Effective Decision Making
by Duncan Brodie
We all need to make decisions. While we all know that this is part of life, we can often find it difficult. It might be that:
• We are afraid of getting it wrong
• We procrastinate
• We get lost in the detail and lose sight of the bigger picture
• We worry about how others will react
• We don't know what outcome we want to achieve
Given these potential hazards, what are my 10 key tips for more effective decision making?
1. Recognise that very few decisions are a matter of life or death. Most decisions, even if they don't work out quite as you expected are irrecoverable. Give your self permission to make mistakes and learn from them.
2. Avoid putting things off. If you know a decision needs to be made, find a way of forcing yourself to move toward it. One way might be to set a deadline.
3. Keep your focus on the bigger picture and make sure you do not get lost in the detail. Keep asking what is important about this decision?
4. Whenever you have to take a decision, remember that not everyone is going to agree with it. As a leader or manager you are paid to take decisions and sometimes they will be unpopular.
5. Get clear about the outcome (result) you want before taking a decision so that all discussion, debate, etc is linked back to the result.
6. Make sure that you have the right information available to take the decision and if not go and find it.
7. Trust your intuition. Sometimes you will just have a hunch about something. Our natural reaction is to dismiss it. Instead try using it. For example, imagine you are part of a Senior Management Team discussing a new investment. You have a hunch that it is good long term even though the numbers might indicate otherwise. Throw it out you might just spark others to look at different perspectives.
8. Look at the options and weigh up the pro's and cons.
9. Consider talking through the decision with a more experienced and trusted colleague to broaden your perspective.
10. Remind yourself that we are all human and mistakes will be made. The key thing is to keep learning.
Duncan Brodie is a Leadership Development Coach and Management Trainer at Goals and Achievements http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk
He helps accountants and professionals to make the transition from technical expert to manager and leader and contribute more to organisation success.
As a former Finance Director, he has first hand experience of the challenges of moving into management and leadership roles.
Duncan Brodie may be contacted at http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk