Making sound decisions throughout life and business is an acquired skill. Much like picking up a new language or training in a sport, your business will run more efficiently if you know when to hold a meeting, which vendor to go with, or if it’s worth spending the money on improving a certain process.
Honing in on your decision-making skills doesn’t only allow you to lead a happier and more fulfilling life, it also makes you a better leader in business. Here are some tips on how to be a better decision maker:
1. Exude Confidence
Let’s face it, not all of the decisions we make are going to be right. However, there can be a high price to pay for stalling on a project due to the financial upkeep and perhaps missing out on future opportunities embedded in your next project. If you are inundated with too many choices, and it is hampering your ability to make a tough decision, just remember this - although your decision may not have an ideal outcome, you will make the best decision you can based on the information you have in front of you.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Seeking expert advice on a big decision can help speed up your decision and give you insights into areas you might not have considered. However, don’t bog yourself down with unfounded advice - find one or two trustworthy and wise advisors who are experts in their field.
3. Solve the Small Problems First
Sometimes we get so overwhelmed with the big picture that we don’t focus on the small things that we need to solve to help us move forward. Sometimes the small problems can get in the way of the big problems you face, so clear your mind by getting the small problems taken care of so you can focus on bigger things ahead.
4. Follow the Hierarchy of Knowledge
Although everyone may like to be included in every decision, remember that not all input is equally weighed. The hierarchy of knowledge relies on a combination of gut instincts, data, information, and knowledge. By understanding this and using it to differentiate between theory and opinion, you will be able to make better decisions and make them more efficiently.
5. Making Quick Decisions
We often overthink tough decisions, weighing the various options over and over in our minds, when sometimes we just need to make one. Part of making better decisions is making quick decisions. Here are some tips for making quicker decisions:
- Self-impose a deadline (like the 2-minute rule)
- Think in black and white (pare down your number of choices to avoid analysis paralysis)
- Put all of your choices of equal importance in a hat and pull one out at random
- Embrace failure (or the idea of it)
Being in a position of making consistent, impactful decisions can be overwhelming. However, be assured that not everyone gets it right all the time. Some of the best leaders have made bad decisions that have knocked them down to the bottom, but they picked themselves back up. Ultimately, it’s a part of our growing processing to make decisions and the better you get at it, the better off you’ll be… in business and life.