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Making Decisions – Process and Action – By Tom Conway

Making Decisions – Process and Action – By Tom Conway




Many people don’t realize they already have a plan – one of the government’s choosing and not their own. If they pass on to eternity today, some existing plan will kick into gear, and it may not be what they want.


When people make decisions that will impact the lives of others, it is important to realize that today’s decision need not be their final decision. Because of extended lifespans today, there is a very good chance that they will revisit their plan and change it. Most decisions are not irrevocable. 


Former CEO and business psychology author William B. Given, Jr. gives this sound advice: “When possible make the decisions now, even if the action is in the future. A revised decision is usually better than one reached at the last moment.


So what keeps people from making these decisions? Consider these factors.


Lack of Clarity


One factor is lack of clarity on what the individual or couple wants to do. When people are unsure of the objective they want to accomplish, they have no confidence in making a decision, 




Fear is another factor that handcuffs decision making. Fear that they will make a wrong decision. Much of this fear is tied to emotional uncertainty.


Inadequate Information


Sometimes people don’t make decisions because they don’t have enough information. In the wealth transfer arena, people are often uncertain of what their children will do with the wealth they entrust to them. Will they be good stewards or managers of what they are given? Will they squander it frivolously?




Couples generally differ in personality type, with one likely to make quick decisions while the other wants more time to think – the intuitive versus the analytical. One may embrace risk while the other desperately wants to avoid it. One is likely to favor logical thinking while the other is more concerned about feelings and possible consequences for the people involved.


Don’t know how


Many people do not have a decision-making process they trust. What do I mean by a process? I mean a step-by-step decision-making process that leads to a decision they can live with. The decision they come to may not be the perfect one, but it is the best alternative at the time based upon the information they have.


A Decision-Making Process


A decision making process that I learned and have used over the years with clients has ten steps:


1) Pray for guidance. Prayer and meditation can often help you gain clarity around a decision.

2) Define the decision. What is the question you are trying to answer – the problem you are trying to solve?

3) Clarify your objectives.

4) Prioritize the objectives.

5) Identify your alternatives.

6) Evaluate the alternatives.

7) Make a preliminary decision.

8) Assess the risk. What could go wrong if I make this decision?

9) Make the decision.

10) Test the decision over time for future improvement.


Ask yourself: Do you really want to live with the current reality? Engaging an advocate is often the most efficient and effective way to break out of indecision and inaction.


To learn more about the Center for Family Conversations and the new book, Unheritage, click here.








Tom Conway leads Conway and Associates in assisting families to get clarity around what they believe God wants them to do with their resources.



A CPA by training, Tom has held numerous ministry and financial service positions with such organizations as Ernst & Young, Campus Crusade for Christ, Ronald Blue and Company, Perimeter Church, Generous Giving Inc., National Christian Foundation, Kingdom Advisors, and the Haggai Institute in Atlanta.



Tom has a passion for legacy planning that encompasses five areas: personal, family, financial, business, and philanthropic. As he helps people quantify their needs for the future, what they wish to leave for their family, and how the remainder of their resources can be released to organizations that reflect their values, it often leads to zero-estate-and-IRD-tax situations.



Living and serving in Africa for a number of years and ministering extensively in Europe, Asia, and Russia enhanced Tom’s Christian global perspective.



Tom and his wife, Susan, have been married for thirty-five years, have four children and four grandchildren, and live in Atlanta, Georgia.

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