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December 20, 2017 | by Steve Lawrence

Clarity, Confidence and Credibility

Step up your decision-making game

Whatever rung you occupy at work, Paul Paese is going to show you how to make better decisions, inspire more confidence, and increase your credibility. Paese is just one of the new brand of more useful, industry-focused MSCI conference speakers you’ll hear in this coming year. An expert in coaching and leadership dynamics, adjunct professor at Olin School of Business at Washington University, he is a keynote speaker at the 2018 MSCI Carbon Conference, February 20–21 at the elegant Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona. He is also a featured speaker at MSCI’s Strategic Metals Management program at Washington University's Olin School of Business in St. Louis.

“I would like us all to better understand how we make decisions and draw conclusions about the people around us,” he said in a pre-conference interview. “We all need to get in the habit of realizing how we move from observation—how a colleague is behaving, for instance—to conclusions, that is deciding what that behavior or talk really means.

“I might be giving a talk and notice that one guy in the room has rolled his eyes at something I said,” Paese explained. “And I jump to the conclusion that he disagrees or thinks what I am saying is foolish or out of line. But when I call him on it, I learn instead that he agrees completely and was just remembering a similar incident from his own experience.

“We need to constantly keep evaluating the facts we use every day to make often snap judgments about situations and people,” he said. “It can be really helpful, in most every context, to slow down a little, examine how and why we are drawing conclusions and make the effort to find out what is really going on.

“Managers particularly are prone to this sort of thing. They are paid to make accurate decisions quickly. But all too often they may rely on how things look on the surface and fail to examine facts or situations that may prove otherwise.”

Paese uses a three rung ladder to illustrate this and to provide a tool that all of us can use to become better decision makers about most anything. The trick, he said, is to develop the analytical tools, an attitude toward dealing with people that helps you separate the factual from the preconception. “It takes practice to do this and no one is perfect,” Paese said. “But just like the reward of batting practice, if you can increase your average it can be well worth it.

“These concepts are extraordinarily easy to understand, but what’s hard is rewiring our habits,” he said. “But the payoff is you earn more credibility, inspire more confidence and in fact make far better decisions.”

Learn more about MSCI's 2018 Carbon Conference program.

Discover MSCI's Strategic Metals Management executive education program.