For your business and personal success, it is vital to be able to have a good decision-making process. Good decisions can be catalysts for your success or failure. Knowing that can cause a lot of stress, when you have to take a decision, especially when the stakes are high.
But what exactly is decision making?
Decision making is the cognitive process of making choices. It entails:
a) identifying a problem or issue, for which a decision to take is necessary;
b) gathering all the information necessary for the decision;
c) identifying all the possible solutions;
d) assessing and comparing the candidate solutions to identify the optimal one;
e) apply the optimal decision and check its performance.
It could be based either on a rational process or on an emotional one or in a combination of both.
As you can see, decision-making is a sophisticated cognitive process.
Those who are good decision-makers share common traits:
a) they are easy at spotting the problem that needs a decision;
b) they are meticulous in gathering the appropriate information for the decision;
c) they are proactive in taking a decision;
d) they are ready change their decision, when new information appears;
e) they do not hesitate to ask the informed opinion of an expert on their decision’s subject;
f) what’s most important, the good decision-makers are confident in their decisions, and ready to execute them and receive their consequences. They very rarely hesitate and change opinion after reaching a final decision, and only if there is a good reason for it.
Good news is that good decision-making can be learning. Good decision-making is a step-by-step process that can be trained by experts.
Even if you consider yourself a good or a bad decision-maker, the whole process can become quite stressful for you. Especially, when the decision you are about to make could have a great impact in your business and your success.
Here are seven hacks to help you have easier and better decision-making for your business‘s success:
1. Make fewer decisions
Decision-making is a complicated process, especially when you have to repeat it many times in the row on a daily basis (there is scientific evidence for that). Plus many decisions in the row raise stress levels. Stress can interfere with correct decision-making. The more decisions you make into your day –serious or simple, e.g. “should I take a new customer or not”, or “should I eat a chocolate or vanilla ice-cream”- the more possibility there is for finally taking erroneous or less profitable decision.
2. Take one step (even small) at a time
Decision-making is a multi-step process. Lots of business people that I have worked with, were initially overwhelmed with this long sequence of steps. They started feeling content with their decision-making, once they were trained to cut it down into small and tangible steps. This follows the same way we design the steps for reaching a goal. Prioritize the tasks you need to take and start with the first one. Move smoothly with the next one and so on.
3. Raise your emotional intelligence
Quite often, a making a decision is a source of emotions of uncertainty, fear, insecurity, anger and anxiety. When you are able to recognize and deal with these emotions and understand the message they convey to you, you start having an advantage in making the best decision and commit yourself to it.
4. Strengthen your self-confidence
A decision, especially a difficult one, could shake off your comfort zone. It can also trigger the imposter syndrome and the tendency for perfectionism that leads to procrastination. By strengthening your self-confidence, you are able to deal with the change of your comfort zone’s limits, incorporate the knowledge that you more are than able to make this decision and effectively proceed to its realization, despite any challenges and setbakcs.
5. Use the Decision-Making Quadrant Tool
It’s a very handy and simple tool that can help you with your decision making. It goes like this: You write down what this decision you need to make is for. Then you ask yourself the following four questions: (a) What would happen, if X happens? (b) What won’t happen, if X happens? (c) What would happen, if X doesn’t happen? (d) What won’t happen if X doesn’t happen? Write down your answers. In order to do that, use your imagery to explore possible evolution of potential decisions; “if I decide x what will happen? If I decide y or z what will happen? Which of these decisions do better serve my goals? With which decisions do I feel my goals threatened?”. Then read carefully your answers. They will help you choosing the best decision for you.
6. Detach yourself from the outcome
Though this sounds paradoxical for decision-making, it’s actually a very powerful mindset. First, you clarify what is actually in stake with your decision making; what you may lose or gain. Then you prepare yourself for the worst case scenario. Could you handle such a scenario? If yes, you can proceed with your decision-making, while being ready to face potential challenges. In the meantime, do what you have to do without fixating to a desired or fearful outcome. Otherwise, if you feel totally unable to make this decision, you may need further information or expert help to finally make your decision.
7. Invest in well-being techniques
Relaxation, meditation, breathing, yoga, creative writing, etc; these are techniques tend to encourage good decision making. They also help you on better focused on the cognitive and physical tasks you wants to do during your goal making.
What to keep in mind about your decision-making process
If you feel that a certain moment of your life, you find it extremely difficult and overwhelming to take any decision, you may consider to ask the advice of a specialist on treating depression. Extreme difficulty of decision making can be a sign of depression disorder.
No matter how difficult a decision may be, not making it is a decision in itself. It produces uncertainty; it also hampers your creativity and your goal making. Use the aforementioned hacks to create an action plan that will help you familiarize yourself with decision-making. It’s a fundamental component of your success and your progress.
Last modified: November 28, 2021