What Zambonis and Decisions Have in Common

We are sometimes pushed by outside factors to quickly be hyper-decisive out of necessity.  In those moments, we can feel rushed, reactive, and ill-equipped.  When the pressure is not there, however, we miss opportunities to build ourselves a smooth pathway that is paved with decisions.  Small but grounded decisions can remove external uncertainties, reduce team-wide confusion, and reverse personal ambivalence.

In short, our days are full of potential decisions that will yield more ease and productivity if we simply take them on early, and then resolve them quickly, fully, and decisively.  Like a Zamboni, they get the ice ready for the big game or the important performance.

Gifting yourself with a few small decisions is an easy form of self-management.  The first step is to notice what is muddying your thinking now and what might slow down your progress tomorrow or next week.  Then commit to a decision, or guiding rule, that will eliminate some uncertainty and bring ease.

For example, an Executive Director I know wanted to cultivate more external relationships.  But it didn’t come easily.  So, to avoid having a blank slate about whom to contact each month, she decided up front on her specific stakeholder targets for the year.  Now she can select specific targets each month from her pre-identified menu of choices, removing ambivalence from the process.  Another executive eliminated a source of headaches and self-doubt by deciding that a particular program was definitively not in their lane to manage (even if they still cared). And in my own board service, I build both momentum and engagement when I decide early on whom to ask for what specific types of help. (In fact, just this morning, I got a burst of relief and saved time by deciding who was better qualified than I to handle a task I volunteered for but did not want to do, and I passed it along. It felt great!)

Early decisions can also pave the way for a whole team to have more stability, productivity, and ease. Examples include:

  • a non-negotiable decision about minimum cash reserves
  • clarified employee policies for hybrid work
  • confirming who will own a new initiative to provide role clarity
  • a group decision to give a pilot program two years to prove itself rather than wondering about continuation every quarter.

How might you gift yourself with a few seemingly small decisions this week? Envision the ease that a decision-making Zamboni might create for you and your team.