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What to Do... When You Don't Know What to Do

What is Your Decision Making Style? In less than 5 minutes, you can discover your decision making style which will help you make good choices even in difficult situations. Download the “What is Your Decision Making Style? quiz today!

 

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About This Episode

Leaders are constantly making decisions. Some of them are easy, like where to take the team to lunch, and some of them are incredibly hard, like budget cuts and layoffs. With so many decisions, it’s easy to get paralyzed out of fear of making the wrong choice, or simply not being able to see the best option.

 

In this episode, Tricia and LZ talk with Jeff Shinabarger, CEO of Plywood People, a former leader at Catalyst, and a successful author. He’ll talk about how to be better at decision-making as leaders, including understanding how to make the right choices even in difficult circumstances, discovering our decision-making style, and using that style to benefit our teams and organization. 

1. Your daily decisions shape who you are and determine your success.

We eventually become known by the things we say “yes” and “no” to. And we make 8-12 decisions per year that will determine the success or failure for our business that year. In those moments, be aware of how what might seem like short-term decisions can have a long lasting impact.

2. If you make gut, emotional decisions, it’s okay to take some time and think about it.

Especially when you’re making major decisions, there’s nothing wrong with asking for 20 minutes to take a walk. Or simply saying “let me think about that overnight and I’ll answer tomorrow.” Get more information and data. Ask for the report. Taking time isn’t the sign of an indecisive leader. It’s actually a smart way to make major decisions.

3. Think about your decisions through the lens of your whole person.

In other words, when making choices, how will each choice affect all aspects of your life. If it’s a business or career decision, it won’t just affect that area of your life. How will it affect your relationship with your spouse, your kids, your other family and friends? Be intentional about viewing your decisions through that lens.

 

Based on the types of decisions-making styles Jeff talked about, what type of style do you think you have?
What is one decision in your career you wish you could take back?
What is the best decision you’ve made in your career? What led you to make that choice?
What are some practical steps you use to make good decisions?

The decisions you make have the power to sustain you.

Jeff Shinabarger

Decisions made in work affect those in life, and those in life affect those in work.

Jeff Shinabarger

If you don't know what you want or what you need for your future, you'll fail to make good decisions for your future.

Jeff Shinabarger

You don't always have to have an answer in the moment.

Jeff Shinabarger

(03:19) Jeff talks about the strangest gift he’s ever received. 

(07:17) Jeff goes through his history as a former leader at Catalyst to where he is now as the CEO of Plywood People.

(10:01) How Jeff started a side project, called Gift Card Giver, that made a huge impact and national news. 

(11:49) How did Jeff go from reading leadership books to developing a heart for helping others?

(13:56) Your daily decisions shape who you are and determine your success.  

(20:29) What are the different decision-making styles and the characteristics of each one?

(28:35) When it comes to decision making, if you don’t know what you want or need for your future, you’re never going to make good decisions. 

(30:31) How do you reconcile and respond to prior bad decisions that you’ve made?

(32:49) “When my emotions outweigh my ability to make decisions, I won’t be able to make good decisions.”

(33:53) What are some practical tips Jeff uses to make healthy decisions?

(38:50) Jeff gives some words of encouragement to leaders. 

(41:55) This week’s next step: Go download the quiz, “What is Your Decision Making Style?” In less than 5 minutes, you can discover your decision making style which will help you make good choices even in difficult situations

Jeff Shinabarger:
Ultimately, if you look back at your year, there’s probably somewhere between eight to 12 decisions you made in that year that determine the success of your business in that year. It happens every time. And I started thinking about that. I was like, “Wow.” When you start looking backward, you’re like, “These few decisions I made determined whether we hit our budget, whether we exceeded our budget, whether we won or we thought it was a rough year.”

Speaker 2:
Welcome to One Next Step, the most practical business podcast in the world, helping you get more done, grow your business, and lead your team with confidence with tips and tools you didn’t get in business school. Here are your hosts, Tricia Sciortino and Lisa Zeeveld.

Tricia Sciortino:
Welcome to One Next Step, the practical business podcast that helps you run your business so it stops running you. I’m Tricia.

Lisa Zeeveld:
And I’m LZ. Today we’re going to talk about a topic that’s incredibly important to every leader, decision-making.

Tricia Sciortino:
Yes. Jeff Shinabarger is the CEO of Plywood People and former leader at Catalyst. He’s the author of three amazing books, Yes or No, about decision-making, More or Less, about excessive generosity, and most recently, Love or Work, about work-life balance for working couples. He’s a busy guy, and we’re excited to have him.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Yeah, today Jeff is going to chat with us about decision-making as leaders. In this episode, he’ll help us understand how to make the right choices even in difficult circumstances, discover our decision-making style, and use our style to benefit our teams and organization. I hope you enjoy our conversation with Jeff Shinabarger.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Welcome, Jeff. It is so great to have you hear on One Next Step. How are you doing today?

