If we were to list all the factors that make successful professionals, at the top of the list would be the way they approach decision-making.
Successful professionals know that in today’s super-fast-paced world and with the competition, decisions need to be deliberated and made quickly.
Yes, making important decisions can be stressful – but they have to be made. Making the best decision in the shortest time possible is essential if you want to get ahead and stay ahead in your career.
How do successful professionals do it?
Here are 5 secrets that you can easily adopt and make part of your own day-to-day life.
1. Know your industry inside-out
Collecting reports, studies, analyses, and other information is not always the best method. The time wasted poring over every minute detail is horribly stressful when a decision is waiting to be made. Instead, knowing everything about your industry is all the information you need!
This means being up to date on the latest trends and changes and what others are up to. It means knowing the strengths and weaknesses in your profession and of your colleagues.
It is this information that can guide you towards making a more timely and effective decision.
2. Focus on outcomes
When you are making a decision, focus on the short-term, and long-term outcomes and their effects on your industry and profession. This is more important than getting mired in minute facts and trivial details.
You should always ask yourself questions such as, how will this decision affect return on investment? How will it affect other professionals? How will it affect stakeholders and the community? These are examples of the outcomes you should weigh up and assess.
3. Set a time frame and commit to it
Depending on the importance of the decision, people you need to consult or discussion meetings you need to hold, decide on a fixed timeframe within which you will need to get everything wrapped up. This could range from a couple of hours, to a couple of days, to maybe a week or more.
Putting yourself under this kind of pressure will be difficult at first, but as you continue to work within a limited timeframe, you will learn to quickly set priorities and goals, determine relevant outcomes, and get to the heart of the decision. This is also the best way to learn how to focus on what really matters and avoid irrelevant details.
4. Have a contingency plan
Successful professionals recognise that there is room for error in even the most “foolproof” decisions. If the decision can be reversed, then don’t take too much time sweating it out because if worse comes to worst, you can take the decision back.
When a decision can’t be reversed, however, taking a few minutes to lay down a contingency plan is a must. This plan should include steps to cut losses and remedy the situation if the outcome is not what was expected.
Not only is this just plain good sense, but it gives you the confidence to proceed with important decisions because you have something to fall back on.
5. Stay in shape
Savvy professionals know that a sharp, clear mind is the most powerful tool they possess for making decisions. And since a healthy mind means a healthy body, take steps to stay physically and mentally fit by exercising, eating right and getting quality sleep.
Also make it a point to always free up time for fun and relaxation.
Whatever the type of profession you are in or what your role is, making decisions is an inevitable part of your job. Putting off making decisions should never be an option. In fact, the faster they can be made, the better.
Learn from these five secrets of effective decision-makers to help your career flourish – and help yourself make the best decisions you can with no stress or anxiety.
Download the free ebook: Making Smarter and Faster Decisions