An excerpt from The Courage Way
A Rubric for Choosing with Integrity
An emphasis on the inner life and interpersonal dynamics can inform decision making beyond the usual analytical tools. You can look past externals and see to another way of approaching and thinking about this important part of your role. Try these reflective practices.
First, look within to your true self. Seek self-awareness. Be honest with your true self. What is it you fear? Why are you saying no— because of expediency and efficiency, or because it is the right answer? How are your shadows interfering with clarity? Where are the unnamed elephants in the room? Are you one of them? Because there is often more than one, as one leader quipped, “ The floor’s not going to support the weight of all those elephants much longer.”
Look for trust. What effect would a decision have on the trust level in your organization? Does it reflect shared values and priorities? Or does it violate them? How are regard, respect, competence, and integrity at play in your decision? If one or more are not present, which is missing, and how can you address that lack in this moment?
Look for community. What would it take for you to risk being vulnerable? To say “I don’t know” or “I need your help”? What could it look like to weigh other opinions, to gain perspective from a number of other angles, even if you don’t agree with them? How might you look for abundance in your community, an abundance that can be called on to enrich your perspective? Seek situational awareness, taking into account other people and their perspectives. When purpose is clear and people trust in each other, it’s possible to call on them to help find solutions and to identify those individuals who are willing to put in the energy toward making the proposed solution happen. If people don’t step up to participate, could it be that the issue isn’t as urgent as you may have thought? What else might their reluctance tell you?
Look for paradox. Can two seemingly incompatible ideas or factors both be true? How might you hold them in a both-and way and see how that changes your perspective? How might you look for a way to make a win-win possible? Where can both- and come into play instead of either-or?
Notice what default corner have you gone to — fight, flight, freeze, or flock. What is keeping your true self from being fully present with whatever decision you face? Do you feel defensive? Do you want to avoid it? Are you stuck in indecision? Are you being belligerent? Do you recognize any of these stress reactions as places you’ve gone before when faced with di cult challenges? How can you reframe where you are and transform being stuck in a corner? Which of these other practices might fortify you so that you can move forward?
Where are you on the Möbius strip? Are you stuck or in motion or sliding way o the edge? How might you seek introspection to gain an internal perspective and strength? Are you taking considered action because you’ve collected your thoughts, your data, and your crew of competent colleagues or community? What if trust is the glue that binds the Möbius strip: what and whom can you trust as you consider this decision? If you’re hoping for creative courage—healthy risk-taking and innovation— how have you held yourself accountable as a leader to put the conditions in place for trust and courage to arise?Choosing wisely is a way of finding “integrity and the courage to act on it.” Click To Tweet
Each time you pause to engage in these reflective practices, you are honing your art of discernment. at improves the likelihood of making decisions with less fear and regret, with more courage and trust. Choosing wisely is a way of finding “integrity and the courage to act on it.”
Shelly L. Francis has been the marketing and communications director at the Center for Courage & Renewal since mid-2012. Before coming to the Center, Shelly directed trade marketing and publicity for multi-media publisher Sounds True, Inc. Her career has spanned international program management, web design, corporate communications, trade journals, and software manuals.
The common thread throughout her career has been bringing to light best-kept secrets — technology, services, resources, ideas — while bringing people together to facilitate collective impact and good work. Her latest book The Courage Way: Leading and Living with Integrity identifies key ingredients needed to cultivate courage in personal and professional aspects of life.