Experts estimate that the average adult will make upwards of 35, 000 decisions during their waking hours – each and every day! While this sounds unbelievable, it is true. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning until our heads hit the pillow at night, we are decision making machines. What time should I get out of bed? How many times should I press the snooze button? Coffee before shower or shower before coffee? What do I wear? Where do I park?
Up to 85% of the decisions we make each day are done so at nearly subconscious levels, driven primarily by our habits and environment. These rudimentary decisions allow us to function each day, and literary take us from point A to point B. They also have an incredible impact on who we are, what we do and what we accomplish in life.
In addition to our rudimentary decision making process, we are also busy making more sophisticated secondary decisions that involve priorities, objectives and the immediate future. Which work do I complete first? Who I am having dinner with tonight? Should I ask the client if they would like to purchase the recommended product? Secondary decisions begin to climb the ladder of subciousness and concern, as they usually involve other individuals and come with more risk. For example, there is no consequence from deciding to have your coffee either before or after your shower; however with work, if you choose to do the wrong thing first, it could mean the difference between success or failure. Secondary decisions account for as much as 10 percent of all the decisions we make.
Complex decisions are just that – complex. They are defined by the inherent maximum risk value and their permanent nature. Possible examples of complex decisions include choosing to start your own business, purchasing a new house, deciding what school to send your children to or picking a partner. They are decisions that you feel will have a dominant impact on our life and future, for better or for worse. As a result, they are the most emotionally stressful, taxing and difficult decisions to make. Because of this complexity and the intense analysis needed to complete the decision making process, complex decisions – which make up a mere five percent of the total decisions that we make – are often never made at all. As incomplete as it sounds, it is true. Hence the reason many feel as if they are on a “treadmill”, working hard and going nowhere. Complex decisions are heavily tied into, and in many cases mirror, our life goals. Therefore, they serve as the leader or pillars in life that rudimentary and secondary decisions adhere to. A lack of complex decision making leads to having aimless, empty direction.
Environment and habit:
As environment and habit lead eighty five percent of our decisions each day, it is important to understand how each impact our day to day lives and business, and how we can modify them to work in our favor. Does our environment create habit, or do our habits create our environment? The answer is that they are reciprocal; in that they both support each other.
A dark and dime lit treatment room, for example, suggests a quiet, relaxing atmosphere with minimal conversation. In response to this environment, the skin therapist habitually says very little before, during and after the treatment, and wonders why her retail sales are so low. A well lit energetic “room less” mini service environment suggests communication, customer interaction and education, as well as a quick and effective service that has been proven to yield as much as five times the amount of retail sales with the same skin therapist.
Creating a “green” environment where every bottle, can and box has a reminder to recycle posted in it has changed the culture of our world. It is now a rudimentary habit to sort the trash, segregate the glass from the bottles and recycle. This subtle environment change has had a profound effect on our habits, and these new habits reciprocally strengthen the recycling environment.
Changing the environment:
Many believe that change cannot be so simple, and therefore overlook the small rudimentary details while pining over complex decisions and projects that often fail to come into fruition at all. The reality of the matter is that small changes, when aggregated together, can have a profound impact on your business and your life. In addition, it is generally easy and quick to make these decisions due to their simplicity and manageable nature.
Building out a new treatment room could take the better part of a year by the time you factor in design, permits, contractors and financing. It could also cost you upwards of $100 000. It could take months to settle on this type of complex decision, and could become so over-whelming that it does not happen at all. Creating a mini service environment with all of the new innovative hand held tools and technology of convenience available can be initiated for a minimal investment. This exciting new idea is easy and low risk, and can be initiated without delay!
As simple signage, symbols and education have been instrumental in leading the green revolution, the same concept and philosophy can work to modify your environment. Placing simple signage on acrylic stands on the retail shelves, front desk, mini service area, treatment rooms and team break rooms is an excellent way to begin to change the environment and communicate this direction to your clients and your team.
Secondary decisions are often the most challenging for skin therapists to act upon, as they involve future planning, money, and what many view as “sales”. Secondary decisions can also be greatly affected by your environment. For example, a sign at the front desk that says “Ask me about today’s special” will prompt most clients to ask the question, which gives the skin therapist the green light to do her thing.
Using similar signage and reports for your internal team is a positive and productive way to keep them on task with their secondary decisions. Daily reports on their month to date activity in service and retail sales –as well as their daily goal to stay on task – allows them to quickly understand what needs to be done. This inherently feeds into their subconscious and helps align their rudimentary and secondary decision making processes, all while creating an energetic environment with friendly and inspiring competition, which is positive for the entire team.
Preparing reminder notes in each client file about recent products purchased and upcoming service strategies helps the skin therapist remember to quickly discuss this with each client during their consult, service and before they leave. A copy of these notes can also be given to the client to take home after the service, where he or she can consider the ideas further. When combined with a quick follow-up call and/or email, this is usually enough to get the client moving in a positive direction – your direction!
As complex decisions primarily represent our long term goals, it is necessary to make them and necessary to discuss them. One of the most common failures of long term goals and complex decisions is that they are usually viewed as a onetime deal, in that we are going to pull the trigger once and never have to think about it again. In reality, this could not be further from the truth. Once a long term goal is established (complex decision), it is thought about and visualized daily. In short, your long term goals are the line leaders of your life – you live them. This then works naturally to help align your rudimentary and secondary decision making process, as they are always being subconsciously cross checked against your long term goals. For example, if your long term goal is to become a skin care technology expert, it is an easy and sensible decision to sign up for a micro-current class and make an investment in skin care technology.
In the end, it is the aggregate of all your decisions that ultimately define who you are, what you do, and what you accomplish in life. Each one of your decisions is important, and each one impacts your destiny. When you reflect upon who you are, what you do, it is representative of the decisions that you have or have not made throughout your life – whether you like it or not. Own this responsibility and embrace it. The thought of change is overwhelming and seemingly impossible at times. But the reality of the matter is that you have 35,000 chances each and every day to make it happen. You are in control.
David Suzuki, president of Bio-Therapeutic, Inc, has been an active licensed member of the esthetics industry for more than 18 years. He is an authority on technology and regulatory issues, including FDA submission and acquisition. Suzuki serves as an advisor to institutions and state boards, writes for numerous industry publications and journals and conducts educational seminars and classes. E-mail him at HYPERLINK “mailto:email@example.com”firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bio-therapeutic.com.