3 Simple Tips for Efficient Decision-making
Decision-making has been a necessary part of my role for many years, both in running my own businesses and in my consulting work, where I’ve helped many other leaders to make important decisions about their own businesses.
Does that make me a good decision-maker? I’d like to think so, but I’m also aware that there is always room for improvement.
Have I ever struggled with decision-making, made a bad one, or procrastinated in the false hope that an issue would just go away?
Yes, more than a few times if I’m honest, and so will you, both in your professional and personal life.
Make Better Business and Personal Decisions: 3 Tips to Help You
In fact I’m sure you’re already experienced in the trials and tribulations of decision-making, as most of us are. However, it’s always possible to improve your approach to making decisions, if you wish to. Anyone can benefit from the tips I’m about to share, but they are especially relevant if you’re in a business leadership role, or you plan to be.
The following three suggestions come courtesy of my own experience, mistakes, and successes in decision-making, along with those of my business colleagues and peers.
They are focused on business decisions, which really require an efficient balance between speed and thorough calculation, but of course you can apply them to personal decisions too, especially those which appear daunting to make.
1) Don’t Be Afraid to Leap
If you wait for every last piece of information that will support your decision, you’ll wait forever … or at least for far longer than is acceptable.
If you are always afraid of making the wrong decision because you lack information, you’ll hold up the progress of your business. Even the best decision-makers take the wrong path sometimes, and that’s OK. If you gather as much information as you reasonably can, it will be sufficient in most cases.
2) Tune Out Just Before the Decision
If you have a tough decision to make (and you’re lacking information), make a point of putting the issue out of your mind for a while, perhaps by sleeping on it or focusing on something completely different.
This gives your brain a chance to process the problem subconsciously for a time (and it will do so), perhaps allowing you to recall information you didn’t realise you had. It’s surprising how often insight will dawn when you just switch off.
3) Evaluate the Risks and Rewards
When information is incomplete, there are two tools you can fall back on to make good decisions. One is your gut instinct, which should never be discounted. Which solution feels right?
The other tool is your ability to evaluate. Compensate for missing information by evaluating the risks associated with each potential decision outcome.
Then do the same for the possible rewards. Usually you will find that one path has the odds stacked more in your favour than the other/s. In the absence of all the information you’d like to have, this is the path to take … go ahead and make the leap.
The Elusive Perfect Decision
You might have noticed a theme running through these three tips. As mentioned, they are aimed at efficient decision-making, not the pursuit of perfection. A lot of the time, we become fixated on making the perfect decision—the one which is sure to deliver the exact right outcome.
Trust me; perfection in decision-making is more a product of luck than judgement.
Tough decisions, especially in business, present themselves so often that perfection is a luxury few of us can afford. The best thing to do is be efficient in the decision-making process, and be prepared to adjust and to learn from the mistakes you will inevitably make.
Group Managing Director
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