How to make effective decisions
Are you getting stuck making decisions?
During a busy working day, you may need to make many decisions with varying degrees of urgency and importance. It is therefore important to think about an approach to decision-making that is both efficient and effective. Following these top tips will help you to do this.
Top tips for making decisions
1. Identify the decision to be made
Ask yourself what the issues or problems are and consider how you might be able to resolve them. To do this, you might find it helpful to put your thoughts down on paper or do a quick brainstorm or mind map. It may help to do this with a friend, work colleague or your manager.
2. Gather sufficient information
You will need to do some research to enable you to consider the situation from several different angles. It can sometimes be easy to continue seeking more information, rather than getting down to the 'doing' and the task of deciding. When you have collected enough information, don’t procrastinate; start thinking about some conclusions.
3. Be honest with yourself
It can be easy to unintentionally allow beliefs, biases, unconscious biases and assumptions to influence your decision-making. You may need to take some more time to 'sit with' the decision, or alternatively, you may find it helpful to consult a trusted friend or colleague, someone who might be able to take a more 'objective' view than you if they are not involved directly.
4. Accept there will always be some level of risk
With every decision comes an element of risk, and the lowest-risk options are not always the best ones in every situation. It is important to take the risks into account and your 'gut' feeling(s) when considering your options, but not to allow the risk to stop you from deciding and moving forward.
5. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture
Even routine, unimportant decisions can have long-term consequences. Take some time to consider what these might be before making your decision and putting it into action. Again write them down or draw them if this is going to help you.
6. Encourage participation from those your decision affects
If appropriate, offering people the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process can be an effective way of gaining their understanding, buy-in, and support. Ask for their thoughts or opinions and remember to listen 'actively' and consider what they say before making your decision.
7. Take action
Having reached a decision, it is important to stick to it and implement it promptly. Delaying this unnecessarily could cause you to lose momentum or confidence in your decision and start procrastinating.
8. Communicate your decision
Communicate your decision to the relevant people. This may be face-to-face either in team meetings or in person, or via email. In your communication, you should explain what your decision is, why you have made it, and how it might affect the people you are contacting. You should also offer individuals the opportunity to ask any questions they might have and make some time to go through them if needed.