Workplace: POWER decisions

Decisions can be made in dozens of ways. A best course for decision making is to have a model by which you can assess all requests and all potential projects. In the book “No, How One Simple Word Can Transform Your life”, the POWER model for decision making is presented. Here’s an overview that can guide you through the holidays, work, and work-life balance decisions, along with being helpful in the new year.

Power is what you may feel when making decisions with the POWER model – as in, you’ll feel more in control of what you say YES and what you say NO to going forward.

P is for Purpose. What is the purpose of the request or project? Will this work help you and your team achieve goals and business unit objectives? If YES – then, keep working through the model. If NO, then consider whom else – if anyone – might be suited for fulfilling the request.

O is for Options. What options do you and your team have for fulfilling the request or completing the project? Does the team have the right skills, knowledge, abilities, budget, and tools to do the work through completion? Does the team have access to the right people, tools and budget? If YES – the keep working through the model. If NO, state clearly a truth, such as “We do not have the budget to take this project on.”

W is for When. When does the project need to be completed? Is it a fixed deadline or negotiable? What will happen if the deadline is missed? Is this a compliance deadline? What do we need to know about the timeframe? Yes, there are more timing questions than just “what is the deadline.” You’ll want to pin down details so that expectations are agreed upon and met for the timing of completion. If the timing works for you and your team, then you still may be a YES. If the timing is unrealistic for your team, then a “No, our calendars will not allow us to add this project into the mix and meet your deadlines.”

E is for Emotions. Every request comes with emotional attachments. We want to do the project. We don’t want to do the project. We like the idea of the project, yet we may not appreciate the requestor. Sometimes “neutral’ is the emotional reaction, which is better than “no way do I feel good about taking this on.” Explore what you and your team are encountering as emotional reactions. Listen to the responses because good or bad, these responses will influence the successful – or not successful – achievement of the project or fulfillment of the request. If emotions are on strong footing for a YES, then proceed to the final set of questions in the model. If emotions are so negatively charged, for any reason, then explore whom else may be able to support the requestor’s project while you and your team say “NO, we respectively cannot take on this task.”

R is for both Rights and Responsibilities. Discuss with the requestor and your team: What rights do we have about being able to count on promised resources, budgets, and timeframes for completing this project? Do we have the right to say NO if situations change? What will happen if we find we need to say NO or renegotiate details? If we say YES, we understand we have the responsibilities of ongoing communication and completion of the work. If we say NO at this point, we understand that we have a responsibility to indicate why we’ve said NO and to potentially offer new ideas for getting the project completed.

POWER – take back yours before you immediately say YES or NO to a work request, a family request, or even to a friend or extended family member request. You’ll be glad for the moments you take to breathe, and apply logic to selecting your YES or NO response.

If you and your team are ready for POWERful decision making, contact: Jana Kemp,, 208-367-1701

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