Being a good decision-maker takes time and experience. It need not pressure you into making the right decision every time as “right” is subjective. Good decision makers are those who make well-informed decisions and are ready to face the outcome with a plan. Decision-making is a skill and can be learned by consistently following the tips given below:
1. Acknowledge the need to make a decision
This isn’t as obvious as it seems to be. While you may think it is just an absurd point, this is actually the most important step in forming good decisions. You may have often found yourself thinking, “This seems to be a little time consuming and I have other things to do. Let me not deal with this right now.” Well, you have already skipped the most important step. Instead of an attitude that says, “I rather not deal with this right now,” you must try thinking, “I have to make a decision regarding this right away. Other things can follow.” The next step is the actual decision-making process. For any reason if you really are not able to spend some time in making a good decision right then, identify and allow some time for it later in the day and mark it immediately on your calendar. Then, make sure you do it at the allotted time and compete it too.
2. Decide on actions
When you are in the process of thinking about the decision, decide on what action you should be taking next. The possible actions could be as simple as: think more or done? Having a conclusion at the end of the allotted time is important and will keep you motivated. The actions could be a long list or extremely short – making it is important.
3. Analyse the importance of the decision
You certainly cannot take half a day to decide which template should be used for the PowerPoint presentation that you are working on! It is very important to understand the importance of the decision that you are taking. Is it something that can impact your career in a significant manner? Or, is it something minor that may not even make any considerable difference in your work life? Small decisions should take minimal amount of time while major decisions can take longer. But remember, the longest any decision should take is the amount of time that would be needed to rectify the situation if the decision happened to be the wrong one. For example, if you take 3 days to make a decision about a project that would otherwise take you just one hour to fix; you have spent too long making the decision.
4. Know the decision’s outcomes
If you find yourself struggling during the decision making exercise, you are likely to be going through fears (usually unrealistic) like “what if” or “but may be”. Don’t let the what-if cycle get the better of you and concentrate on concrete possibilities. Make a list of actual outcomes and plan on how you will handle every outcome. When you make a list (either in your mind or paper) of all the real possibilities, it will help you curb your fears.
5. Make the decision
Once you have gone through the above exercise, it is time to make the decision. It is important to remember that nobody, including you, can make the right decision every single time! By following the previous steps, you are already doing the best thing possible with all the information that you have. With each decision that you take, you’re growing and becoming a better decision-maker.
Follow the tips given above and be a better decision-maker at your workplace. Climb the corporate ladder with your decision making ability and have a successful career.