Need To Include Someone Else In A Tough Decision? Ask A Twin.
How often do you wish you could make a decision for your business by yourself, even when you know it is important to include someone else? It doesn’t matter how much you value the other person’s input, being forced to include others can be challenging.
Time to offer a new service? Key investor doesn’t think the timing is right.
Time fire someone? Co-founder thinks they are too valuable.
Time to upgrade an important system? Staff thinks existing system works just fine.
I’ve been watching this dynamic for 17 years, and I have to say being a twins’ mom has been fertile learning ground. My daughters didn’t choose to be born at the same time, yet their “twindom” has required that they make hundreds of decisions together.
Birthday? Who gets to decide the invite list? Late sports practice? Who gets to use the car?
Group project? Who has to create the power point?
Six classes together? Who has to switch schedules so we don’t lose our minds?
While the decisions they face can seem trivial, sharing the power is actively painful.
I keep reminding them that once they leave our home, they can choose paths that allow them to make their own decisions. At last…no twin! No need to compromise! No requirement to share!
Until they get a roommate. Or get a job. Or find a partner. Or start a company.
We live in a relational, interdependent world. We have to be able to integrate other perspectives, especially if we want to create buy in, empower our teams and communicate effectively.
As twins, our daughters have developed impressive negotiation skills. Let me be clear – they are bitter about having had to learn them so early – but these skills will serve them well regardless of the paths they choose.
Here are some key insights they employ regularly when they face a tough decision together:
- Take a breath before you talk about emotionally laden decisions. Timing matters.
- The “right decision” can look vastly different depending on where you stand.
- Avoiding hard conversations doesn’t make them easier.
- Comparison – whether coming from the outside or within – never makes it better.
- Assuming the best about the other person’s motives, behaviors and reactions isn’t easy. It is a muscle you have to build regularly.
- Getting outside perspective from someone not as invested in the outcome (Read: your ever helpful, coach-trained mom) can open up new possibilities that you hadn’t considered in your “my way vs your way” thinking.
So – the next time you notice that you are resenting having to bring someone in on a decision, try on my daughters’ wisdom:
- Take a deep breath.
- Trust that the other person wants a good outcome too and isn’t just trying to shut you down.
- Try to understand what a “good decision” means from their perspective.
- Have the conversation as soon as possible.
- Get help if you need it.
Thoughts? Reactions? I’d love to hear from you.