The Proven Way to Make Better Decisions, Faster
Tales of Endearment
A likely story: It's Thursday evening and you have dinner plans with friends. If you're anything like us, you can't for the collective life of you decide where to go. You weigh the options. You read and reread menus. You soul search for what flavors you're craving. Next thing you know, an hour (or more) has passed. Sound familiar? Indecision is a frustrating and common problem, one that feels all the more widespread in today's environment of complete option overload.
Take the challenges of being wishy-washy about dinner reservations to the workplace, and the potential negative impacts become a bit more serious! Indecision can tank business goals, sabotage professional relationships, and more.
In a recent study published in the Harvard Business Review, researchers performed hundreds of experiments with thousands of key decision makers in order to glean a pattern regarding what goes into the most successfully made and executed decisions. They found that the most successful decision-making approach boils down to a simple, seven-part checklist. The most amazing part? Managers who regularly follow the seven steps below were found to save 10 hours of discussion, decide 10 days faster, and improve the outcomes of their decisions by 20% on average.
Consider the impact.
Pinpoint a handful of company goals or priorities that will be impacted by the decision. Establishing these reasons for your choices harmonizes your decision and its motivations.
Weigh the alternatives.
What are the other realistic options or alternatives to the decision you are about to make? Think of this as a workshop session for your ideas. Your eventual decision will only be stronger for it!
Acknowledge any blind spots.
What is the most important information related to the decision that you are missing? Don't let what you do know blind you from what you don't.
Look down the road.
What impact will your decision have one year in the future? Imagining the expected outcome of the decision will help you identify any weaknesses.
Seek additional perspectives.
Any decision you make by yourself is weakened by an inherent lack of viewpoints. Work to unwind your personal bias by building a tightly knit team of people you trust with varied perspectives and strengths (two to three collaborators is best).
Write it down.
Put your decision, its motivation, and its origin story into writing. It will increase the likelihood that you follow through and will also serve as an effective ledger against which to judge your results.
Schedule a follow-up.
After you make your decision, schedule a follow-up with your team to check in and assess for one or two months down the road. Good or bad, it's important to take a look at your progress, acknowledge successes, or pivot in places where improvement is possible.
According to the study, it was found that managers who made decisions using these common best practices achieved their expected results 90% of the time, and 40% of them exceeded expectations. That's reason enough to turn these practices into action stat.
Read up on effective decision making.
Do you live by any of these decision-making best practices? Tell us below.