Making decisions is the cognitive process of selecting one option over another, or over many others. Look at it like a puzzle, or even a chess game. You have to look ahead and decide how one move will affect the remaining ones. Think of decision making as a problem-solving exercise. Make logical choices that will lead to a desired outcome.
Not Everyone Will Agree
Making decisions is not always a team sport. Everyone has their own opinion, and the way they would like to see things go. Yes, it is important for you to know what those opinions are, but the actual decision should be made by you. Hearing all sides will give you a better overall picture; however, as manager, your purpose is to make decisions that are in the best interest of the company. Others may only be making decisions which better them personally.
Decide and Move Forward
As a manager you make decisions every day, and those decisions affect your team and your company. This responsibility can cause an extreme amount of stress. You need to manage your decisions just like you would manage anything else – create and execute a plan of action.
When executing your plan, it is important to stay focused. Lack of focus results in poor decisions. Only consider moves that lead to your end goal. Set time limits and then move on to the next decision. Time limits help you stay on track and keep you from second guessing yourself.
Worry is a Useless Reaction
“Worry is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere”, so said Van Wilder. A fictional character, perhaps, but a true statement nonetheless. Worry is just another distraction. Focus on things you can control and what will benefit from your time. Free up your time by leveraging your team and delegating your busy work.
Learn from Your Past Mistakes
We’ve all made them. From the newbie out of college to the executive of a corporation. Bad decisions are inevitable. You have made both good and bad decisions in your past, so take the time to reflect on those decisions and learn from them. Identify what worked and what did not. Then, make any necessary adjustments and call on similarities that may assist you with your current choices. This is how you develop your intuition, which will improve your ability to make “gut” decisions.
Say it with me – “Keep It Simple Silly” (sorry, I just can’t call people striving to be great ‘stupid’, even in this context). Use common sense and do not over complicate. Ask yourself if there is value in this decision and, if so, move forward.
When making the more important decisions, gather all of the facts. Even if you are facing a deadline, a good decision is simply not possible without the facts. Just be careful to balance out the time you take fact finding with your deadline.
If there are no major repercussions from your decisions, make them and move on. Do not get hung up on the little things. Does it really matter what type of paper you order for the copy machine or what coffee you buy for the office? Hmm… maybe coffee does matter, but that is another decision for another day. Right now, you have more important things to think about. Go get ’em!