Anonymous Distributor

In an interview in the Nov. 3 edition of the New York Times, David Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell, talked about how making good decisions is critical to the success of a business. A decisive business leader “wants to make decisions often and quickly (i.e. ‘Give me what you’ve got, and I’ll make a decision.’). And the lower you are in an organization, you can get away with a lot of that and you’ll be applauded for it.”

“But with bigger decisions, you can make bigger mistakes, so you really have to think about the kind of decision you’re making,” Cote added. “Is this a decision where if I’m wrong, there can be significant ramifications?

“What I’ve taught myself to do is to tell everybody that this is a preliminary decision, and we will go through it again in a day or two, because it’s so important to get it right.

“If I’m very decisive and I surround myself with people who just want me to make decisions, then we’ll go off the cliff at 130 miles an hour, because at some point I’ll be wrong. What I need are people who want to come to their own conclusions and are willing to think independently, and can argue with me in the right way so I can (keep the process) objective as opposed to emotional.

“There’s this phrase I use a lot when I teach leadership classes at Honeywell: ‘Your job as a leader is to be right at the end of the meeting, not at the beginning of the meeting.’ It’s your job to flush out all the facts, all the opinions, and at the end, make a good decision, because you’ll get measured on whether you make a good decision, and not whether it was your idea from the beginning.”

In running our businesses, we spend a lot of time making decisions. And each decision we make has a huge impact on our success, so it pays to make every decision as good as we can. Cote is suggesting that we can make better decisions when we’re armed with all the facts (i.e. You’re never as well informed at the beginning of a meeting as you are at the end.). That’s something you should consider the next time someone pressures you to make a quick decision.


I hope you’re celebrating the holiday season with family and friends and not setting new world records for eating the most food at a family get-together. Sometimes you want to say out-loud: “Wait a minute! This isn’t an eating contest, is it?”


Here’s my favorite Charles Schultz story that really puts “what’s important in our lives” into perspective:

“Every time I see these questions make the rounds via e-mail around the Internet, I’m reminded of what truly is important in life. Don’t answer the questions. Just read it to the end, and you’ll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman Trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America Pageant.
4. Name 10 people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


Give yourself credit for remembering the people who really made a difference in your life. They didn’t have the most credentials, the most money or the most awards. They just cared about you. Whose life have you made a difference in recently?”

Remember that you have a choice every day about how you approach life and the people around you. Make it positive. Make it thankful. Count your blessings. Then share a few. Happy holidays!


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