Steps to Making Better Decisions
The average person makes thousands of decisions each day, and most of them have little lasting impact – like what should I have for lunch today? At times, some of those decisions can be difficult – like should I quit my job? Or how do I communicate negative issues to an employee who is underperforming? These more difficult or challenging decisions made by leaders can determine whether an organization ultimately succeeds or fails. They require a deeper level of thought.
Making good decisions is not something we are born with. It’s a process that must be learned. Most adults know that experience can be a costly, ineffective teacher that breeds more bad habits than good; and because decisions can vary so obviously from one situation to the next, the experience gained from making one important decision is oftentimes of little or no use when another decision arises.
So, while there ARE many steps that can be taken when making a decision, there are really only 5 GOOD steps that should be considered:
Step 1: Identify Your Goal
One of the most effective decision-making strategies is to keep an eye on your goal – that is, if you have one! What you need to do is identify the purpose of your decision by asking yourself: “What is the problem that needs to be solved? And why does this problem need to be solved?”
Figuring out what's most important to you will help you make good decisions. When you know the reason WHY you have to make a decision; it will better serve you in sticking with it.
Step 2: Gather Information
Good decisions require having solid information that is directly related to the problem. When you have reliable information you will better understand what needs to be done and will also help to generate ideas for a possible solution.
I suggest making a list of every possible alternative; even ones that may sound silly or seem unrealistic. Seek the opinions of people that you trust or speak to experts and professionals as they have their own set of solutions. You will want to gather as many resources as possible in order to make the best decision.
Decision-making also involves insight (those gut feelings) to effectively cut through all the noise – recognizing the “crux of the matter” and making good strategic and tactical decisions.
Step 3: Consider the Consequences
This step can be just as important as step one because it will help you determine how your final decision will impact yourself and/or others. How will it affect you now? And how will it affect your future? How will others respond to your decision?
Many people forget this step, especially how your decision affects others.
Step 4: Now Make Your Decision!
Now that you have identified your goal, gathered all necessary information, and weighed the consequences, it is time to make a choice and actually execute your final decision! This step causes a TON of anxiety in most people because you have to just go for it.
Now, don’t go for it if you really don’t feel good about it and others say the same, but if most people you’ve spoken with agree similarly, you need to take action. Action builds confidence! I like to say when your heart, brain, and gut tell you that you’ve got about 80 percent of the data collected..…make a decision.
Step 5: Evaluate Your Decision
Once you have made your final decision and begin to put it into action, you need to evaluate the steps taken to ensure it works! This final step is probably just as important as step one, if not more important, because it will help you to further develop your decision-making skills for future problems. This step is also fundamental because it may require you to seek out new information and make some changes along the way.
Remember, this step is going to require patience and perseverance. Why? Because it may take some time to see the final outcome. Just like watering seeds, you have to have a plan, take daily action, and be patient….the flowers will come!
In the end, the best decisions involve a mix of knowledge, intuition, and a willingness to take a bit of risk—some of which has to be developed over time through experience. But don’t give up –keep at it! Better decisions are within your grasp.
Vennessa is an executive career and business coach helping leaders leverage their innate strengths to increase their impact, while overcoming burnout. Read more from Vennessa at vennessaMcConkey.com
Steps to Making Better Decisions
July 16, 2020