Friday, April 24, 2009

A review of Suzy Welch's 10-10-10

Mom Central chose me to review the newest book by Suzie Welch, 10-10-10 A Life Transforming Idea.  While not normally one for self-help books (I honestly don't remember the last time I picked one up.... maybe 1997?  Maybe never?), I'm really enjoying this.  And in fact, I don't think I'd describe it as self-help.  Here is the description from Amazon to give you a plot-line, so to speak:

Any choice you make -any decision -

will benefit from 


We all want to lead a life of our own making. But in today's accelerated world, with its competing priorities, information overload, and confounding options, we can easily find ourselves steered by impulse, stress, or expedience. Are our decisions the right ones? Or are we being governed, time and time again, and against our best intentions, by the demands of the moment?

 A transformative new approach to decision making, 10-10-10 is a tool for reclaiming your life at home, in love, and at work. The process is clear, straightforward, and transparent. In fact, when you're facing a dilemma, all it takes to begin are three questions: What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes?

 In 10 months? And in 10 years?

 Sound simple? Not quite. Recounting poignant stories from her own life and the lives of many other dedicated 10-10-10 users, Suzy Welch reveals how exploring the impact of our decisions in multiple time frames invariably surfaces our unconscious agendas, fears, needs, and desires -- and ultimately helps us identify and live according to our deepest goals and values.

 10-10-10's applicability is uniquely broad. Whether it is used by college students or busy mothers or senior business executives, artists, government administrators, or entrepreneurs, 10-10-10 has shown its effectiveness in decisions large and small, routine and radical, consistently changing lives for the better.


When I first started to read the book, I had to wonder how she would draw this fairly simple idea out for the length of an entire book.  She does so by applying her 10-10-10 system to relationships, career choices and work issues, parenting and friendships.  She also flushes out the basic concept of 10-10-10 decision-making by discussing how using this method to make small to big decisions will ultimately lead to a clear definition of our values, right down to very specific values such as "I want to learn how to plumb my own house."  You know, in case that is a value for you.

She pulls in example after example from people who have been using her method to illustrate every point.  I find her examples are probably the best "teaching" tool in how to use her method.  It quickly makes the process clear and shows how it really does help define values in your life. 


After reading a couple of chapters I found myself applying 10-10-10 to past decisions I've made and found at least one big decision that likely would have resulted in a different result had I thought harder of the consequences at the 10-year mark.  Or at least, I would have had more to think about to make a more fully-informed decision. 


This week I was stewing about whether to make yet another appointment to see my GP about this health mystery I'm experiencing.  I've been feeling like I'm annoying her office.  I decided to try out the 10-10-10 method.  The first thing you do is put your decision in the form of a question: "Should I go to the doctor again this week?"  And then I considered the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years.  In 10 minutes, if I decided to go, I would feel that I was taking action myself and not waiting to hear from others.  I needed to find out what I would be able to do when we move to Kitchener if I don't have a family doctor to access and asking my current GP seemed like the best way to proceed.  If I didn't make an appointment, I would still be sitting worrying about the way forward and what to do in Kitchener.  In 10 months, seeing my GP this week may have no effect.  It's possible I'll still have these health issues but at least I'd know that I took things into my own hands when I needed to and didn't just let the system stall.  In 10 years, I hope that my GP will know that I control my own health care and remember this in the next health issues I encounter.  Of course, if things continue as they have been, I plan to have a new GP by then.  So, my decision was pretty simple.  I made the appointment.


It seems like a pretty simple decision and it was.  It took me all of 3 minutes.  The book takes you through examples of much larger ones where the person actually took pen and paper and worked out consequences, realized they needed to collect more "data" (think about things more, ask more questions, look into what the results of certain decisions would be by talking to other people), focus on what their values really were in relation to the decision.  I wanted to try it as an exercise and I liked how it helped me focus on me and the consequences of decisions.  I'm definitely going to be applying 10-10-10 as a decision-making tool.  I can see it as a great way to make decisions with your partner and children as well.  It also serves as a clear way to explain decisions to others that they may not initially understand or accept.


If you're interested in the book and live in Ottawa, I'd be happy to lend it to you.  Otherwise, you can find it at Chapters or Amazon. 


Hey, even if you're just interested in Suzy Welch and her take on the scandal she created when she hooked up with Jack Welch resulting in her ultimate firing from Harvard Business Review, you'll probably find something interesting here from a whole voyeurism perspective.

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