Big or small, decisions can be a struggle to make the most of the time - from what to wear, what to have for lunch, and when to set the meeting up, to who to marry and how many children you want, if at all. And yes, you might often hear yourself saying, “Why is it so hard to make a decision?” Well, you’re not alone. People need to make decisions all the time, both trivial and life-changing decisions.
Unfortunately, some of us delay making a decision by getting advice from people or finding more information.
For others, tossing a coin might suffice. But, how can we make a decision, and what do we need to make a good one? Here are some things that prevent us from making sound and effective decisions.
VESTED INTEREST (STAKE):
It in itself is a cause for delay. However, it’s not easy to figure out because it’s not easily expressed. Explore it with someone outside the decision-making skills. Also, you can try to explore any of its intuitive or rational aspects with the stakeholders involved, but bring someone to facilitate (ideally not from the group).
LACK OF EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT:
When you don’t care, you cannot make a decision on the matter. What will help you to make a decision is to structure the pros and cons that you may not have thought about before? By using a structured decision-making process, you can see the ways that a decision was formed and reduce any other complicated decisions to simpler ones.
TOO MANY INVOLVED:
It can also be challenging to make a decision when there are too many people (too many heads), each with their own views and values. However, someone must take responsibility for making the final decision.
LACK OF INFORMATION:
It may feel like a decision was made out of nowhere. Because in order to make a good decision, you need to gather enough data even if time is not on your side. For better results, only prioritise the important info when making a decision.
Contrarily to a lack of information, too much information can also make you struggle. This is often referred to as ‘analysis paralysis’. In an organisation, it could cause a delay because someone involved demands for more details before making a decision.
DECISION-MAKING SKILLS YOU NEED
While making a decision is mentally and emotionally challenging, you can overcome it (and yourself). You have to apply any of the following skills to make effective choices. By improving them, you can identify the abilities and information you need.
- A decision-making process that provides steps and leads to an outcome, but avoids thinking errors and traps.
- An approach that needs identification and includes values (candid self-reflection, stakeholder analysis).
- Coping strategies to manage perception issues and emotion to increase objectivity in stressful decision-making situations.
- Leadership and self-discipline skills that inspire and motivate commitment and/or action towards the selected solution.
- Observation methods and data gathering for solution option evaluation.
- Creativity and discovery skills to generate any possible alternatives.
- Visualisation/imagination to envision any alternative solutions and future consequences.
- Aiding techniques for analysis and the evaluation of options.
- Analysis and logic to formulate inferences/ conclusions using relevant information and assumptions.
- Communication, collaboration, cooperative learning, active listening, and negotiation.
TIPS TO MAKE SMARTER DECISIONS
In addition to having the skills and abilities to formulate and come up with a decision, you can also make use of the following tips for smarter decision-making.
- UNDERSTAND WHAT PATTERN RECOGNITION IS: Some situations we come across and are cornered by from time to time are those we’ve already encountered. Recognise these similar patterns and think about past events and results. Use those to come up with a smart decision. Over time, you’ll improve the quality and speed of those decisions.
- IS THE DECISION REVERSIBLE? Between the two types of decisions – the reversible and irreversible – what kind do you need to make? If it is reversible, make the decision, implement it, and evaluate it. Later, you can change or reiterate if required. If you’re a leader, do it to speed up your organisation.
- STICK TO YOUR GOAL: You don’t have to spread your net too wide, but you need to think about the best move to succeed and accomplish your mission. With this, the choice can be simplified.
- DON’T WORRY ABOUT THINGS BEYOND YOUR CONTROL: Only control what you can. Otherwise, worrying about things that you don’t have control over will waste precious time and delay a project.
- HOW MANY DECISIONS DO YOU NEED TO MAKE DAILY? They can be big or small decisions, but you have to make several decisions per day so that you can practise making them faster and avoid delay.
- TAKE RISKS: We’re not always certain and often fear the uncertainty of the outcome of our decision. For example, start-ups that try to do something new do not have all the information they need to help with the process. For this reason, it is important that they accept the fact that they will be wrong 25% of the time, but still make decisions, and then execute them before reiterating if needed.
- SET A DEADLINE: Focus on your decision, set your mind on it and prevent any distraction. For help, set a timer so that you can objectively collect the upsides and downsides and make a decision fast.
- DON’T FALL INTO THE DECISION FATIGUE TRAP: It will reduce and sap your mental energy. Don’t sweat the small stuff by systematising every little decision. What can help are mindful habit cultivations and task lists. It is important to prevent mental energy drain because you need that brainpower when more significant matters surface.
Here you have what you need to know about decision-making skills, which include communication, imagination, visualisation, and self- discipline, which are necessary when making smart decisions.
For better results, follow our tips, like setting a deadline, not falling into decision fatigue, and sticking to your goals, to name a few. What will you have for lunch today? What movie will you watch with your BFF? Go ahead! Use fair judgment and these tips to make better decisions.