10 steps to making really good decisions
In an earlier post, I started talking about decision-making; good and bad. In his book the Motivated Mind, Raj Persaud recommends ten steps to making better decisions:
- Make sure you haven’t decided already. Give yourself a chance to consider all the alternatives and resist impulse.
- Gather as much information as possible before deciding. Invest in finding information about the situation and options as this is time and money well spent to minimise risk.
- Imagine the consequences of your decision. Consider not just the short term implications of your decision but the long term too. Persaud recommends projecting yourself into the future and looking back to the present and imagine what advice you would be giving yourself? If you take this set of decisions what does it stop or limit you doing? What doors are you opening and which are you shutting?
- Think about poor decisions you have made in the past. What can you notice about any themes, vulnerabilities, weak spots? What can you learn to avoid repetition? There maybe some sense of discomfort but facing up to our poor decisions through learning and becoming wiser encourages progress and lessens any sense of failure.
- Consider all the possible alternatives. As mentioned earlier use your ‘creative, ideas’ side of your brain. Write a long list of options.
- Pay particular notice to the worst case scenario. Having identified such options be clear about the risks and consider whether you are prepared to sacrifice x for y.
- Seek guidance and support. Talking decisions through can help clarify your thoughts. It can also show up personal prejudices, things taken for granted which may actually be quite unhelpful.
- Observe good decision-makers in action. Who are the role models you can learn from? What do they take into account that perhaps you are neglecting?
- Sometimes simply waiting is a good decision. Making a decision at the right time and avoiding procrastination demands good organisation. If you feel you want to wait and to reflect and then make your decision, don’t forget – make sure you have a memory aid!
- Don’t get so obsessed with always making the right decision, that you put off making decisions at all. Errors are inevitable, none of us are perfect. Review what works regularly and what isn’t so good and change and fine tune to make improvements.
Involving staff in good decisions
Dame Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, recommends using creative ideas to involve staff to make the best decisions. She used to get her team to write messages on the lavatory walls to say:’ Is this a family- friendly company?’ people were always allowed to write anonymously and the board had to respond at the same time. Roddick describes this as opening up your world and letting the ideas flow. During times of organisational change it definitely pays to balance the needs of the business with the needs of the people by taking a little longer to listen and involve the team to make better decisions.
If you do make a poor decision in your work how do you recover the situation?
If you are asked by your boss or a key customer into their office for a chat about a balls-up what can you do other than the usual defend yourself and blame others? The emotionally intelligent answer is to search for agreement with your boss/customer. Pepper your responses with agreements. Accept what went wrong and that it shouldn’t happen again. Agree also, that something needs to be done to avoid a repetition. These responses will make your boss/customer feel they are being listened to.
So good decisions involve the heart and head, both left side for the logic and the right side for the creativity. Intuition is a skill to develop too. Take time and take a calculated risk.
It’s not about never ever making any wild decisions as life then will be very dull! Tweet