As a leader, you’re faced with all kinds of decisions, many of them far-reaching choices that could change the course of your operation and your business. The art of making the right decision does not come overnight. And although many managers pride themselves on making decisions easily, some find themselves grappling with the “What if?” that plagues the less decisive. Even “good decision-makers” can get stuck on a particular problem. Maybe it’s to do with which leader to hire, the right software to choose or when to spin up a new program. All of these things will have consequences later on (good and bad) that can seem overwhelming in the moment. Find out how to make the best decision within your timeframe without sacrificing your sanity.
What to Consider
The first question to ask is, “What are the facts in this situation?”. At one point in your life, you might have made a rudimentary pros and cons list (think back to your teenage years if necessary). It sounds quite ridiculous now, but the concept of writing out the possible outcomes, opportunities and upsides to your choice is not a bad way to organize your thoughts. It’s similar to a SWOT analysis and can be helpful. Begin by recording the who, what, where and why. Find out what you know and let that lay a foundation for the next part of your decision – your intuition.
Ever heard the phrase, “Go with your gut?”. There’s a reason that this concept is as famous as the Golden Rule, and that’s because it’s good advice. When something doesn’t feel right, it oftentimes isn’t. Perhaps there’s just something about that person, project or vendor that you can’t put your finger on, but it strikes you as off. Consider these thoughts and trust them enough to dive deeper. In many cases, your intuition comes from a combination of what you’ve observed in the past and the values you hold, so take the time to find out why it’s giving you pause.
Wait, isn’t that the same as the facts? Kind of. It takes your original factual observations one step further and applies quantitative figures to them. This is especially helpful when you’re facing a difficult decision where two options are neck-and-neck. For example, if you can’t decide which new software to implement, you could go around about what you think will be best and the pros and cons, but the cost, customer ratings and time-to-launch can be helpful to push one toward the winning position.
The Process – Making the Right Decision
A structured decision making process is essential to overcoming decision-making difficulties. Having a plan ahead of time will reduce more complicated decisions down to simpler steps; show how decisions are derived and plan decision making to meet deadlines. Many different techniques of decision making have been developed, ranging from simple rules of thumb to extremely complex procedures. The method you use will depend on the nature of the decision to be made and how complex it is.
When creating your own rules for decision-making go back to your intuition and reasoning. What makes you tick? What outcomes are important to you? When making decisions for your organization, likewise consult your foundation. What is your corporate culture? How will this affect your team both positively and negatively? Once you have gained an understanding of your foundation, decisions become much easier to make daily.
In the end, getting past indecision comes down to choosing with your best intentions. Not all decisions are going to be exactly right. In fact, you could choose something that seems perfect, but end up with poor outcomes later on. So, choose with confidence. You’re the leader, after all.