Choosing What Matters

In previous posts, we explored the mindset needed to choose what matters and questions that will help in shifting that mindset. Those steps are important, but once we have identified our opportunities, how do we decide?

Extend your questions to include:

  1. What are my choices?
  2. What evidence do I need to determine which choice to make?

Now ask yourself: How can I collect that evidence?

Some possible options include:

Collecting Evidence for Day-to-Day Decisions

To get a better sense of what kind of data to collect for the questions we brainstorm, let’s revisit the day-to-day staffing issue from last week. My client was frustrated with Sally’s performance. She had shifted to more positively worded questions where the questions she had brainstormed were encouraging her to explore the project needs, Sally’s needs and strengths, and match the two.  What evidence does she need to make that choice?

When you look at the questions you brainstormed for a smaller decision you need to make, take your time. Set your questions aside for a few hours or a day. Then begin looking at what data you need. Being in a positive frame of mind is important, so when you feel yourself getting frustrated, set it aside and revisit later.

Collecting Evidence for Larger Decisions

What if you are looking more inwardly though and need to collect data around the larger question: “Is it bad that I can’t think of 3 things that get me up the morning?” These larger questions may include more introspection. Here is where your emotions are important. As we explored a few Mondays ago, emotions are not decisions but rather are evidence for decisions.

Observation of yourself and others at meetings, during tasks, or on your way to work, become data that you can use to help you make a decision about your opportunities. In particular, take time to observe your emotional state and what precedes it. Are you calm and in the flow? What were you doing when you felt that way? Are you anxious or angry? What were you doing when you felt that way?

As you reflect on the data, the answers to your questions may not be immediate. You may want to add the following questions as you review the data you collected:

  • What matters to you personally?
  • What matters to your family?
  • What matters to your friends?
  • What matters to your larger community?
  • What aspects of your current situation can be changed if approached from a positive, inquiry lens?
  • What aspects of your current situation seem intractable or are outside of your ability to influence?
  • What opportunities do you see for yourself and others?
  • What investments do you need to make to leverage those opportunities?
  • What risks are involved in leveraging those opportunities?
  • Are you ready to address change (either within current or new role, organization, or industry)? If not, what do you need to do to be ready for change?

Determining What Matters Data Collection Handouts


Observation Form

Risks and Benefits Worksheet

Question and Evidence Brainstorming Worksheet

Determining what matters is a process. Enjoy the journey. Over the next few Mondays we will be exploring more issues around what matters including topics around:

Determining what matters

Getting what matters done

Felling like I matter, you matter, we matter

Funding what matters