I’m a huge introvert, which means that I need quiet time to recharge. So, I’ve been known to ask questions like, “Do I need to make that decision right away?” or “Can I sleep on that?”. These are ways for me (the introvert) to find time to process information. It doesn’t mean that the answer would be negative. It just means I need time to think.
Another comment that people might make to buy themselves some thinking time is “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.” Today’s Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos made me smile. Is that guy several floors up on the construction site an introvert like me?
Or is that guy lost because he doesn’t have the benefit of technology? It made me wonder. Do we need to be clearer about our intentions?
Ask when decisions need to be made. When I first started consulting, I (mistakenly) assumed that every client wanted a proposal immediately. I was making myself crazy trying to keep up. I finally started asking the question, “When do you want a proposal?” Some clients would answer tomorrow, but the clear majority would say, “Sometime next week is fine.” Don’t make assumptions about when decisions need to be made. Ask the question.
Negotiate your thinking time. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we are all faced with moments when we want to think over decisions. Again, that doesn’t mean that the questions (or answers) will be negative. Sometimes big career decisions like a promotion, transfer, relocation, etc. warrant some extra time to plan. No one should feel pressured to make a quick decision.
Use technology to help organize information. If that guy in the cartoon really does need to go down to his office to look at some papers on his desk, maybe it’s time to take advantage of what technology brings to the table. Think about those moments when technology can help and find a device or app that can bring your desk to you. You don’t have to do it for everything – I’ll admit that I love my Erin Condren life planner – but I don’t need it for every decision or answer.
It’s not necessary to answer everything right away. Organizations have the opportunity to create cultures that establish decision-making norms – not only how the decision-making process will take place but the time that individuals and teams will be given to get their thoughts together.11