Do you find yourself in a situation when it takes forever to take a decision? How do you take a decision when views & opinions of several people need to be taken into account before making the final call? Well, there are smart ways to tackle situations like these. If you wish to make quick & smart decisions in life, which you don’t want to regret looking back, read further. This is a guide to a smarter decision making process.
Why is Decision Making Skill Important?
In real life, we have lot of choices to make on a daily basis. Selecting one thing from a particular set of things is something we do frequently. Regularly making a choice from a range choices to achieve our goal makes decision making skill a must have. IT is for this reason, developing a decision making skill will help you make the important choices easier.
You will make bad decisions in life but the key part here is to understand the mistakes and learn from them. Thus, it is rightly said that decision making skill is one of the most important life skill that one needs to learn starting from an early age. Whatever be your role in life, be it a leader, student, parent or anything else, you have to take right decisions.
Decision Making Process
Decision making is a art which you can master with time. You will make mistakes down the way but learning this art will make significant impact to your life whatever be your role. Decision making process is a art of making choices by understanding and analyzing the available information, resources at hand and finally defining the best decision you can make to the best of your ability.
Understanding what is decision making?
In simple words, it is making a choice from a set of multiple choices available at hand, to achieve a desired objective. It is very critical to clearly decide the final objective and analyse the options available to achieve it. While doing so various factors like risks, ambiguity, impact, people, resources, information available, etc. have to be considered.
There are many decision making techniques out there but there is one which I recommend. Let us try to understand it.
Understanding Decision Outcomes
Whatever decision you make after you have clearly defined the objective, the outcome may vary. Outcome may fall into any of the below categories.
You know what the future is if you make the right decision. The outcome is clearly predictable in this case.
Distinct Countable outcomes
You know that the outcome might be from a set of 2-3 alternatives. This might require you to involve more people in decision making.
Spectrum of outcomes
Here there is a very broad but predictable set of outcomes that can happen. In such cases, it is critical to evaluate the information you have. You will also need to gather more information from various sources to cut down this spectrum of outcomes.
Completely unpredictable outcome
There is no way to predict what might happen in the future in this case. Even gathering more information & evaluating it won’t help much in cutting down the possible outcomes in this case. The uncertainty is very high in this situation. In such a case, it is wise to take a small decision, monitor/evaluate the performance/results and then again take a decision based on the results.
So, as you make any decision, it is very important to understand the impact your decision will make and the risk it carries.
There are 3 different types of decision you can make
Understanding Types of Decisions
Nothing to lose Decision
You would take this action no matter what might happen as you have no downside for taking a wrong decision.
Favorable Outcome Decision
Based on the certainty around the way the future may play out, this decision would most likely have a positive outcome. Point to note here is that the positive outcome is likely, but not guaranteed.
The future is uncertain if you make this decision. The consequences, whatever they be, are extreme. Being right can cause a huge upside, but being wrong can cost you badly.
Remember, the goal of decision making is reducing the risk & ambiguity by gathering more information and taking the best decision possible.
Reducing risks is important to be considered and evaluated thoroughly as this can improve the certainty of the objective you are trying to achieve.
Involve more people
Involving more people in the decision-making process has several positive sides to it. This gives you more possibilities, more perspectives, that you may never think of otherwise. Also, involving them early in the decision making can help you avoid pitfalls that may only occur after execution.
Take more time
Today the future may seem complex & uncertain. But, after a month or a week, the future can be predictable with finite set of outcomes. A timely delay in decision making can certainly reduce the complexity and make things clear.
Break big problems into smaller problems
Breaking bigger problems into smaller ones will enable you to make small decisions for smaller problems, ultimately resulting into a bigger better decision. In simple words, divide-and-conquer the problems and make relevant decisions.
As you get ready to ultimately take that action, there are some critical questions you need to ask yourself before you move forward. In my opinion, it is necessary to ask yourself these questions and document their responses to analyse them before you take that final action.
What is my ultimate objective for which this decision is to be made?
How big is the impact of the decision?
Can I break it into smaller decisions? What are those?
How irreversible is the decision?
What is the cost of being wrong? What is the value of being right?
Are there alternatives? What are they? Evaluate them.
What is my deadline to make the decision?
Who do I need to involve and how do I involve them?
What is the cost of waiting? What is the value of acting now?
Who needs to know I made a decision? How should I inform them?
I have attached the PDF document so that you can document your answers to ultimately make that final decision. You can print this document and write down your answers to the 10 critical questions you should ask yourself before making a decision.
Download the document here –
It is important to wait and think through all these questions & document your answers so that you can take better & smart decisions.
There are other tools and techniques available out there but I prefer taking a decision using this framework. You just need a pen and a paper to write some things, brainstorm, refine your thoughts and you have a clear picture in the end. Try implementing this and do share your feedback. Thanks for reading.
Good Luck to smart, reliable and effective decision making!