My daughter, Jada, was two when she developed her point of view. She has a knack for looking good in her own unique way. I could never pull off her choices of outfits. Her warm chocolate skin and dark curly hair give her an unending array of color choices, and she knows it.

She started with layering clothes, not just jackets, but skirts on top of leggings and matching socks accordingly. Next came shoes. By the time she turned three, she had created her own version of “Little Miss Matched" with mismatched shoes—each pair of which matched in Jada’s signature way. Every day she would wear mismatched shoes as if they had come in the box that way.

The day she wore her favorite outfit (with mismatched shoes) to her school photos, the photographer posted her full-length picture on the website that same day, further confirming her blossoming sense of style. She has a gift of fashion now confirmed by photographers... at the age of three.

Like Jada, we all have unique styles. These styles drive not only what we wear but also our approach to solving problems. What is your style? I don't mean the way you dress, I'm thinking deeper. Specifically, what style drives your choices? Every day, we are confronted with decisions that determine who we will become and what we will be known for in culture.

Most decisions simply come down to two simple words: yes or no. But what are the drivers and how do you make choices?

For the last three years, I have been working closely with more than 100 social entrepreneurs walking through moments of tension and transition through personal and business decisions. Through this mentoring, a few styles emerged as the natural paths by which most people make decisions. This focused group of leaders has been the driving research in what we have defined as the seven decision-making styles.

Read each of the descriptions below, then take our free five-minute assessment to confirm your assumption. You will learn more about yourself and those around you. You may begin to see your team members, coworkers, children, partners or spouse in a new light and appreciate the unique contributions they can bring to your path. 

1. Collective Reasoning: 
They naturally gather a group of opinions before making any decision. Group consensus and buy-in from everyone affected guide each step forward.

2. Data Driven
: They formulate decisions based on hard data, especially numbers. They take time to research, organize and consider before moving forward.

3. Gut Reaction: 
These decisions-makers rely on feelings to make quick decisions. They don't mind taking risks and move confidently forward through life.

4. List Approach: 
They only move forward after methodically considering the pros and cons of any decision. Their researched lists give them confidence and a pre-planned path for the future.

5. Spiritually Guided: 
They make decisions by staying close to God and listening carefully for a clear voice of direction. Prayer, solitude and retreat are their key methods of deciding.

6. Story Living: 
They make decisions based on the story they will get to tell afterwards. They want to go new places, try impossible things, and tell the world.

7. Passive Undecided: 
They are happy to move forward with almost any decision as long as they do not have to decide. They avoid conflict and decide by following others.



Yes or No

As you process your unique decision-making style, I recommend talking through it with friends or your team. Inviting other styles into your decision-making process will always make your choices better.

Take the assessment at www.yesornobook.com


Jeff Shinabarger, social entrepreneur and author of
Yes or No, and More or Less, has a vision to make Atlanta a center for social innovation. He is the co-founder of Q and creatively led Catalyst for eight years. Jeff and his wife, Andre, live in East Atlanta Village and have two children.