A Few Tools to Help You Decide
One area where you might be making some decisions right now…what do we still need to accomplish this quarter, and how will we get it done? Or perhaps, how will I prioritize and use the next few hours (or days?) in the most meaningful way? Or which event do I go to when there are schedule conflicts this busy season? Or even those in-the-moment decisions like should I have that second cookie or not?
Here are a few tools that might be useful to help you decide:
1. What - The good, old-fashioned pros and cons list
How - Grab a pad of paper or a whiteboard and, for each topic or idea, draw a vertical line down the center. Give yourself a new, clean workspace for each option, and just list the pros and cons of each. Be sure to be consistent in your list making so you can compare apples to apples. Timebox it to a few minutes, then pick the option that has the fewest cons and the most pros.
2. What - YCNS solution options tool from our Right Stuff Problem Solving methodology
How - use our handy-dandy template to compare a set of options at a single glance. For each option, note the following:
What are the Benefits?
What are the Obstacles that need to be overcome?
What Data do you have about that option that would be useful?
What does your gut Instinct tell you (yes or no)?
Then pick the option with the best Benefits, the fewest Obstacles (or those easiest to overcome), the one where the Data reinforces this as a good decision, and the one your gut says to go with.
3. What - Seek out input from those who know you better than you know yourself.
How - Sometimes we get in our own way as we think and talk ourselves in circles. If you’re not sure of the best course of action, talk to a friend, colleague, partner, or family member who knows you pretty well.
Set up the conversation by saying “I’m not sure which way to go on this, but I wonder if you’d be willing to listen to me talk about it and see if you can shed any light on which way I’m leaning or which one might be better for me”.
4. What - Consult your stakeholders.
How - We sometimes get ourselves into trouble when we make decisions without identifying all of the people impacted by the decision. Before deciding, make sure you’ve heard from everyone who cares about this topic – some of them may have already eliminated certain options and could make the decision easier.
5. What - Go with your gut.
How - Our intuition is often a source of strength. If you’re one of those folks who, when you go with your gut or your first response, you get it right, and when you second guess yourself, you go sideways, use this chance to go with your gut.
6. What - Flip a coin.
How - If the choice is such that it really doesn’t matter (If, for example I have the time and intention of getting both tasks done and it really doesn’t matter which one I start with), instead of agonizing over it, flip a coin and let the coin make heads or tails of your decision.
7. What - Tie it to the big picture.
How - More often than not, we can tell the right next choice by tying the question or the situation back to a larger goal. What was your strategic plan for the year? What was your health or wellness goal? What’s important in the big picture – pick the option that best aligns with the big picture goal, and you’ll be that much further along in your big picture journey.
What other decision-making techniques do you us this time of year?