Jeff Shinabarger:
I’m great. It’s good to be here. I’m just coming off vacation, so I’m on top of the world. Let’s go.

Lisa Zeeveld:
I love that. I love that. You were sharing with us before we started recording that you take these big family adventures, and you did a road trip to Maine. That’s awesome.

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yeah. My wife and I, a few years back, we had to really start processing what’s a win for us? What does a year look like for us? And my wife, she works at Grady Hospital, in the intercity in Atlanta. I do nonprofit work. And so both of us, our missions are always colliding, our purpose is colliding. And so, we decided to, every year, we take the month of June off. It’s a down month for our schedules. Well, hers is constant. But for me, and it gives us a chance to reconnect together as a couple and to spend an excessive amount of time with our kids. And this year, we got in a car and drove to Maine. We had a great time. If I did it again, I would probably fly, but we’re good. We’re good.

Tricia Sciortino:
Maine is kind of a road trip from Georgia, so that’s a trek.

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yes. But it was cool. We saw the whole East Coast. On these trips, you create these experiences with your kids that you can never, never replace. So, it was great.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Yeah. Well, you look very relaxed, and we’re super happy to have your right off of that. So, that way, you’re just in a Zen Mode and ready to talk to us about all things leadership. So, we like to start these off with kind of a silly question, get you comfortable. Again, I don’t know if you need to relax at all, but just to get you comfortable. And our question for you is what is the strangest gift you’ve every received?

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yeah.

Tricia Sciortino:
That’s a hard one. That’s a hard question. I’m trying to think of one.

Jeff Shinabarger:
It’s funny. I’m hoping my father-in-law doesn’t listen to this.

Tricia Sciortino:
Uh-oh.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Oh, no.

Jeff Shinabarger:
True story. One year, for Christmas… Every family opens up presents differently. My wife and I realized this. Everyone opens all at once… And obviously, not everyone celebrates Christmas, but our family does. Some people, all at once… My family was one at a time. You want to have the reaction.

Tricia Sciortino:
Same.

Jeff Shinabarger:
So, I’ve been trying to convince their family over time to do the one at a time. They’re an all at once type of person. Well, anyway, one year for Christmas, he got me a thing to check your weight, a scale that you stand on. This was my father-in-law, and I’m like, “I don’t think that’s like an encouraging gift to receive.”

Tricia Sciortino:
No! What are you trying to tell me? Is there an underlying meaning to this gift.

Tricia Sciortino:
Here’s a scale.

Jeff Shinabarger:
I remember that night, I was with my wife, and I’m like, “What was your dad trying to say? I don’t know. I think it was a re-gift, honestly.

Lisa Zeeveld:
I can see if you’re on a health and wellness journey. And like, “Hey. I know you have an old scale. I’m going to give you a new one, measures the water weight or whatever.” But out of the blue, I would take offense by that.

Jeff Shinabarger:
I’m a body-positive person. Regardless of size interests, let’s just have healthy lifestyles. So, anyway, that was probably the weirdest, funnest… I forget the question you asked, but I’ll never forget that gift.

Tricia Sciortino:
Strangest.

Lisa Zeeveld:
That’s a strange one.

Lisa Zeeveld:
So, T, did you come up with something?

Tricia Sciortino:
No. I was so intently listening to Jeff, that I stopped thinking about what the weirdest gift I ever got.

Lisa Zeeveld:
That is a hard question.

Tricia Sciortino:
Yeah.

Lisa Zeeveld:
I think there’s been a lot of unique gifts over the years. Everybody gets the gift that you don’t know what to with it. You’re like, “Thank you. What do I do with this now?”

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yeah. Gifts are my love language, so it’s a big deal for me. I love receiving gifts, and I love giving gifts. So, I try to really think deeper about it.

Tricia Sciortino:
So, you were like, “You don’t know me. This is…”

Tricia Sciortino:
Totally.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Yeah.

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yeah. One of those strange gifts we got one time, this was back when I used to work at an event called Catalyst. And there’s this, I don’t know if he’s ever been on your podcast, but a guy named Bob Goff. He’s a bigger than life personality.

Tricia Sciortino:
Yes. I love Bob.

Jeff Shinabarger:
And he hung out at our office for a while. And he has this tendency, he sends ducks to people. There’s this website that you can get a box of live ducks.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Ducks?

