Context Checks

Context checks, when made in quick succession, will enable you to see the likely effect of the decision on the whole you are managing. These checks are not used until you have gathered all the relevant information needed for making the best decision, such as research, legal concerns, cash flow, peer influence, advice from a variety of people, past experience, even gut instinct. All these considerations are important and should be part of that early information gathering you do before making a decision. The context checks provide a final filter after your information gathering is complete. Now that you have a clear picture of where you want to be as described in your Holistic Context, you will begin to weigh your decisions with that picture and its outcomes in mind.

The context checks help us sift through the many factors and complex variables to the heart of the matter asking— is this action economically, socially and environmentally sound based on our Holistic Context?

Decision making can be challenging, particularly when you are in a crisis situation with inadequate information, or under emotional stress. The context checks include thinking/logical questions and feeling questions, as well as questions that focus on financial, biological/environmental, and social concerns. The questions asked in each check help you consider short-term and long-term consequences and ensure that your final decisions and actions are the best they can be in terms of your Holistic Context and the life you want to live.

When running through the checks, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you should only spend minutes, not hours answering the questions. The Cause and Effect check should be asked first and the Gut Feel check last. Other than these two, it does not matter in what order you do the checks, but the idea is to move through them quickly. The Gross Profit Analysis and Marginal Reaction checks may require some financial calculations and thus more time, but you can use rough estimates when you initially check a decision. You can then go back and do those calculations if they are needed to make a final decision.

Second, you will find that not all decisions require that you go through all checks. If you find you get stuck as you go through them, it is likely that you do not have enough information about the issue you are trying to address and need to do more research. At times you will find there is information or clarity missing from your Holistic Context, making it difficult and even impossible to be clear about what is the right thing to do. When this happens it is time to revisit your Holistic Context and dig deeper into how you want your life to be and what will need to be present to sustain it far into the future.

Complete and Continue