Decision making is a process we all go through every day. We make small decisions such as what I am having for breakfast to big decisions like where I am going to college, what job or career do I want. So how do you go about making your decisions? Is it a consistent process or a haphazard process?
First, remember that is OK to make a wrong decision. Knowing this can free you to make decisions that you have been delaying. Nobody is perfect, wrong decisions are a part of life.
Second, no decision is a decision. When you don’t make a decision, life – or business – will make it for you. And it normally is the decision that needs to be made. Sometimes we get into a “paralysis by analysis mode” and want to know and analyze every facet of the challenge before making a decision. There are times you can’t get all the information and have to make a decision.
So, now lets look at how not to a make a decision.
- Don’t make decisions based on feelings. Your feelings change all the time. Decisions based on instinct – with enough knowledge to support your instinct – is fine, but never base decisions on feelings. You may totally love that new car, purse or opportunity now, but the payments or cost could be beyond your means. When big decisions need to be made, check your emotions at the door.
- The “paralysis by analysis mode”. Don’t wait for all the information, because usually it never comes. Learn as much as can, then make a decision.
- Needing to have your decisions validated by others. Your decisions should be unique to you, so don’t worry about what others think.
- The last thing that ruins your decisions is not learning from past mistakes. If – when – we make mistakes they are only mistakes if we don’t learn from them. When we learn from our mistakes, we realize what we did wrong and stop making the same decisions.
Now we know how not to make decisions, lets look at how to make a decision.
- Be informed. Get all the information you can.
- Get advice from someone trusted. A mentor, a friend that has been there can be a source of information to tap.
- Verify the decision is inline with your values and your vision for your life. If you make a decision that is not in line with your values, your vision, you create your own stress.
- Is the decision right versus being expedient? Making the right decision prevents having to go back and do the same thing over.
- If it is a big decision, draw a T on a sheet paper. On the left side, write the pro’s of the decision. On the right side, write the cons of the decision. Then weigh the two.
- Be consistent. This is especially important for leaders. Your decisions need to be consistent day to day. That way people will know what to expect from you.
As I said earlier, we make decisions every day. Lets make sure we are making the best decisions we can.
Please feel free to add your comments or let me know what you think.