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How Do Decisions Get Made?

How decisions get made.As I venture outside the field of sales I have been meeting decision analysts, coaches, and organization development folks who believe that decision making is different for them.

I’m here to tell you that all decisions, regardless of bias, industry, type or importance of the end result, have the same basic human components, separate from the analysis, weighting, or outcome of the decision sought.


  1. Those responsible for the end result must have at their disposal the full fact pattern of their status quo (the rules, people, activities, culture, output, outcomes, beliefs). For sales, change, and leadership, everyone on the Decision Team must understand ALL of the systems elements that must be included for congruent change (or a new decision) to be effective. And all new decisions become a change management issue.
  2. The system will have difficulty changing it perceives there is any possibility the underlying problem can be fixed by any element of the system. It’s the law of Homeostasis in action.
  3. All – ALL – of those who will touch the solution must buy-in to the change (the new decision) and know how to bring in the new elements without disrupting the system. The system is sacrosanct, and must know how to end up congruent as part of any change or decision-inspired initiative.

Regardless of the outcome, the type of decision, the import, the amount of change – i.e. is it a large implementation that involves many factors and people? or a small change that can be made by one person? – the steps are the same.

Regardless of the focus of the decision - whether it is for decision analysis to choose the best oil rig, or for a software implementation – all of the above steps must be taken. And to ensure bias and buy-in are managed adequately, everyone who will touch the solution must be involved at the human, internal criteria/beliefs place.

Information – that which we collect or share to sell solutions, or which we offer to lead an initiative or gather decision criteria – is the last thing that should be addressed. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to focus on this first, thus biasing the end-result.

What would you need to believe differently to be willing to put the people piece first? What skills would you need to add to what you are doing to delay the information aspect of your approach?

Contact me: [email protected], or go to

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More Stories By Sharon Drew Morgen

Sharon Drew Morgen is the visionary and thought leader behind Buying Facilitation® the new sales paradigm that focuses on helping buyers manage their buying decision. She is the author of the NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity as well as 5 other books and hundreds of articles that explain different aspects of the decision facilitation model that teaches buyers how to buy.

Morgen dramatically shifts the buying decision tools from solution-focused to decision-support. Sales very competently manages the solution placement end of the decision, yet buyers have been left on their own while sellers are left waiting for a response, and hoping they can close. But no longer: Morgen actually gives sellers the tools to lead buyers through all of their internal, idiosyncratic decisions.

Morgen teaches Buying Facilitation® to global corporations, and she licenses the material with training companies seeking to add new skills to what they are already offering their clients. She has a new book coming out October 15, 2009 called Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it which defines what is happening within buyer’s cultures (systems) and explains how they make the decisions they make.

Morgen has focused on the servant-leader/decision facilitation aspect of sales since her first book came out in 1992, called Sales On The Line.
In all of her books, she unmasks the behind-the-scenes decisions that need to go on before buyers choose a solution, and gives sellers the tools to aid them.

In addition, Morgen changes the success rate of sales from the accepted 10% to 40%: the time it takes buyers to come up with their own answers is the length of the sales cycle, and her books – especially Dirty Little Secrets – teaches sellers how to guide the buyers through to all of their decisions, thereby shifting the sales cycle from a failed model that only manages half of the buying cycle, to a very competent Professional skill set.

Morgen lives in Austin TX, where she dances and works with children’s fund raising projects in her spare time.

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