The Key to Decision Making

          Decision-making is more natural to certain personalities, and often these folk need to focus on the quality of the decisions made. Less natural decision makers often make quality decisions but need to be more decisive in acting. Good decision-making is a skill that can be learned by anyone. It requires a mixture of skills from creative development and identification of options through to effective implementation and evaluation.           While there are a million and one tools available on the market to assist with decision making, the main steps can be summarized in ten key steps:

  • Define what the decision is that needs to be made. Is this really your decision or someone else’s? Do you really need to make a decision? What are the consequences of not making the decision? When does the decision need to be made? Why is this decision important to you? Who will be affected by this decision?
  • Write down as many alternatives as you can think of. Brainstorm as many different alternatives as you can imagine. Let your imagination run riot and try not to censure anything. This is not the time to be judgmental. Just be sure to write everything down.
  • Think where you could find more information about possible alternatives. If you only come up with a few alternatives, you may want to get more information. Additional information generally leads to more alternatives. Places to look for further information include friends, family, co-workers, Government agencies, professional organizations, newspapers, magazines, etc.
  • Check out your alternatives. Once you have a list of alternatives, find out more about the specifics of each option. You will find that the more information you gather, the more ideas will pop into your head. Be sure to write these down and check them out too.
  • Sort through all of your alternatives. Now that you have your list of alternatives, it is time to begin evaluating them to see which one works for you.
  • Visualize the outcomes of each alternative. For each remaining alternative on your list, picture what the outcome of that alternative will look like. It will help if you write down your vision.
  • Do a reality check. Which of your remaining alternatives are most likely to happen? Cross off those alternatives that are more pipe dreams that actual alternatives.
  • Which alternative “fits” you? Review your remaining alternatives and decide which ones feel most comfortable. If the thought of the outcome brings on a headache or stomach ache, it may be that this is not the right decision for you. Tune in to your intuition.
  • Get started! Once you have made your decision, get moving on it. Worrying or second-guessing yourself will only cause grief. You have done your very best for the present. You always have the option of changing your mind in the future if you want to. Remember, no decision is set in stone.
  • How is it going? Be sure to review your decision at specified points along the road. Are the outcomes what you expected? Are you happy with the outcomes? Do you want to let the decision stand or would you like to make some adjustments? If the decision did not come out the way you planned, go through the complete decision-making process again.

          “In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt


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