Following the six steps outlined here you can make better decisions.
No one is born with the innate ability to make brilliant decisions all the time. Decision-making is a skill that as professionals we learn through experience – but this skill can be developed and improved to help you make the best possible choices in any given situation.
Being an effective decision-maker means you make timely, confident decisions with the least possible stress.
The next time you have an important decision to tackle, use these six steps to dramatically streamline your thinking and clarity. You will be amazed at how quickly and efficiently you will be able to make decisions that may have overwhelmed you before.
1. Define the problem clearly
What is the problem? Carefully define the problem that the decision will solve in one short sentence. For example, “My desk is too cluttered.” In this case, the decision could be to have a clean-up, remove all the unnecessary stuff and maybe storage some of the stuff away from the top of your desk.
2. Define your priorities
What do you want to achieve by making the decision? Identify your priority – is it to be more productive by not being distracted by the clutter? Continuing with the previous example, although the problem is a cluttered desk, the priority may actually be different. It may be to remove criticism or comments for colleagues or your boss. Therefore define your priority – should you do it now or when you have completed that important task. Sometimes we find things to do to procrastinate form what we should be doing.
3. Collect information
For important decisions it is important to do your due diligence. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many details or collects a massive amount of information that will confuse you if it is a minor task. Just do so basic research and weigh the options that fit both your problem and your priority.
4. Narrow down the options
Narrow down all the information you have collected into two or three options that you can weigh up, then choose the best one.
5. Consider the outcome
When you have narrowed down your options, choose the option that gives the best outcome for the time and effort that will be expended. In many cases, options may have more or less the same outcome, in which case, choosing one randomly may be the easiest way to go.
6. Measure the outcome
Once the decision is made and implemented, it’s crucial to measure the final outcome and whether it fulfilled the desired expectations. This is helpful to document the process to refer to when making similar decisions in the future.
These six simple steps make all the difference between just making a decision and making the best decision based on what you have to work with. They will enable you to quickly identify the core reason behind the decision, your priorities, think up and consider options and measure the outcome.
But the one thing you will love when you try these steps is how smooth, stress-free and simple decision-making can become.