A Guide to making better decisions
Making better decisions is a skill that everyone should have. Whether you're trying to figure out what to have for lunch or decide if you should take on a new client, making good choices is critical to your personal and professional success.
What is decision making?
It's a choice, or a series of choices, that you make to determine the outcome of a situation. In business, decisions are often made in the form of choosing between different options. For example, maybe you're looking to hire someone for an important project and you have three potential candidates: one who has great experience but doesn't know much about your industry, one who knows everything about your industry but lacks experience, and one who has both experience and knowledge about your industry. Which candidate would you choose?
There are many factors that go into making good decisions. It requires practice and patience, but it's possible to get better at making decisions. This guide will show you how to think through those factors so that you can make better decisions more consistently.
If you feel like the quality of the choices you make is not up to par, this guide will help you improve your decision-making abilities.
Be clear about what you want
If you're not sure about what you want, it's going to be hard for anyone else to help you get it. So before you start making any decision, ask yourself this question: "What do I want?" Make sure that your answer is clear and specific - and that it's not just something vague like "I'll know it when I see it." Make a list of all the things that would satisfy your goal and then prioritise them in order of importance. Now, when someone suggests an idea, ask yourself if it fits into one of those categories and if so, which one it fits into. If not, don't worry about it! You don't need another thing on your list - it's just another distraction from what really matters.
Learn how to define the problem.
Define the problem or situation so you can know what you are considering before making a decision.
Understand your decision-making process.
As you read this, consider the following questions:
- What type of decision-maker are you? Do you make decisions quickly or methodically? Do emotions play a role in the decisions that you make?
- How much time do I have to make this decision? Do I have an extended time frame to give myself room for error and also learn from experience, or do I have little time left before making a critical decision with negative consequences if it goes wrong?
- What information am I missing and how can I get it? If there is no readily available information on which to base my decision, what other ways can I gather data in order to inform my choice and help eliminate uncertainty as much as possible?
- Is this decision important enough that it should take precedence over other tasks/priorities [at] hand? This may sound like common sense but it's important because often we allow ourselves too many distractions while working through resolving problems or performing other duties at work.
Gather all relevant information.
To make a good decision, you need to have all the relevant information.
The first step is to determine exactly which information is relevant to your situation. It can be tempting to gather as much information as possible, but in some cases, this may not be helpful. You want to keep the process manageable and clear-cut - otherwise, it will quickly become overwhelming and confusing.
Once you've identified what information is needed for this particular decision, start gathering it together by talking with others who have experience with similar situations or by doing research online (or both). For example, if you're trying to decide whether or not it makes sense for your company's marketing department to hire someone new in order to help generate more revenue from social media ads, look up how much companies that are similar in size tend to spend on such an employee per month and compare that figure across several different industries within the same geographic region where they operate so that they can better assess whether or not those jobs are worth hiring someone full-time at their own firm's headquarters instead of outsourcing those services entirely through another company like Buzzfeed or Facebook which already has experts versed in ad production workflows already onboard full-time anyway!
Get opinions from people you trust.
When you're trying to make a decision, it can be helpful to have other people's opinions. However, you shouldn't rely on only one person's opinion. Make sure you get multiple opinions and don't just ask the first person who walks by to give their thoughts.
Also, remember that not all opinions are equal: some people are better than others at making decisions and solving problems like yours. So while getting input from your friends is important, try thinking of other people in your life that have been through similar experiences before or have proven themselves as highly skilled problem solvers (like teachers or coaches). You should also consider asking trusted family members for advice if they know what they're talking about when considering an issue like yours.
Finally, remember that everyone has biases and there is no perfect source when trying to make decisions - even if we all try our best with logic and reason! In fact, even staying true to yourself might lead nowhere! If this happens then it means something went wrong during earlier steps where we needed more data points…
Consider alternatives and their consequences.
When you make a decision, it's important to consider all of the consequences. First, take a step back and visualize the outcome of your decision. For example, if you decide to go with option A, what will happen? Make sure that you've thought through all of the possible outcomes for each choice and visualize each one in your mind so that you can see how it would play out.
Second, consider long-term consequences as well as short-term ones. This may seem obvious at first glance: If I choose option B over option C today and then discover later on that doing so caused me problems down the road because I didn't take into account something crucial about my decision or my circumstances have changed since then (for better or worse), I'll wish I had chosen differently today - or else taken more time to think about my options before making any final decisions!
Make a decision and account for potential risks.
When you have a decision to make, it's important to think about the possible consequences of that decision. If you choose option A and something goes wrong, how will you deal with that? If your plan for a fun night out gets cancelled due to rain, what will you do? Being prepared for these things can help make the best use of your time and energy. We recommend making a list of things that could go wrong before making any decisions. This helps ensure that no matter what happens next in your life, there is always something available for you to do or learn from it.
It's also important not to underestimate the importance of risk assessment when considering options for yourself or others around them too!
Give yourself room to change your mind if need be.
Let's say you've decided to go to the beach for your vacation, but then there's a major storm that keeps you from going. You can always change your mind about where you want to go for your vacation - and it doesn't matter if it's because of a good reason or not. It's important to let yourself be flexible and open-minded when it comes to making decisions because there are many factors that may influence how things play out. It might seem like an unnecessary step in the process, but giving yourself permission for flexibility will help reduce anxiety over whether or not you have made the right choice and allow room for new information and circumstances (even if they aren't ideal).
You can make better decisions by doing a little more thinking beforehand
The best way to make better decisions is to think more about what you want and the consequences of your actions. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Think about all the possible options. If you have a choice of three different restaurants, don't just choose the one closest to your house without considering whether there might be something better down the road.
- Take time to think through the consequences before making a decision: Are you really ready for this opportunity? What could go wrong if I decline? Would I regret it later?
- Get advice from people who know more than you - but remember that they aren't always right either! Who knows what's good for them may not be good for someone else (for example, my friend loves running outdoors but hates going on hikes). And if an expert can't give me an answer then perhaps there isn't one yet - in which case it's okay not having answered all around me!
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