Jeff Shinabarger:
And they send it as a gift to you. And then it’s just like, ‘You’ve got to figure out what you’re going to do with it. It’s ducks.’

Tricia Sciortino:
It’s a bunch of ducks.

Tricia Sciortino:
Wow. That would be exciting and at the same time is surprising.

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yeah. And then what do you do with them? You feel responsible.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Humanely, what do you do with a box of ducks?

Tricia Sciortino:
Chickens, maybe.

Lisa Zeeveld:
I think ducks are probably easier to find something to do with than a chicken.

Tricia Sciortino:
The local pond.

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yes.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Yes.

Jeff Shinabarger:
So, that was another strange gift.

Tricia Sciortino:
That’s a good one. Well, that’s a good one. That was a perfect transition into your journey, Jeff, as you kind of mentioned, being a leader at Catalyst. You’ve had a journey. So, I’d love to talk a little bit about your journey as a leader at Catalyst, and to where you are now as the CEO of Plywood and how you got from there to here.

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yeah. It starts, actually, a lot earlier than Catalyst. I’m the son of a pastor. I probably spent more time at my church than I did at my house. It was like I was always there. I found ways to play basketball wherever I could, on racks that you hang clothes and stuff. But my dad was the first assistant pastor for a guy named John Maxwell. And Maxwell is very well known for his leadership. He’s a leadership guru.

Jeff Shinabarger:
So, I’ve known John Maxwell since I was one years old. An early on, my dad used to pay us. John would do this with kids too. They would pay us to read leadership books. So, my dad would go on a conference with John and with other people, Zig Zigler, and Ken Blanchard, all these historical leadership guru guys, and he’d come back with a box of books. And he’d hand them out to me and my sisters, and he’d say, “All right. You get these ones, this one, this one, this is for you.” And he’d pay us $10 to read a book and to highlight it, underline it, and give him a synopsis, a one-page synopsis of the book.

Jeff Shinabarger:
So, we didn’t realize at the time, but my dad never read any of the books. He would give them all to us, and then he would give his Shinabarger notes, the family notes, and he’d integrate them into his sermons. And so, he’d say these quotes that we’d underline to them. Finally, we were like, we know what you’re doing. We’re helping you write your sermons right now.

Jeff Shinabarger:
All that to say, I started reading the stuff. I did every personality test as a kid. When I was 19, I became an intern. At that time, it was called N-George at Maxwell’s organization, and over time, got this opportunity to lead this event called Catalyst which is a super creative. So, we started to pull these people together. It was all about young leaders. I remember the president at that time said to me, “Jeff, you’re 24 years old leading a 12,000 person event.” They said, “Whatever tension you’re currently feeling everyone, else, your age probably is feeling the same thing. So, start building content around that stuff.” And so, I would start inviting speakers. I would just read a lot. I would listen to things, searching the internet, trying to find people to share their stories. And in the midst of that, I got to start a bunch of projects myself. And one of these projects my wife and I started, it was called giftcardgiver.com, where we collect unused gift cards and gave them to people in need. So, there would be $0.23 or $0.27 on them.

Jeff Shinabarger:
And it just began. I created a website with my friend, my wife and I started doing it. People started sending us gift cards. There is an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. And this guy, who’s now the editor of the AJC, it’s now called, he wrote this article. This was in 2006, 2007, when the economy was crashing, and he said, “Nonprofits are not giving funding.” They were really struggling in that time. And I sent him an email back as the writer. And I said, “Well, people are sending me gift cards from all over the nation. We just created a little webpage.” He said, “I want to do a story on it.” So, the next day he’s doing a story on this little project we were doing on the side. And in two weeks, we had national stories written in… CNN was in our living room, all these different things.

Jeff Shinabarger:
And sorry, this is a long story, but this is how it happened. This little project turned into all these stories. And then I started getting connected to all these people, people like the two of you. They had some passion project they were working on and someone would connect me. Some stranger would connect me “You just need to connect with Jeff. He did this little Gift Card Giver project, but maybe he can help you.” And that started this whole community called Plywood People, a community of startups doing good. I started getting involved in hundreds and hundreds of these projects. So, that’s the long story, but a synopsis of how it all came to be.

Lisa Zeeveld:
No. I love that. But there was a little bit of a turn. And I’m sorry. I’m going to go off the beaten path here, but from reading leadership books to having a heart to help others. So, you really went from creating opportunities and of course being in ministry. But for you and your wife to have a heart to help nonprofits, where did that come from? Was it that you were really involved in a lot of nonprofits when you were younger? I’m just curious on that path. I’ve heard you talk about your journey, but I don’t know that I’ve ever heard about that before.

