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College Choices and “Artful Procrastination”

Butler University, University of Cincinnati, Point Park University, Alma College, maybe Indiana University or Purchase College?

My daughter Christina’s been accepted into four college ballet programs and is waiting on two more. The four schools she’s been accepted to have a constant flow of communication going to her in hopes that she will pick their school and program.

Only problem is Christina is waiting for two more schools. So though the pressure (from the schools, others in her life and herself) is on making a decision now – as her agent I’ve instructed her to wait until just before the commitment deadline.

There are a lot of things that can happen between now and then that will help her make the best decision.

So procrastination, not being decisive is Christina’s best course of action.

This concept of decision-making’s discussed in one of my favorite leadership books – The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership by Steven Sample. It’s full of practical suggestions for being an effective leader. It’s one of those books I occasionally re-read and often refer to.

In one of his best contrarian perspectives Sample provides his rules for making decisions, one of which is:

Never make a decision today that can reasonably be put off until tomorrow.

This runs counter to what leaders hear from others. We’re supposed to be certain, confident and decisive. But Sample makes a case for what he calls “artful procrastination.”

Sample believes a good leader should take all the time he or she can to make a decision. Why?

Because new options and information will become available during the “procrastination” period that will allow for a better decision.

Now there are times when snap decisions need to be made.

But most important decisions, ones with long-term effects generally do not require immediate action. Instead they require input from others as well as thoughtful reflection and prayer. None of which can be done in a New York minute.

So Christina will put off deciding what school she will attend until “tomorrow” knowing that it’s the best day to make a big decision.

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