First things first! This is not a decision making process tool that I am about to share with you. It is also not a fail-safe decision-making tool either. However, I think if you are interested in the soft skills that are needed to make great decisions, then you might want to read this till the end!
Our lives and experiences are a composite of decisions that we make every second, every minute of our lives. From the time you wake up and decide to get out of bed, to choosing your breakfast, the outfit for work, how and the route you take to work, and let alone the numerous other personal and work-related decisions we make every day.
Several years back, very early in my leadership journey, my line manager once stormed into my office complaining that I had hardly touched the budgeted marketing costs for my business unit.
At that time, I was busy gathering information, speaking to different vendors, getting quotes, rationalizing the strategy over and over again……..
In hindsight, I think I had “analysis paralysis” 😬.
I am predominantly analytical so I have the tendency to rationalize more instead of going with gut. So it took me time to make decisions because I wanted to make the best “perfect” decision and was afraid of failing.
Over time I have come to realize the following, which if adhered to can potentially make your decision making rock. This applies whether you are making a personal or business decision.
1. Bad decision made is better than endless hesitation or no decision made
When you make a bad decision, what is the worst that can happen? Well, you might say it will be a waste of resources but I no longer see it that way. If Thomas Edison had seen his 10,000 “fails” in inventing the Tungsten Filament Lamp as a waste of resources, he wouldn’t have been successful. He did say he only found 10,000 ways by which the lamp would not work.
In other words, when you make a decision that doesn’t succeed, you have simply discovered a way not to do it – You LEARN.
Innovation does not thrive in an atmosphere of hesitation or no decision making. It requires a healthy amount of risk-taking as well. An unsuccessful decision is, therefore, better than no decision at all. So make a decision even there are uncertainties.
2. Consider the complexity of the challenge
A personal decision about “what am I gonna eat next” or a business decision like “for how long do we meet for” does not require a MARKET RESEARCH, get it? On the other hand, a decision like “what is our go-to-market strategy” requires some insights generation.
For example, to develop a go-to-market strategy, you need to do some environmental scanning (macroeconomics and microeconomics), insights generation, etc., in order to come down to your SWOT. From here you develop your strategies, etc.
What this means is that the more complex your challenge is, (personal or business) the more decision making requires the generation of insights in order to increase the chances of success.
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3. A crooked house is the product of building to everyone’s advice
Making a decision requires consideration of different courses of action before you make the final decision. This gives you the opportunity to evaluate the pros and cons of each decision before narrowing it down.
You are more likely to come up with good decisions if you have the opportunity to consult other people or your team members when it is about business decision making. We all see things differently and the diversity of thoughts and experiences gives an amazing template for good decision making.
Having said that, do not build your decision on everyone’s advice. Do not try to please everyone such that you are trying to incorporate all ideas and recommendations. The end product is usually poor decision making or you get yourself into a state of inertia because you want an alloy of all ideas.
So, consider the diverse opinions and ideas but make a decision.
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We make decisions every day about our lives and business hoping that we are making the right ones that will lead us to success. I have shared with you snippets of my humble experience regarding decision making that can reduce the chances of failure. And if you fail, remember it is part of the process as long as you learn from it.
Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.