Jeff Shinabarger:
I think that there’s this tension we all have, right, where if you don’t know someone, you start talking about them in generalities, right? But when you start to actually have a relationship with someone, it changes how you view everything, right? You could talk about the homeless, but when you have a friend named Clarence, it’s very different. You could talk about someone in Africa, but when you have a friend named whoever that person is, it’s different. And so, I would say in my life, I’ve had the opportunity to just meet a lot of really incredible people that have a life that is different than mine. And when you’re in relationship with people, it makes you see the world differently. It just does. And so, that was the story for me in all different… Even today… We have this place here that we’re recording this podcast in. We call it Plywood Place. It’s a small co-working space in the city, in a neighborhood called the West End. And us physically working out of this neighborhood makes me see the world differently because the people I work with here are different from different economic levels, different nationalities, different ethnicities, different projects they’re working on. They introduce things to me. And I think that’s probably where my heart came for a lot of the projects I’ve been able to get involved with.

Tricia Sciortino:
Yeah. I love that. So, talk about this idea about how your daily decisions eventually shape who you are and determine your success.

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yeah. I haven’t talked about this topic in a long time. It is interesting. It was a book I wrote a while ago. But it is interesting. I think as I’ve grown as a leader, I’ve seen, you say yes to little things and it leads to different things, right? You say no to things, and it ends a situation. And we become known really by these things we say yes and no to. I didn’t have to do this funny gift card thing. And we don’t even really do the gift card thing anymore. It was kind of a means to getting involved in all these other choices. But as a leader, I know there’s actually… It’s funny. I used to be like… Every day I’ve got to perform when I’m working for someone. When you’re a leader, ultimately if you look back at your year, there’s probably like somewhere between eight to 12 decisions you made in that year that determine the success of your business in that year. It happens every time. And I started thinking about that. I was like, “Wow.” When you start looking backwards, you’re like, “These few decisions I made determined whether we hit our budget, whether we exceeded our budget, whether we won or we thought it was a rough year,” right?

Jeff Shinabarger:
And so, I’m constantly thinking about which decisions do I need to do for the success and the missional impact of our organization in the work that we do?

Tricia Sciortino:
Yeah. So, I imagine prioritizing that’s hard.

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yeah. And it’s like the decision for us to go take a month off every year. I think at the core, my wife and I, We care very deep about our marriage. And staying married is hard. I love her with everything. She’s my best friend. And it is hard. Add on a couple of kids, add on a dog that’s very needy, add on this team that has questions all the time, add on the responsibilities of our lives. So, let’s start there. We say this thing to each other, “If we change the world and we lose our family, we lose.” That is not a winning equation. I know there’s people listening that probably are at a hard moment in their relationship right now. I’ve been there. That’s hard. And so, I have to say… Okay, what are my greatest priorities I have? I want my kids to know that they have a dad that loves them, that is willing to spend time with them, that doesn’t only prioritize their work over them. So, what do I need to do to proactively do that? And so, we have to proactively plan out time, know when the seasons are that are critical for both our family and for our work and plan accordingly.

Tricia Sciortino:
I like how you include life with it. Because I think a lot of people, right, maybe listening to this thinking leadership lessons and making leadership decisions are separate from your life, they’re separate from your marriage, they’re separate from your lifestyle. And I’m with you on the decisions you make in work affect those in life, and those in life effect those… It’s all an integrated. They’re life choices that affect different portions of your whole self. So, I think that’s great counsel. I love that tidbit of advice.

Jeff Shinabarger:
My wife and I, we talk about falling in love. The first thing you try to do. You’re trying to find the person you want to stay with in life or whatever. That’s hard already, trying to find that person. And then, we interact with so many people, and are listening right now, that are probably trying to figure out why they exist in this world. That pursuit of purpose is hard to find. We know that money doesn’t drive any of us. Purpose actually keeps us in positions of influence or in the work that we do. If you’re not finding purpose in it, you’re looking for another job. You’re on the pursuit. So, if you find that purpose, then the third love for my wife and I was a decision we had to make. We had to learn to fall in love with each other’s purpose, because at the core, our purposes collide constantly. Because if you asked anyone like, “Whose purpose in the world is most important,” it’s like, “Mine.”

