In a day, the average person easily makes more than a hundred decisions. It can range from the most simple (e.g., what to eat for lunch or what movie to watch after work) to complex ones like deciding which employee to promote in your company. People, especially those who are tasked to make important decisions for a group of people, should be able to make wise and educated decisions. This article relates ways to hone your decision making skills.
List Your Fears, Decision Making Style and Other Influential Factors
Our decisions are usually influenced by a number of factors such as reasons, ethics, emotions, biases and even memories. The worst thing a person can do is NOT make a decision at all because of nagging fears. Maybe you tend to overthink and get stuck because of lack of information or you’re unsure because you are thinking about what your colleagues or family will say. To quote Dale Carnegie, “If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” In this case, list down your fears and how you usually handle decision making. Ask yourself questions like:
- Do I have a step by step plan?
- Does my fear prevent me from thinking about worst case scenarios?
- Even though I am given ample time to think things over, do I pressure myself in coming up with a decision fast?
- Do I rely on others to make the decision for me and allow them to influence my decisions most of the time?
- Am I making the decision for the sake of recognition?
- Do I allow myself to come up with resolutions based on strong feelings or biases?
Be honest while answering the questions. As you go through each question, you will also gain insight on how you handle difficult situations and what goes through your mind during those crucial moments.
Follow a Systematic Process
A skilled decision maker not only makes quick and effective decisions, but follows principles that allow him to consider possibilities and options for smarter resolutions. To achieve that, consider the fundamentals listed below:
- Identify – You may have two or three urgent decisions to make right now. However, you need to focus on your goal and identify which one needs a resolution ASAP.
- Gather information – Do you need to research about it? Then, go ahead, by all means. Talk to colleagues, read books and check relevant websites.
- Consider options – Explore other possibilities and if the need calls for it, brainstorm with other people.
- Weigh the pros and cons – Think about costs, disadvantages and advantages and consequences.
- Choose – Which plan will work best? Weigh your decision and make sure it’s in line with your goal.
- Review your decision – Are you certain that you have made the best choice? Explore scenarios or try eliminating other options. If you still feel that it’s the best decision, it probably is.
There’s no short cut or an easy formula when it comes to good decision making. You might have made wrong decisions before, but experience will teach us to learn from those mistakes.
Polish Your Decision Making Skills
We all make mistakes and in the worst cases, wrong decisions can have lasting effects in our lives. Every person will get the opportunity to make a life changing decision and because of that, we need tools and methods to help us with those important decisions. Managers, for example, need to make decisions that involve several techniques and analyses. To better equip them with making smarter decisions, they enroll in a decision making course that immerses them in real life scenarios, helping them analyse the best way to tackle a situation and building their confidence. Some of the skills you can improve during decision making training are considering others before deciding and using evidence based decisions as opposed to decisions based on emotions.
The principles mentioned in this article can help you make the right choice. There’s no perfect approach since every situation is different. But if you let your fears get to you, that’s when you ultimately fail. Remember that there’s a difference between overthinking and analysing carefully. Procrastinating decision making can only lead to bitter disappointments and missed opportunities.