In this interview, The Business Information Guide asked author Dawna Jones why she wrote Decision Making for Dummies.

What is Decision Making for Dummies about?

Decision Making for Dummies provides today’s decision makers with a wider understanding of how humans make decisions in different settings. It offers tools and techniques and the leadership skills required to function in today’s business environment. From big picture change to workplace culture and participatory decision-making, Decision Making for Dummies is a resource for 21st business (and personal) decision-making. It’s impossible to separate leadership from decision-making. You’ll find personal growth, using mistakes, ethical decision-making, employee and customer relationships-business culture, intuitive and rational decision-making and more. To dispel some myths about intuitive decision-making, DMFD looks under the hood to gain an understanding of how your intuition makes 90% of your decisions for you in milliseconds. You’ll learn how to strengthen it and how to work with stress positively.

What inspired you to write Decision Making for Dummies?

Inspiration for the book came from two sources:

1) Research shows seriously successful entrepreneurs rely on their intuition yet few business schools teach you how to know what to trust, how to separate intuition from flying by the seat of your pants or from emotion (fear for instance).

2) The context for decision-making has changed. Social and ecological change is driving values based decision-making but most decisions remain based on ‘what’s in it for me’. Accordingly, treating complex problem as if they’re simple is highly risky. Decisions are prone to error. I wanted to give business decision makers and leaders a way to navigate uncertainty with greater clarity and confidence.

How did you come to do what you’re doing today?

About 11 years ago when facilitating an organizational change initiative I observed well intended change move forward two feet and roll back one. In that moment that I knew that changes were happening in society and the environment (climate change, loss of biodiversity, social values) faster than people/businesses were adapting.

As humanity races down a trajectory of doing what we’ve always done, suffering looms on the horizon unless creativity is engaged. Understanding how to realize untapped creative potential propelled me on a personal journey of transformation. By stepping into a higher level of leadership, I could truly understand how much buried creativity and knowledge lives innately in each person and why companies fail to engage it.

Business became the focus as a result of the massive impact business has on the health of society and the planet. I look for places to contribute my knowledge of transformational change so that change is something everyone uses to achieve radical innovation, health and prosperity for all. In essence, it is about the evolution of human consciousness applied to adapting.

Describe a typical day in your life

At the moment, a typical day involves running webinars to share ideas world-wide on how to do things differently, writing new books, articles, and taking walks in the forest where my brain cools down. Gain perspective. Recharge my batteries. I touch base with my daughter when she’s available.

 Dawna, what do you enjoy most about what you do?

What I do is changing constantly. I’ve moved from living a predictable life raising an awesome daughter (as a single parent) to living life on the edge, which is where I am most challenged and most comfortable although I’m sure that sounds odd. I enjoy helping people see their higher purpose and plug it into positive change. And I love watching the lights go on when people see themselves from a different point of view; see their talents. I love working in tough complex situations with people who truly want to use change and business as a force for good. Working collaboratively with others sharing a common goal and pooling diverse expertise and experience, to co-design better workplaces, is fun and rewarding. I am also working on some virtual reality games. I also love help connecting the intelligence of nature, the principles of managing a living system, to how we manage our relationship with the world. After all, Nature’s been managing the planet a lot longer than we have, with longer lasting results.

Are there any people or books that have inspired you?

To be honest, Nature has been my greatest inspiration. How animals communicate, the technology in a leaf, what each plant contributes to keep the ecosystem health are examples of what excites me. Many books and people have supported my vision for what is possible and helped me develop a better relationship with my own potential. Topics span biology, astrophysics, creativity, being a maverick in business to name a few. Inspirational inventors and leaders including mavericks and spiritual leaders like Elon Musk, Nikola Tesla, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King, plus ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

What business tips can you share? 

1) Balance intuitive with rational decision-making. Intuitive decision-making gives you the edge in uncertain conditions; rational provides you with the factual support.

2) Shift from self-interest (what’s in it for me) to asking a question like, How does my decision enhance personal (your own, your employees and your customers) well being and collective well being (social and environmental health). This will put you in touch with the impact of your decisions.

3) Make the bold decisions that help you grow yourself and your business into unfamiliar territory. That will build your agility and your confidence.

4) Reexamine everything you believe to be true. Separate beliefs that were useful to explain the past – toss them out and replace them with values… what’s truly important. Doing so will generate future oriented decisions rather than leave you defending the status quo.

5) Shift perspective to see what you can’t see. Assuming that you know all there is to know is exceptionally risky and why most mistakes happen. Ask. Be curious. See from a different point of view especially one you disagree with. (And yes, it will take courage!)

What’s next for you?I’ve written the treatment for a Virtual Reality game taking decision making to higher levels of consciousness. I call it Marga. The idea is to merge virtual worlds with the rest of reality. I believe that players who successfully attain the higher levels will support collaborative leadership in tackling the big issues. By learning how to see with a wider lens, using a learning mindset we can learn how to adapt faster, so human activity can regenerate the planet’s life support system instead of making unsustainable withdrawals from our life account so to speak. Empathy is essential; knowing that we are deeply connected to all of life, including the birds and animals we share the planet with.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I truly hope that readers of this interview or of Decision Making for Dummies, realize that they are incredibly important to the shaping of tomorrow. None of us need wait for government. Sorry, they’re behind. Or universities. They’re behind too. As Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” I believe we can co-creatively design a world that is fairer, just, holding far greater compassion than the one we are currently supporting through each decision made. What’s possible when we work together?

Originally published in the Business Information Guide.

For a book review see

Read Chapter 1- Big Picture Pressures on Decision Makers See Dawna’s other writing on the HuffPo Great Workplace Cultures blog. The Intelligence of the Cosmos also has a chapter on Deep Dynamics contributed by Dawna.

Be a company built to adapt fast by employing your creative talent full-on. Contact Dawna Jones to improve decision making, advance leadership skills, shift perspective, unlock irritating problems, or adapt your business culture through team engagement.

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