while some of us might be looking for growth and advancement in other ways. Some of us might be getting a little impatient and looking to overcome the sense of stagnancy. At the end of the day, it is all about being honest about the kind of work which has more personal value for you. It is about keeping the learning curve rising. Any kind of role, whether that of a managerial or non-managerial kind will have its own set of challenges; it’s up to us how we want to shape our career using those challenges.

Personal Power V/S Positional Power

As the popular idiom goes, with great power comes great responsibility, and it is assumed that power comes with experience, wisdom, trust from people around us and in the context of the workplace, the position. But powers can be of various kinds of; a manager, or executive or any upper-level management can be said to have ‘positional power’. Their power to undertake tasks, to delegate, to act as a representative, to make key decisions comes from their position. As the term suggests, it is a hierarchy-based power. That is one type of power, called the positional power.  

There is another type of power, what one might call ‘personal power’. As the name suggests, such a power can be harnessed at a more personal level. Personal power comes from the recognition of power in oneself; the power to take responsibility and to have a sense of purpose; the power to believe in oneself and one’s competence. Recognition of personal power in oneself leads to recognition by others of that same power. It is personal power that enables your colleagues to trust you and see you as a pillar in times of conflict.

Ultimately, regardless of whether you have the positional power, it is the personal power that makes you a leader. Positional power can make you a manager on paper, but without harnessing your personal power, becoming a manager who leads, is almost an impossibility.

So, what are some ways one can harness this personal power and light up the spark of leadership and self-belief?

Have a Growth Mindset: This is a buzzword we all have heard at some point. But it’s really a simple concept, and once we realise this, it becomes an obvious mindset to have. Growth mindset means a mindset where you are curious to know more; where you see every day and every interaction an opportunity to grow your understanding. It includes the acceptance that you may be wrong or that you can’t be the expert in everything, but that nevertheless you always, always learn.

Be it upper-level management or an entry level position, curiosity and a willingness to listen is a definitely power. A manager with a growth mindset, curious and willing to listen, encourages new ideas, a myriad of voices, allowing the team members to speak up without hesitation. Contrast this someone who doesn’t listen, or someone who only listens to a select few. The former would definitely have more of the personal power, with the recognition and trust from the team that ‘Yes, this person will listen to my ideas respectfully.’ 

Have a Purpose: Having a sense of purpose it under-rated. To quote an article by People Matters:

‘Being connected to a greater purpose enables you to use your power effectively. The sense of meaning and mission in life means you don’t get caught up in momentary dramas. Your day isn’t a matter of ticking items off your to-do list, but of connecting your every action to your greater goal. Having purpose gives you resilience; you’re more able to reset after failure because you have a north star guiding you. 

Purpose directs us under crisis and extreme stress.’

It is this ‘north-star’ of the greater goal that helps you to harness your power without falling into the vices of office politics and petty issues.

Close to having a sense of purpose is the next point.

Have a Sense of Focus: With positional power comes the responsibility of the need to tick off multiple tasks, of having multiple to-do lists, spanning across departments.

It is important to respond to the right issues. To quote the People Matters article again,

‘Without the capacity to direct your attention, you are a leaf in the wind, blown about every which way. You respond to everything but accomplish nothing…you must quiet the inner and outer voices and develop your emotional self-regulation, so you don’t react to every little thing. And above all, you must set boundaries to have time to think, reflect, and contemplate.’

 Creating priority lists, with urgent to important spectrums defined, delegating tasks which often act as incentives, are some ways one can develop this sense of focus.

Have a Sense of Responsibility: And finally, personal power cannot be ignited without a sense of responsibility. Whether you have positional power or not, a sense of responsibility to grow, to help others grow, to learn and help others learn is essential to feel powerful and not feel like a victim of circumstances, where power might feel like something thrust upon you.

A willingness to take charge regardless of one’s position enables you see opportunities even in tricky situations. Such a sense of responsibility is the key to acknowledging your power to make tiny to big changes, and to be the change.

Positional power is designated, whereas personal power comes from within, and that is the beauty of it- irrespective of the status on paper, you can always be in charge of your own destiny by igniting the personal powers of growth, purpose, focus, and responsibility.

Be the Perfect Manager…In One Minute


image idea two

The One Minute Manager is a very popular book Ken Blanchard. In the book, we have the journey of a young man who is looking for and willing to work for the “perfect manager”. He finds autocratic managers, the ones who only care about results and not people, and democratic ones who only care about people and not results: two extremes. He finally comes across someone who calls himself a ‘one minute manager’. The one minute manager delivers big results in a span of one minute.

Now, you need to read the book to actually discover the tips he offers, but there are some brief takeaways which we would like to list out.

Whether you are an actual manager or just good co-worker trying to motivate his or her colleagues, we offer some ‘one minute manager’ hacks!

Remember those ‘one minute games’ we all have played at some point? Those competitions where you must finish a task in just one minute, whether it is eating as many gol-gappas as you can or lighting as many candles as you can! Remember the thrill that comes with those games? The sudden gust of motivation and energy?

Well, the following one minute tasks can provide equal, if not more, motivation and energy in the office environment to get things done.


  • One Minute Goals: These ‘goals’ have to be ones which could be completed in around a minute. We often delay smaller things for later, piling them up, and ending up with a big pile of smaller tasks. Setting one minute goals is great way to get work done quickly. They end quickly, so there you have a quick dose of motivation too!

Think of all the smaller tasks which could be completed in one minute and set out to finish them. It could be anything from writing out a to-do list to making a quick call to that client.

  • One Minute Praises: Sometimes, all one needs is a quick “good job!” to feel motivated and actually get to work. Instead of waiting to include something in appraisals or weekly meetings, sometimes it’s a good idea to deliver praise just by-the-way.
  • One Minute Feedback: Similarly, sometimes, people want to know how they are doing at the moment. They need to know what wrong they are doing in terms of action, outcomes or decisions, and what they could do undo that wrong, immediately, instead of hearing about the problem in some meeting when they have already forgotten what the problem was in the first place.

This brings us to the next one minute hack.

  • One Minute Catch ups: Little one minute catch ups, where there’s a quick briefing of how a team is going on with a task are a quick way to ensure there’s an equally quick course correction. One minute catch ups allow one to figure out smaller problems which could be stopped from turning into bigger problems there and then.
  • One Minute Connection: Setting aside a special day to “connect” with employees and colleagues is great, to give them space to talk about their life beyond work, but sometimes a quick personal catch up is not a bad idea. It gives one the feeling that people do remember about their life, that people do care, which can be a great booster of motivation.


So, being a one minute manager, or to make it more general, one minute action taker is a great way to ensure a steady momentum of work. But make sure to not lose the bigger picture! One minute managing needs a fine balance (like all other things). We need to be tactful:

We take out a minute to deliver bigger results with ease. We don’t take out a minute to delay bigger results. Make sure the one minute managing adds to the flow of work, and doesn’t act as an interruption.