If you're like just about every other working American, you need to make, or help your team make, good decisions from time to time. That's probably your favorite part of your job, right? Who doesn't love collecting the data to make an informed decision, corralling the team, laying out your options, and reaching consensus?
Ok, so maybe decision making isn't so easy peasy...but what if YOU could make it better, for you and your team? Start by learning where we often fall short so you can avoid these pain-points, and the long-term cost of poor decisions down the road.
Let's Break It Down
Here are four of the most common culprits that tend to throw a wrench in our decision-making gears...which one do you see rear its head in your organization?
Make the most of what you've got. We often hear "I didn't have enough time" -- but what we forget is that we can also have too much time. It may sound counter-intuitive, but what if we told you that, yes, you can give someone too much time to make a decision (or do any other task)? People typically use every second they're given, so make sure you start by giving them just enough time. There's no one-deadline-fits-all "right answer" for the right number of minutes or days to give a decision maker, but when you're thinking about the "decide-by" date, put it into context of what else is going on. Sometimes the reality is that there will never be enough time and we just have to make a call, but remember that too much time can also mean your decision-maker might forget, priorities might shift, or the other option might go off the table.
Trust is huge when it comes to making decisions--and it often winds up coming back to you as a decision-maker. Do you trust yourself to make this decision? It's almost easier to bust out the magic 8 ball than to step up to the plate and say "Ok guys, here's what we're going to do." Sometimes we just need a confidence boost to confirm that we have the authority and the knowledge to make a good decision for the team.
What if I as the decision maker don't have the knowledge, skills, or process to analyze my choices? This can happen a lot when we feel like we're making a decision on something that's "out of our depth" or expertise. The typical response is often to put it off until it's too late and we only have one option left, but you can get ahead of the decision with the right tools and processes to help you digest the information and wrap your mind around the context of the decision. Your best bet here is to be methodical, and ask for help if you need it, and to get your hands on some helpful tools and templates (hint: we can help, especially with change, communication, prioritization, office behavior, and more change!).
Have you ever made a decision and, for whatever reason, it didn't stick? Sometimes we decide something that would work...somewhere else. It's important to encourage your team and organization to be progressive and think innovatively, but it's also important to be mindful of where your decision will push someone outside their comfort zone and prepare them for it. You're not finished after the decision is made--now it's time to anticipate where you might find some resistance and prepare folks for transition.
There's More Where That Came From! If any of these are familiar pain-points in your organization and you're on the hunt for new decision-making techniques, come see us!