Raising the quality of your choices

Top tips for decision making

Why are decisions often scary? Because decisions lead to action and action means change. Change is often a step into the unknown. While we can never be 100% sure we are making the right decision, there are steps we can take to ensure that we are making the best decision we can.

Don’t panic buy (or choose!)

We’ve all agreed to attend a social occasion and then instantly regretted the decision, or impulse bought a flashy new gadget or pair of shoes that we’ve never used or worn. While making snap decisions isn’t always a bad thing, you don’t want to make major life or business decision on a whim.

Play devil’s advocate

Plan ahead. Weigh up the risks. What if everything that can go wrong does go wrong? What if you discover you’ve made the wrong decision? Think about what you will do if will you do suddenly lose a major client. Have a back-up plan. Keep a risk log. For some people, there is peace of mind in knowing the worst that can happen, and the likelihood of it happening.

Take the long view

How will the decision you make now affect future events and decisions? How will it unfold over the coming days/weeks/months?

Prioritise your priorities!

If something’s gone wrong on a project and it becomes difficult to meet a customer’s deadline, your instinct may be to do everything you can to get the project back on track without worrying the customer. But would it actually be better to be open with the client and work towards a solution together? What is the most important factor? Maintaining a positive cash flow, your company’s reputation for delivering on time, transparency with the client, and your staff’s current workload may all be factored into your decision making, but which aspect is most important to you? This needs to be given more weight than the others.

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time! Break a big decision down into smaller, more manageable ones. Even if you are planning on making the final decision yourself, some smaller determinations could be delegated or made collectively.

Start with your end goal

 “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Caroll

If your end goal is increased employee productivity, setting departmental targets might not be the best way to achieve this. Start with where you want to be and work backwards. Are your employees engaged? Are they committed to what the company is trying to achieve? If not, why not? And how can you improve this? As we may have highlighted a few times before, employee engagement is crucial to productivity. Don’t let you focus on your final destination stop you from reaching it.

Be creative

Think outside the box….There’s more than one way to skin a cat…..Nothing ventured, nothing gained….

“As you yourself have said, what other explanation can there be?” Poirot stared straight ahead of him. “That is what I ask myself,” he said. “That is what I never cease to ask myself.”

Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express

Other articles in this series on decision making can be found here.

Performance – Workplace Development offers:

  • Workshops to help raise you team’s self-awareness and identify why they may find some decisions more difficult than others.
  • A Problem Solving and Decision Making course

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