Jeff Shinabarger:
This is why I exist, right? And then you say the person that you love the most. And you’re like, “Well, I have do this at 10 o’clock and I have to do this at 10 o’clock.” Who gets priority? It’s like, “Well, me. Every time. My purpose takes priority.” I had to fall in love with Andre’s purpose and see it as maybe even more important than my own. In the last year with COVID, she’s a first responder, and it’s like, “This is her time.” It is super hard and all of that stuff. But like, “Honey, this is why you exist. Go and do it.” I saw more joy in her this year than anything anyway. I’m going off on some of these decisions we have to make because I think that’s what actually sustains us.

Tricia Sciortino:
Yeah. Well, and that’s your unique experience with decision-making. And everyone has a different experience.

Tricia Sciortino:
You are working too many hours and it’s bleeding over into your evenings and weekends. You are missing valuable family time and honestly, life is zipping by you. Sound familiar? Let’s get uncomfortably, honest here. How long has it been since you were fully present and felt peace? It’s probably too long. You know how I know? Because I’ve been there.

Lisa Zeeveld:
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Lisa Zeeveld:
So, tell us about the different decision making styles and the characteristics of each one.

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yeah. As I share these, I’d love to hear what you guys think.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Okay.

Tricia Sciortino:
We can guess each other.

Lisa Zeeveld:
I like that.

Tricia Sciortino:
We were like, “That was Lisa.”

Lisa Zeeveld:
We’re a married couple too if you didn’t realize that. But T and I are so.

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yes. And you might listen, and you’d be like, “at different times and moments, I have a different style based on what has happened.” But the first one I’ll share is mine. I’m a gut reaction decision person. I have a lot of feeling in my decisions and intuition in how that happens. So, that’s the first one. A lot of emotional leaders, that’s how they make decisions. The second is the list checking. I had an assistant years ago that, she was just like, “Well, my priorities are based on this list that I have written out.” And even, if you’re making like a life decision and you’re a list checking person, you oftentimes will probably make a pros and cons list to determine which is the right direction forward. That’s the second one. The third is story living. This is my friend, Leroy Barber. I love sharing his story because he lives for the story. I remember one time he was working book. And it was like a Thursday and we had lunch and there’s like nothing going on on Friday. I call him and I’m like, “Where are you?” He’s like, “I got this RV given to me. It runs off vegetable oil. And I decided to do a book tour. And I left this morning. And I’m all the way in Illinois.” You’re like “I was with you yesterday. And you didn’t have anything.”

Tricia Sciortino:
This is my husband.

Jeff Shinabarger:
He was like, “It’s going to be great. Think about the adventure we’re going to have.” That’s just how they think. And you love them for it, right? It’s uniquely who they are. So, that’s the third. Then there’s the data-driven people where everything has to line up in a numbers and cents kind of way. When my wife and I were doing. We did this project called Love or Work, learning all this stuff in this tension. And we were learning things, qualitatively through interviews. But we had these friends who were like, “Well, I’m not going to believe it until I see the data.” And oftentimes if you’re a gut reaction person, it’s very smart for you to have a data driven person really close to you to give numbers to the intuition that you have. It doesn’t always work that way, but it can be a really good check and balance. So, that’s fourth, it’s data-driven. The fifth is the spiritually guided. I think, again, we all have a friend like this, that… It’s like they left. They’re gone. They went on this hike. They went to this mountain top experience. They came back and it’s like, “Nope. I had this moment with god or some spiritual being in some capacity.” And they go, and they’re like, “I had this spiritual moment and now my life has changed, and I’m doing this other thing forever.” Because something spoke to them in that moment.

Jeff Shinabarger:
And for me, sometimes I’m like, Yeah. But how has that ever going to work out?” And oftentimes, the… It always works out for them. It’s funny. So, there’s the spiritually guided people. There’s two more. Often, a lot of us use this. This is collective reasoning, where it’s like… They believe very deeply in the democracy of decision-making where you’re like, “Let’s get everyone in the room.” It’s like, “What are you going to do for dinner? What do you want to do for dinner?” It’s like, “Let’s get every couple in the room, every person that we know. Let’s all get in a room and let’s vote. And whatever the vote says, we win, and we go to dinner at that place.” And then the last is the passive undecided person. And they legitimately will never make a decision.

Jeff Shinabarger:
And they’re genuinely okay with that. I have a friend and she is this way. And it’s like, her name’s Carrie, “Carrie, it’s your birthday. Where do you want to go for your birthday?” She’s like, “Honestly, I don’t really care.” It’s like, “What do you guys want?” And you’re like, “It’s your birthday. You want to give this to them.” But they’re okay with whatever. So, anyway, those are the different decision making styles we have. And you may think to yourself, in different situations, I’m this or that. Sometimes, I challenge you to kind of go… The last time you bought a car, talk us through how you made that decision. And that often times is a symbol kind of the style that you probably have.

