We are all faced with a seemingly endless stream of choices throughout every day. There are so many, that we sometimes fail to recognize them, but the truth is that you always have a choice. Some choices we make almost unconsciously – like brushing our teeth or putting on a clean set of clothes. Other choices we make because we do not like the consequences of the alternative. An example is going to work in a job where you aren’t very happy, because you like receiving the salary and enjoy the things it enables you to buy. Ultimately you do have a choice and the more you become aware of this and the more you consciously make your choices, the more empowered you will feel.
Making a decision is not always as easy as choosing between white or whole-wheat bread, but being a slow decision maker can be very dangerous in business. It is a careful balancing act between weighing up making the perfect decision versus making a timeous one. Let’s say for example you are a production manager in a high volume factory when one of your production lines has a quality issue. If you stop the line unnecessarily, you will lose valuable production time. If you do not stop the line, you run the risk of creating a whole heap of scrap or rework. Whatever the decision you are facing, it is important to keep in mind the potential impact if you are indecisive and slow, whilst taking care not to make a rash decision.
Asking for input from those around you is not a sign of weakness. It is often necessary to get input from others, because they can potentially highlight something that was otherwise in your blind spot. This does not mean that everything is a democratic process. The final decision is still yours to take and you need to take the accountability. Ultimately you will never be able to please everybody, so don’t tire yourself trying to do it.
When considering your options it is important to work with facts and avoid making a purely emotionally driven decision. It is important to review the necessary data, but do not get caught up in it to the extent that it unnecessarily delays you making a decision at all.
There are many decision making tools available to help you generate options and carefully weigh up the pros and cons of each. Consider what would be the best possible outcome and the worst possible outcome and then make sure that the decision you take is one that improves your chances of achieving the desired outcome.
Once you have made your decision, it could be wise to explain your reasoning to the people around you. This is not because you need to explain yourself at all times, but to empower and develop those around you so that they can make the best possible decision in the event that you are not available.
The reality is that you will get it wrong from time to time. You must have the courage to stand by your decision, but there are also times when you need to admit that you have made a mistake. In these instances you have to be able to apologise and change direction, but this does not mean that you can fall around between different options all the time. You need to be able to forgive yourself when you have made a mistake despite trying to make the best decision with the information and circumstances available to you at that point in time.
Whether things worked out better than you could have dreamed or not at all, take the time to reflect why you have made the decision you did, why it worked or didn’t work and how you can do even better next time.
Click the link below to view the complete A2C Newsflash Volume 2 Issue 36 – It is not always multiple choice