The average person makes thousands of decisions every day, big and small. Whether you are the CEO of a business, a manager, or an employee, your decision making skills can make all the difference in your career. While it’s factually impossible to make the right decision all of the time, the goal here is to refine the process to make progressively better decisions.
For employees, decision-making is a soft skill that employers are always on the lookout for. For business owners, decision making demonstrates your confidence and knowledge to potential investors, buyers, etc.
It’s not just about being able to make big life-changing decisions, however. Being able to make trivial decisions successfully could also affect your overall performance and productivity. Whichever way you look at it, then, being a good decision maker is a critical skill.
Here are some proven methods to refine and polish your decision making skills..
Be Clear About Your Goals
This is the first step in creating an effective decision-making strategy. Your decision-making principle should be structured according to your goals. This will allow you to settle on what can lead to the desired outcome. Therefore, keeping in mind what you want to achieve with your decision will improve your skills.
Address Your Overconfidence
In some cases, the problem isn’t about being unable to make a decision, it’s about being unable to make the right one. According to research, it’s common for some individuals to overestimate their abilities and their knowledge. This habit can quickly lead to ineffective decision making, hindering work performance and creating stress in their personal lives.
If you are guilty of this, there are some steps you can take to overcome it. While confidence and tenacity are strong characteristics to have, it’s important to maintain a healthy level of self-awareness. Be realistic about your expectations and create intentional working plans marked with achievable targets.
For example, if it takes you some time to put together a work report, allocate a time-frame that you are comfortable to finish within. Consider past performance to make accurate time estimates and adjust accordingly.
Apply Probabilistic Thinking
The importance of applying probabilistic thinking to your decision making cant be understated. No, we’re not talking about math, statistics, or data, we’re talking about using patterns and trends- over an extended period of time- to predict outcomes. Research suggests that the best starting point for predictions is to ask “How often does that typically happen?”
If you are considering funding a startup, you might ask: “What percentage of startups fail?” and “What percentage of startups succeed?”.
The goal here is to step outside of the “internal view,” where the specifics of the decision begin to cloud your analysis. When you move to the “outside view,” you start with similar cases before considering the specifics of your individual case.
Improve The Accuracy Of Your Predictions
Going with your “gut instinct” has long been regarded as the key way to make consistently good decisions. Chances are, when you are in the decision making process, you already have a voice inside of your head saying, “Go for it’ or screaming, “Be careful.”
This method of making quality decisions is so effective that I can’t recall the last time I made a bad decision when I went with what my gut was telling me.
However, the caveat here is that while it’s recommended to go with your gut feeling, it is only limited to your prior experience on the given subject.
The more you know about a specific subject, the more accurate your gut will be when making your final decision.
Explore Alternative Decisions
When trying to make consistently good decisions it is best to gather necessary information that is directly related to the problem. With the necessary information you can better understand what needs to be done in solving the problem, and will also help to generate ideas for a possible solution.
Throughout the information gathering process, make a list of possible alternatives. Once you have built your list, seek the opinions of people that you trust or speak to experts and professionals, because it will help you to come up with a variety of solutions when weighing all your options for a final decision. You will want to gather as many resources as possible in order to make the best decision.
Be Aware Of Your Personal Bias
These days it’s exceptionally easy to find evidence to support your preferences with a saturation of information on the internet, even more so during the decision making process. Working alongside businesses and founders for over 20 years, we have found that people often make decisions thinking they are logical, but in reality, they are fueled by biased emotion.
It can be quite difficult at the moment to tell if you are making your decision based on your cognitive bias, but here are some ways that you can challenge your potential decision.
Try looking for the one data point that will stump your theory. If this piece of data can be repeated, you will find yourself on the side of a deeper understanding of a given subject while preventing the possibility of an unexpected problem.
Instead of trying to prove that your preferred decision is right, challenge yourself by looking for reasons to doubt it and prove it wrong. If you can’t find any–or they are insignificant–then you can have confidence it’s a good decision.
Limit Your Choices
A common mistake we make in business and personal life alike is giving ourselves too many options. We assume that if we consider each option, we can make the best decision.
However, it’s been proven that when we are overwhelmed with a lot of options, we often make no decision at all. For example, have you ever been to a new restaurant where their never-ending menu sent you running for the hills?
To combat decision fatigue, begin by separating the crucial decisions from the trivial, and prioritize by time urgency. From there you can work through one decision at a time, while making sure that you are not spending too much time on the more critical decisions.
If you are looking to really focus on developing your decision making skills, or if you are looking for a company-wide training program for your staff, our team at MCDA CCG provide skills coaching beyond the standard online lesson. Contact our office -headquartered in Placentia, Orange County, California, to find out more about our customized training solutions for yourself and/or your business!