Tricia Sciortino:
Yeah. I could see being a combination. At my core, I’m definitely number one, the gut emotional intuitive decision maker person, for sure. And that drives a lot of people crazy, maybe around me. So, I have learned to lean into data, probably just data, maybe the listing. So, I could see how, the last time I bought a car, I knew the exact car I wanted because I liked it. Emotionally, I was like, that’s the car I want. But then I spent many, many hours crunching the numbers, making it work, arguing the price. I wasn’t going to leave there feeling like I did my due diligence if that make sense. I don’t know if that’s the data person really just keying in there. So, that I think is me, but at my core, definitely number one, which I know, LZ, you already knew that.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Yes. I would have said that. I would have said that. And I feel the same way. Going back to the car, that’s a really good kind of neutral ground, I feel like. What was it like? Because certain decisions, believe me, at the end of a long day, I am the passive undecided. If you come up to me, Jeff and It’s been a long day, you’re like, “What do you want for dinner?” I’m like, “I have made enough decisions today. I’m out of decisions. You can decide what we have because I’m just out of decisions.” Because to me at that point, it kind of doesn’t matter. But only for food and only at the end of the day. Otherwise, I’m very opinionated. I can tell you exactly what I want.

Lisa Zeeveld:
So, definitely gut. And I’m with Tricia, data-driven. But ultimately, I feel like I do a good job of planning my life. I’m very intentional about creating the life that I’ve always wanted. And so, it kind of goes back to that list of things that are not physical, like a car, like a decision about what to do for my kids or what my husband and I want. Then it’s like, “Okay. Well, I know we want to get here. And so, what are the right steps? What are the yeses that I need to say, and what are the nos to get me to here in five years and 10 years and in 20 years?” And so, very similar to how you and Andre sit down and talk about that, that’s similar to my husband and I. So, we’ve kind of had that planned out.

Jeff Shinabarger:
Lisa. I’m glad you said that. Because I think as adults, that is the hardest thing to do. My kids are 11 and nine. I’m like, “What do you want?” And they’re like “I want a video game and I want it this afternoon.” It’s very tangible. They know exactly what they want. But as adults, most adults have no idea what they really want. So, when you think about decision-making, at the core, if you don’t know what you want or what you need for your future, you’re never going to be able to make good decisions.

Tricia Sciortino:
Yeah. You don’t have the guard rails for the decision if you don’t know where you’re trying to go. It’s like, you’re just going into the darkness if you don’t actually know where you’re headed. So, how do you make a good decision if you don’t know where you’re trying to go?

Lisa Zeeveld:
Yeah. And we tell our kids, don’t make a short-term decision with longterm consequences, right? I like to have fun with the best of them. I’m a fun person, but because I know where I want to be, I also make decisions that would never harm my chance to get there or my ability to get there. So, it’s like, especially children have so much emotion. And when you start to read about how your brain develops, and it’s not fully there until you’re 25. And it’s like helping them understand that this might feel fun in the moment, but is it going to get you to where you want to be long-term you know?

Lisa Zeeveld:
I’m not thinking of my kids directly, but you’re going to drink and then post silly pictures on social media. Well, you’re actually going to need a job someday. And if your account isn’t private, then they can see your photos. And could that harm your ability to have the job you want, to harm the life you want for your future someday. And so, that’s even how I think of my life too, which may be a little controlled, but it’s the ultimate goal that I’m after long-term.

Tricia Sciortino:
Your minimizing bad decisions. You’re trying to try to.

Lisa Zeeveld:
I’m trying. I’ve made enough of them. I’ve got a stock pile over here I can just pull from.

Tricia Sciortino:
Bad decision pile. We all have those piles hiding in our closets. That’s the great next kind of question really. We will make bad decisions. All of us will make bad decisions. For whatever reason, you didn’t get the results you wanted and it was the wrong decision. So, then the question, really, Jeff is what do you do with that? How do you reconcile that? How do you respond to those poor decisions or bad decisions that you might’ve made?

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yeah. We make a lot of those, especially as leaders. I’ve definitely responded to my team out of emotion too often and hurt people that I care very deeply about. And about a year and a half ago or two years ago, I was raising money for this building we were doing, raising more money than I’d ever tried to raise before while starting construction, without having the money raised, while also writing a book. And it was just all of these things overlapping. And as a leader, I felt responsible for all of it. I felt responsible to just succeed at all these things. And I was feeling responsible for all these other people’s projects that confide in me for advice. I think in that moment, sometimes for me, that I really struggle, it’s taking on more than what I can handle. Sometimes, our burdens are too heavy to bear. So, in that moment, I got overwhelmed. I had a breakdown. My anxiety overtook my abilities. I used to call it stress, but really it is anxiety. I started to figure out real words that were true to what I was experiencing. And in the midst of that, I lost team members from my team and I hurt some other team members. And I had to go get some help in that moment. And I don’t know if you guys have had moments like that, where you had to get some therapy and counsel?

