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4 Decision Making Styles: Who Are You?
Madelaine Claire Weiss, LICSW, MBA, BCC -- MIndOverMatters Madelaine Claire Weiss, LICSW, MBA, BCC -- MIndOverMatters
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Washington, DC
Monday, January 10, 2022


Table of Contents

What Now?

For sure, I have been posting on ‘Decision Making’ a lot lately. Somehow I ‘decided’ that if it’s true we are making 35,000 decisions every day—yikes—they better be good!

After all, what is my book (“Getting to G.R.E.A.T.: 5-Step Strategy for Work and Life”) about if not a series of decisions we make every step of the way. Frankly, what is life altogether if not a series of decisions we make all day every day.

So now I am intensely interested in what makes a good decision. What is the science? How do we even know what we need to improve for peak performance decision making in work and life?

Some Science and Some Myths

Here is a summary of what I have been able to dig up so far. I’ll include links to the earlier posts, and then we will move on to a new find for this post. Here we go:

  • As before, we make 35,000 decisions every day, over 200 of them about food they say, although I’m guessing that’s low.
  • What’s really scary here is that ‘Intelligence is Falling’ after a 100-year climb, so we may be making life shaping decisions with even less intelligence than we used to have.

Here Are Some Tips…

Go Fast

  • In “Decisions and Time (wasted) to Make Them,” we learn the story of Buridan’s Ass, who died of hunger because it couldn’t decide between 2 equally attractive bales of hay. The myth is that the harder a decision, the longer we should take to make it. But decisions are harder the more equal the threats and opportunities among alternatives. As studies show, it is, therefore, for that very reason that the harder the decision the faster we should make it.
  • Your competition is thrilled for you to hesitate, but the people you are trying to lead not so much. One study showed that a majority of people were less likely to follow a leader who hesitated.
  • And if you are waiting for new information that you think could make a difference, please know that Stanford research suggests the longer we deliberate the less open we are to new information anyway,

Go Bold

Go Emo

  • Wait, what? Didn’t we hear somewhere that decisions, especially the important ones, are supposed to be rational? Another myth. Turns out we now know the cognition (how we acquire knowledge and understanding via thought, experience, and the senses) is severely impaired when the emotions are cut off.
  • It’s not either/or, though, and we certainly don’t want the primitive emotions in charge of our lives. But we do know that optimal decision making needs an integration of both the rational and emotional. And the best thing I know to bring that integration about on the spot and over time are the breathing exercises you can find on the “Complimentary…” pulldown on my website, i.e., “Power Breathing” and “The Breathing Room.”

Okay, that felt good. I was dying to put them all in one place. Now, here is the newer one that I haven’t shared with you before.

Discovering Decision Making Styles

The most common breakdown I found, which has been around for a while it seems, lists the 4 Decision Making Styles as: Directive, Analytical, Conceptual, Behavioral. Leaders.com offers a clear lesson on each style, the pros and cons, when to use and not, with examples of each in action.

But I got really intrigued by Meseekna’s DMPI (Decision Making Performance Index), based on extensive research, which also identifies 4 types of decision makers. Here’s what’s interesting. Participants role play that they are President of a fictitious country, faced with decisions about situations like conflict with neighboring countries, infrastructure crises…

The 4 styles that emerge are:

  • Productivity — Productivity is an indicator of one’s ability to prioritize, plan, and execute on specific, interrelated, and disparate tasks.
  • Proactivity — Proactivity is a reflection of one’s ability to be ahead of the curve, with several well-designed game plans and strategies ready to implement when needed.
  • Pressure-Tolerance — Pressure-Tolerance is an indicator of one’s ability to execute on tasks, integrate information and make strategic decisions under stressful, chaotic circumstances.
  • People-Centrism — People-Centrism is a reflection of one’s ability to communicate, facilitate and be responsive to the needs of others around them.

Some of us are, by nature and nurture perhaps, stronger on one dimension than another, which makes each of us more and less well suited to a variety of roles.

That said, given the VUCAD (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous, diverse) world in which we live, strengthening ourselves where we may be weaker can help us pull the right style out of our toolkit as the situation demands.

Again, we want an integrated, high functioning brain in charge of the decision on which decision style to pull out. So, we are back to the breathing exercises to help us with that.

Meanwhile, I am intrigued by, but have not yet tried the DMPI, and would love to hear from any of you who have.

Warm wishes,


Photo by Mark König on Unsplash

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Name: Madelaine Claire Weiss
Group: MindOverMatters, LLC
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