In this post I focus on how to improve our decision making.
You may want to make some changes in your professional life or business. Critical thinking, seasoned decision-making and judgement are key attributes for any professional. As is tuning into your intuition to make decisions feel right. Can you improve how you do this?
Yes, you can!
Please read on for some ideas to support and inspire you.
If you are considering making demanding decisions in the year ahead, how do you make sure you are making the right decisions?
- Have you ever made poor decisions?
- Lost out on something big?
- Messed it up?
We all have and hindsight is a wonderful thing but unless you can travel back in time you don’t often get a second chance! Do any of these examples of poor decisions listed below, sound like you:
- Resigning from your job or quitting on a contract on impulse with no other job to go to?
- Not spotting things because you haven’t thought through the situation from all angles?
- Getting angry about an issue and upsetting people with whom you need a long term professional relationship?
- Not acting but procrastinating instead, putting off tasks for another day?
- Worrying, becoming stressed out and making a decision when you are exhausted?
- Taking on too much and producing mediocre results?
- Doing what you always do and expecting a different result?
- Sitting on the fence unable to make decision one way or the other and frustrating those who work with you? Making a recent decision which just didn’t feel right and with hindsight you should have listened to that feeling?
What is really good decision making?
Decision making involves making a choice from a range of different options. Sometimes there is so much choice that we feel overwhelmed. It can be complex and incredibly difficult to feel you are making the right choice but there are some helpful ingredients to guide you.
Judgement: what is right or wrong? What is ethical, moral, or “green”? What boundaries are you adopting which support your beliefs and principles? Learning from Enron springs to mind here.
Values: what drivers and motivators can guide you to feel you are making a decision that will inspire you? Will the decision move you towards your goals and away from problems?
Intuition: What is your inner wisdom or gut telling you? Can you answer a definite “yes” to this? If not, listen to what your instinct is telling you.
‘Creative silence’ is a technique where you take 10 to 20 minutes each day when you have quiet time to sit and let the brain make connections without a forced agenda. This helps you make use of your intuition and solve problems as it mimics meditation by going into the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is very smart and looks for mismatches and solutions. Consider whether there any decisions you made recently with your logical hat on but keep coming back to? There may be a mismatch with your values or principles which you are working through.
Reflection: Give yourself time to make an important decision. This is the only time procrastination is helpful when you sleep on something to get some more perspective. Perspective is extremely important in making robust decisions. Having an external frame of reference if you run your own business is vital. If you work in the corporate world make use of colleagues to test out ideas.
Experience: What is your past telling you? What have you learned that works well?
Creativity: What are all the different options available to you? If you believe you are not very creative use a technique to help structure your thinking e.g. a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. If you’re not very high on original thought and work better on building on someone else’s ideas – find that someone! A good website for developing creative solutions to the problems you face is www.mindtools.com. Or more simply, think about the benefits and the costs of your decisions. Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
Logic: What are the natural steps to take and in what order? What is the end result you desire and what are the steps to achieve that? Help: Asking for help from others who have been in this situation before or have expertise in this area is a real sign of strength.
Stakeholders: Who is potentially involved in this decision and has a view? What will be the likely impact if you don’t involve them? Tap into your emotional intelligence and be aware! Another way to look at this is to simply think about what would the customer want or the end-user? How does the decision impact them?
Priorities: If you only worked on one thing – what would it be? What decisions can move this forward?
In my next post, I will look at 10 ways to make really good decisions. In the meantime, if you want some coaching on your decision-making, get in touch!