Tricia Sciortino:
Yeah.

Jeff Shinabarger:
And I think through that process, one of the things I realized, I’ve realized a lot, is that I am going to make mistakes and I am human. And I have to tell my team that and be vulnerable. One thing I learned through that process is that when my emotions outweigh my ability to make decisions, oftentimes I won’t make any good decisions. So, anxiety increases, and there’s this realistic sadness. For your emotions to actually come down a little bit, it will take at least 20 minutes. So, if I’m in a meeting and I’m starting to act out of my emotions in an unhealthy way, it’s more healthy for me to tell my team that I need to take a minute and leave the office so that I can actually make a more healthy decision. Because my emotions won’t come down in that minute. It’s starting to learn, I think, through these past mistakes things, indicators for myself, body scans for myself of how to be a better leader going forward. That’s some of the stuff I’ve had to and I’m continually trying to work through.

Tricia Sciortino:
Yeah. Well, I think that’s a good practical tip for our listeners right now, is if they feel that emotion to take 20 minutes. There any other practical tips that you use in helping to make a decision?

Jeff Shinabarger:
Yeah. So, I think the practice of taking a walk is really healthy. Some people talk about sleep on it or If it’s a major decision you’re trying to do, sometimes just go for a little walk around the block or keep going til you’re ready to make that decision. It’s amazing how the people on your team will be okay with you if you’re like, “You know, I need to think about that.” That’s an honest answer, that you don’t always have to have an answer in the moment. Assuming you come back to the team members, and you’re like, the next day or in a reasonable amount of time, “I thought about that.” If you’re always thinking about it and you never make decisions, then you’re probably not going to be leading people for long. But if you need to stop and ponder, take the time you need.

Tricia Sciortino:
Yeah. I love that. I think it’s a great practice for the people on the other side of you, especially if you’re an emotional decision maker. I would have the tendency to very quickly be like, “No. We’re not doing that. Or yes…” It just comes out of me. I know. My emotion says yes or no immediately. I realized over the years that my gut is not always right. And so, I need to take a minute and go, let me hear more about that or let me think about it or let me see the report, kind of training myself to say, you’re gut is actually not always correct. Maybe it is 80% of the time, but there’s 20% of the time your instinct isn’t right. And so, stop, pause, break, take a walk, get some more information and then come around. And I feel like that the people on the other side of me also appreciate that as well.

Jeff Shinabarger:
And another thing I’m intrigued by, so, that’s in situations where you don’t really know what to do. What do you do when you don’t know what to do, I would say. But then the other side of it, I’m really intrigued by the idea that… I have a friend who’s a professional basketball player. And one time I sat down with them and I was like, “Tell me what it means to be a pro in your mind.” There’s some people that make the NBA and they’re 19 years old. But he’s like, “They’re not really pros yet. They’re in the league, but they don’t know how to deal with it.” He says, most of them don’t really know how to become a pro until they’ve been hurt. They have an injury and it changes how they operate.

Jeff Shinabarger:
So, for me, I’m a nonprofit leader. So, what would it look like for me to be a professional non-profit leader? I was the best in my field, what would that look like? And it takes time, it takes reps, it takes energy, it takes seeing things over and over and over again to see how things happen. And the more you’re in it… You two have been in this work for a minute, right? You’ve been hustling and hustling and hustling, and then things become easier to make decisions because you’ve seen it before, right? You have this past experience that’s happened. And so, I think the more you’re in the work that you feel a sense of purpose and calling to do, the better decisions you’re going to make, because you’ve seen it over and over. So, that’s an interesting concept, I think, that I’m really intrigued by. What does a professional look like for every industry?

Tricia Sciortino:
It’s like working a decision muscle. Over time, you strengthen that muscle with practice and practice. I love it. That’s a great practical tip.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Yeah. I’ve actually kind of stolen the insurance motto. I know a thing or two, because I’ve seen a thing or two. Again, that really truly is how I feel, right? So, going back to those decisions, decisions in some areas of my life are way easier to make, because I’ve seen a thing or two. And so, I know a thing or right.

Tricia Sciortino:
I love that. That’s perfect.

Jeff Shinabarger:
So, good.

