Decision Making - 10 Skills To Future Proof Yourself
In this seventh post on 10 Skills You Need To Future Proof Yourself, we’re focusing on ‘Decision Making’.
What is ‘decision making’?
If you think about it, life is made up by the quality of the decisions you make.
Good decisions lead to good outcomes and vice versa.
The challenge is that you are often required to make big decisions when life is moving at its fastest and time seems short.
This is exactly why it helps to develop your decision making skills to ensure you give yourself the best chance of making choices that lead to favourable outcomes.
Thankfully, decision making is ultimately a process with a number of steps to follow. Here are the 7 steps to better decision making:
Step 1 - Identify the decision you want to make
Clearly define the nature of the decision you must make. This first step is very important. Without a clear definition of your decision you can’t seek the appropriate best outcome.
Step 2 - Gather the relevant information
Collect what information is needed. Some information is internal: you’ll seek it through a process of self-assessment. Other information is external: you’ll find it online, in books, from other people, and from other sources.
Step 3 - Identify the alternatives
As you collect information, you will probably identify several possible paths of action, or alternatives. You can also use your imagination and additional information to construct new alternatives. List all possible and desirable alternatives.
Step 4 - Weigh up all the available evidence
Draw on your information and emotions to imagine what it would be like if you carried out each of the alternatives to the end. As you go through this process, you’ll begin to favour certain alternatives. Place them in a priority order based upon your own value system.
Step 5 - Choose among alternatives
Once you have weighed up all the evidence, you are ready to select the alternative that seems to be best one for you. You may even choose a combination of alternatives.
Step 6 - Take action
Now it’s time to implement the alternative you chose in the previous step. Go for it!
Step 7 - Review your decision and its consequences
In this final step, you need to review the results of your decision. Has it resolved the need you identified at the outset? If not, you may want to repeat certain steps of the process to make a new decision.
Why is it important?
Good decisions can save you time, money and stress.
Bad decisions can have life changing consequences. Don’t let this happen to you.
We face decisions everyday of our lives. Good decisions now can save you making decisions in the future.
It’s arguably the most important leadership trait as it’s how you are ultimately judged.
How can I improve my ability to make decisions?
Here are 7 ways to improve your ability to make decisions:
1) Start wide and then narrow your options. Resist the urge to act immediately.
2) Don’t be overconfident. Challenge each step in your decision making process.
3) Be aware of your cognitive biases (our Behavioral Economics course can help with this).
4) Keep a decision journal. This allows you to review, reflect and learn from prior decisions.
5) Try meditation. Regular practice has shown increases in the ability to regulate emotions. If you can stay cool under pressure this will lead to better choices (our Mental Fitness course can help you here).
6) Check to see if someone else has faced a similar decision beforehand. What did they do? What was the outcome?
7) Get the opinion of someone you admire. How do they see the same decision and it’s possible permutations?