Decisions Make the Difference

Success in business, and in life, is predicated on the quality of decisions you make.  You are faced with hundreds of opportunities to make decisions every day, no matter how seemingly large or small, and part of being a great leader is making good decisions. While most people will still occasionally make bad decisions, there are things you can do to help improve your decision making skills so you are better able to analyze each situation and choose the best option to move yourself, and your company, forward.

Avoid Procrastination

Sometimes it’s tempting to procrastinate on making a decision. This is particularly true when the decision is a difficult one, or one that involves significant risk to you or your company. Emotionally, it can seem easier to put off the decision, but procrastinating will increase the chance you will make the wrong decision. This is because putting it off for later reduces the time you have to review all the relevant information, identify a wide variety of solutions, and solicit advice from trusted advisors.   Here’s a link to an excellent post on Psychology Today about the causes of procrastination. 

Obtain Feedback and Input

Being in a leadership role does not mean you must make all decisions by yourself, and if you only rely on your own knowledge, you could miss critical pieces of information that would help you make a better decision. Identify a small group of trusted advisors, either within or outside of your company, who can help you objectively review the situation, identify alternatives and potential solutions, and choose the best one.  Cyrus the Great said “Diversity in counsel, unity in command” and that certainly applies to decision making.

Use a Process

Processes are important to ensure that every step is covered. When you begin without a decision process outlined, you can easily miss steps along the way that could lead to a less-than-optimal decision or outcome. In addition, a good process gives you the ability to identify the most important criteria for your decision and weigh those criteria according to their value, which will help you objectively evaluate the alternatives

Implement the Decision Well

Even the best decisions, without a good plan for how to implement them, will fail. When you identify the direction you intend to take, stop and outline how the decision will be carried out, and which key individuals should be involved and, most importantly, identify the things that could go wrong with the implementation and how you will prevent or minimize the impact. Most people will not distinguish between a good decision and good implementation, so it’s important to have both.

Whether it is in business or life in general, success is often a result of making good decisions. Focusing on improving the process can help make each decision, regardless of how big or small, a little bit easier.

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