Tricia Sciortino:
So, good.

Jeff Shinabarger:
We’re all from Atlanta. People always say “The Atlanta traffic.” We live here. We know when not to drive. That’s experience. It’s a easy decision for us, when not to go. It’s people that are not here, they’re like, “It’s so bad.” Anyway.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Yeah. Gosh, Jeff, thank you so much for just sitting down with us today and talking about decisions and talking about leadership. And I love the the list of what type of decision maker are we. I think that’s just great to think through and helps us understand what our natural inclination to decision-making is and where ultimately we can improve. Because I think that you would probably say there’s good and bad things about each one of these. And you kind of probably need a little bit of all of them.

Jeff Shinabarger:
I would say one last thing. If you are a leader, I want to encourage you because doing the work that you do is a weight you feel all the time. And you want to do it to the best of your abilities. I know that. And most people don’t stop and let you know how hard it really is to lead people. So, if you’re in the middle of it and you’re overwhelmed, I want to encourage you that it does make an impact on the people that you lead. And there’s probably somebody watching you that is basing their future leadership on how you’re leading today. So, keep doing it, keep doing the hard work, keep encouraging the people on your team and making those hard decisions.

Lisa Zeeveld:
That’s beautiful. Thank you, Jeff. I appreciate it.

Tricia Sciortino:
Thank you.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Wow. It’s so awesome to have Jeff on the show today. Great content. Man, love talking about decision-making.

Tricia Sciortino:
He’s s encouraging.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Always.

Tricia Sciortino:
What a wonderful soul? A great guy.

Tricia Sciortino:
I really enjoy talking to him.

Lisa Zeeveld:
And I have so much respect for John Maxwell and to hear just sort of his history with John and Zig Ziglar and like, “Wow. That’s really cool.”

Tricia Sciortino:
He was running with some big dogs as a kid.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Can you imagine being that young and hanging out with such pillars of leadership. I’m like, “Wow.”

Tricia Sciortino:
Truly.

Tricia Sciortino:
What a gift. That’s awesome.

Lisa Zeeveld:
Yeah. So, what was your takeaway from our conversation today?

Tricia Sciortino:
I had a few. Probably I would say early on in the interview when we were talking about decisions being for your whole person, that he really ran the lens of decision-making through how it was going to affect his marriage or how it would affect his family or his children and making sure you’re making decisions that don’t only just support your career or your business, but that supports you as a person. So, that to me was probably something that resonated with me. Absolutely. What about, what about you LZ?

Lisa Zeeveld:
Yeah. I think I liked his practical tip. I think that as leaders, we carry a lot of emotion into decision-making, especially with the weight that we carry of an organization or a project. And so, at times we kind of use that gut reaction to quickly make a decision. And just the idea of being transparent with your team and saying, “You know what, can I just have a hot second here? I need 20 minutes.” Or it could be, “Hey. Can I answer that tomorrow?” And that’s not a sign of being a weak leader or being disorganized or not knowing, again, because we want to be such high achievers, but it’s really the smart way to make a decision. You even said it like, “Ask for the report, ask for more data before making that decision.”

Tricia Sciortino:
Dig in.

Lisa Zeeveld:
So, I thought that was just a really good practical tip for our listeners today, and for me. Good reminder. Well, as always, we have a download for you listeners so that you can take your one next step. This week’s download is a quiz. What is your decision making style? In less than five minutes, you can discover your decision-making, which will help you make good choices, even in difficult situations.

Tricia Sciortino:
Yes. So, text the phrase One Next Step to 31996 or visit onenextsteppodcast.com and you’ll get access to today’s resource to help you keep moving forward. Thank you for joining us today. And don’t forget to join us next week for more practical tips and actionable tools to advance your business one step at a time. Start by making today count.

Tricia Sciortino:
Guys, tune into the podcast next week, when we will have David Horsager CEO of Trust Edge Leadership Institute, he’s going to talk to us about his eight pillars of trust, explain why trust matters and how to build it as a leader. Here’s a preview of what you can expect.

David Horsager:
It is so difficult for leaders to keep clarity in this world because of two things, time and change. We’ll, talk about trust right now and tomorrow people will forget. “Oh, I really loved that podcast. That was really cool. It was about…” I mean, we have such a busy, fast paced, noisy world. We’re losing clarity every day because of time and change.

Speaker 2:
Thanks for listening to One Next Step. Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or follow us on Spotify, then join us next time for more practical business tips and tools to help you get more done, grow your business and lead your team with confidence. For more episodes, show notes and helpful resources, visit onenextstep podcast.com.

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