Brandman News

‘Persuadable’ author shares his secrets on decision-making

September 30, 2016
Al Pittampalli

Author Al Pittampalli spoke Tuesday at Brandman University’s Irvine campus as part of a School of Extended Education-sponsored program.

Author Al Pittampalli talked about leadership and decision-making at an event co-sponsored by Brandman University’s School of Extended Education.

Brandman, Behind The Brand and Entrepreneur Magazine teamed up to bring the author of “Persuadable” and “Read This Before Our Next Meeting” to Brandman University’s Irvine campus for a one-evening seminar. A video of the entire talk and question-and-answer period can be found on Facebook or in the embedded video at the end of this post.

Pittampalli said decision-making causes two types of anxiety. One cause is the need for accuracy. He used the example of the classic movie scenes where a bomb squad member faces cutting the red or green wire to keep the bomb (and the city) from exploding. He compared the other type of anxiety to nagging dread that comes with procrastination. “Stalled decisions are the traffic jams of our lives. When we don’t make a decision on time, the action doesn’t happen and thousands of more things are stalled,” he said.

The dilemma comes in making the trade-off between the need for accuracy and the need for timeliness, he told the enthusiastic crowd. He reminded them to think of Pareto’s Principle from economics or the 80-20 rule where 20 percent of what’s invested accounts for 80 percent of the return.

“Twenty percent of our decisions lead to 80 percent of the results,” he said. “All the decisions over the last year, even though some felt so important, really only 20 percent made a big difference. We need to spend a majority of time on those decisions.”

He urged the audience to “slow down for the major decisions and speed up for the minor” and provided a variety of examples, from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s daily uniform of a gray T-shirt to life management guru David Allen’s assertion that if a task can be done in two minutes, just do it and get it out-of-the-way.

His final point harked back to his most recent book, “Persuadable.”

“We look for decisiveness, the leader who stays the course. But being persuadable is the real competitive advantage. If you only go to people to validate what you think, you’re making a big mistake. You need to seek out people who tell you what you don’t want to hear,” he said.

There are no guarantees that every decision is the right one, he reminded the audience. “There’s really no such thing as a good decision, just good decision-makers.”

For more about Al Pittampalli, go to

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