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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Prioritization and Decision Making



In Chapter 3 we spoke of the misalignment of people who are out of STEPP. (Strengths, Talents, Ethics & values, Personality profile, Passion) In our research and travels, and we suspect that you would agree, there are many adults and children who are out of STEPP. Unhappy in their work, and doing things they would rather not do, many people live their lives with their talents in hibernation. These frustrated people have perhaps begun to question their ethics, and often they may have hidden their true personality. Perhaps, most sad, many are no longer passionate about their lives.

Given the chance to correctly align with our Strengths, Talents, Ethics & values, Personality profile, and Passions we must begin by understanding what it is we most value. This is the most important lesson from that Franklin learned, that Franklin taught.

Decision Making

Once we have come to understand what it is that we value, and how it is that we have prioritized, then the decision making process comes much more easily. By understanding the finite resource of time, and what it is that matters most to us, we are more easily able to schedule the limited resource to meet our own STEPPs.

Try this simple two question test. Don't answer for yourself, but for what you perceive to be the average adult with a family:

Decision Making Test

1. Most people with families would probably say, "The most important thing in my life is my family. I would do anything for them."  True   False 

2. I spend enough time with my family.  True  False 

How do you think most people answer?   The most typical answers are:

1. True, (the most important thing in my life is my family ....)
False, (I spend enough time with my family.)

How did you do? Did you correctly guess what it was that most people said?

Now, how would you answer this next question?

Decision Making Test part 2

3. What is wrong with the most common answers to the first two questions in the Decision Making Test?

a) If 1, Family is most important, than the answer to 2 should also be True.
If 2, is True than number 1 must be False.
If 2 is False than 1 can't be True if you are living your life in STEPP.
d) If this isn't clear to you, you need to spend more time reviewing important & urgent.
e) All of the above.

So what is the right answer to Quiz question 3?
Yup, you got it. e. All of the above is the correct answer.

The difficulty is that often we find ourselves out of STEPP.

Making a living, getting good grades, keeping up with the neighbors, checking off all the things on our to do list, all come at a price, and that price is time. To help manage that price we compromise. Sometimes, all too often we sacrifice what is important for what is urgent. We must never confuse the two.

It is not only important to understand this. It is urgent!

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