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A Field Guide to Good Decisions


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"Sifting through choices. Clarifying values. Exploring different perspectives. This fine book set me wondering about roads not taken in my life. It provides enormous insights into how to make personal and professional decisions with integrity and clarity." -- Victor La Cerva, M.D., Medical Director of the Family Health Bureau, New Mexico Department of Health and author of Worldwords, and Pathways to Peace. "Who among us has not longed for guidance when facing values bumps and crunches? How many of us still seek answers to our dilemmas of How do I know when...? or, How do I know if...? At a time in our history when the word values has been widely trivialized, here is a thoughtful, clear, and coherent call to reclaim our personal integrity through an improved set of decision-making skills. Bennett and Gibson are clear-thinking guides able to move us forward in shaping decisions founded on known values, trust, and integrity. This remarkable book is a must read for anyone living in families, organizations, and work places! This is a work of hope!" -- Marilyn J. Mason, Psychologist and author of Igniting the Spirit at Work, and 12 Step Wisdom at Work: Transforming Your Life and Your Organization "Years of hands-on experience inform this book. It is immersed in wisdom and rich in practical, workable tools. Buy this book to nourish your own soul and that of others." -- Martin Rutte, Co-author Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work "This is a thoughtful, powerful, and wonderfully insightful book written by people who clearly have wrestled with difficult real-world decisions in a variety of contexts and have come away with deep wisdom and great questions that lead us into moral, ethical, and genuinely values-driven decision making." -- Tom Daly, Co-Creator of the Art of Leadership Training Program, Author of 4 Gateways Coaching: Evoking Soul Wisdom

Table of Contents

Preface Introduction: The Territory The Road to a Good Decision Clarify Perspective Comprehend What Matters Commit to What Matters Most Choose to Act Communicate Transparently Difficult Times Avoid Mental and Emotional Detours Bridge the Cultural Divide Navigate in Organizations Reach Your Destination: Lean into the Light Appendix: Worksheets and Exercises References and Sources for Quotations Bibliography Index

About the Author

Mark D. Bennett, Principal of Decision Resources, Inc., is a lawyer, mediator, trainer, and consultant, specializing in conflict resolution and decision making for federal agencies, state and local governments, community non-profit groups, and corporations. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he teaches courses in general and family mediation. He is the author of several articles on negotiation and mediation, and the book, The Art of Mediation.Joan McIver Gibson is a philosopher and consultant in applied ethics, bioethics, and decision making, with over thirty years of teaching, training, and administrative work in the public, private, health care, education, research, and non-profit/community sectors. In 2003, she retired as Director of the University of New Mexico Science Ethics Program, and for twenty years she chaired a hospital ethics committee in Albuquerque. She is the author of several articles and book chapters on ethics, management, and decision making, and co-author of Health Care Ethics Committees: The Next Generation.


"A guide to good decisions that focuses on the values underlying the process of decisionmaking therefore has the potential to be an invaluable resource for healthcare professionals. A Field Guide to Good Decisions: Values in Action meets these expectations and goes beyond, offering readers a clear and structured process that they can employ not only as professionals, but also in other aspects of their lives....This book takes the reader step by step through a simple, yet challenging process, clarifying the values that underlie decisionmaking, providing guidance and tips that finally lead to a coherent and effective decision. This process can be applied around patients' beds as well as family kitchen tables or corporate bedrooms....[t]his book provides helpful guidance and conceptual clarity that makes it a useful tool and an invaluable resource to anyone confronting difficult decisions." - CQ Review
"This guide has its roots in Gibson's attendance at one of Bennett's mediation training sessions, where she sought ways to improve her bioethics consultations. Unlike advice about decision-making that emphasize theory and corporate applications, they provide practical guidance for everyday settings focusing on transferable skills, guiding values, and bridging cultural differences. The book includes worksheets and exercises to facilitate values clarification and other decision-making steps, and an annotated bibliography." - Reference & Research Book News
"[P]rovides readers with the skills to make decisions that reflect their core values while respecting the values of others and accounting for the long-term implications for all participants. It also offers practical tools and techniques for identifying individual and common goals, reaching consensus and effectively communicating the results. Readers are advised how to overcome common obstacles to good decision-making, including psychological, cultural and organizational challenges, and become comfortable and skilled at making choices. Real-life illustrations are provided." - District Administration

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