Your corporate legacy depends upon your ability to make strong, effective, and timely decisions which will help your company thrive in any market. The sad fact, however, is that everyone makes mistakes and it can only take one shocker – after years of good decisions – to bring your ivory tower crashing down.
Here’s how to improve your choices at work:
1. If it’s not broken:
Don’t fix it. Effective decision-making is a skill anyone can learn. Examine how you usually make decisions and then look at your track record. If you have a horrendous history, obviously you need to start doing things differently. If not – your decision-making process may only need a few tweaks.
Try to clear your mind of all the ambient noise because stress and distraction will only hinder your ability to think clearly. Then ask yourself why this decision needs to be made, its strategic importance, and what will happen if it’s ignored?
3. Evaluate your options:
Once you’ve established the importance of your decision, make sure you also have a clear grasp of all the alternate scenarios available – there’s always more than one way to skin a cat.
4. Head vs gut:
A good start is to run the scenarios through your head looking for flaws. While studies show your initial instincts are usually right, the gut can be very biased based on past decisions. So, where possible, back up your instinct with comprehensive research to allow a truly informed decision.
5. Where are you getting your information?
There’s a big difference between facts and opinion, so don’t fall into the trap of confusing the two. Where possible try to only use information which has been thoroughly tested and validated from more than one reliable source. If that’s not possible, consider where the information came from. Is it solid, biased, or risky?
6. Pros and cons of your decisions:
Ask yourself: “Do the risks outweigh the rewards and what’s the benefit analysis of all the alternatives?” Only when you’ve considered all sides of the equation can you make an informed decision.
Another good test is to consider how you would feel about your decision if it was blasted across social media or on the front page of the paper? How would your family and friends take it?
8. Devil’s advocate:
Still in doubt? Call in a few trusted and knowledgeable advisors who aren’t afraid to question your judgement and test your reasoning. Try to keep the numbers to a minimum, because too many opinions will only cause more confusion.
9. Just do it:
Agonising about it won’t make your decision any better. Nor will sticking your head in the stand make it go away. Once you have completed the above steps – make the decision and move on. Don’t get bogged down in the paralysis-by-analysis trap.
10. Cover your bases:
Smart operators ALWAYS have a Plan B ready to roll out in case things don’t go to plan.
Make better decisions at work with these tips:
- Never confuse facts with opinion
- A combination of intuition backed up by verified research works best
- Evaluate the pros and cons of all your options
- Call on people who aren’t afraid to question your judgement or logic
- Always have an alternate backup plan