Decision making—it’s part of our daily routine; we all have to make them. In business, some are more difficult than others, and some carry heavier weight. Each of us has a unique style and process in making them, but what leads to successful decision making? Why can some people consistently make better decisions than others? Is it something innate in them or might it be how they approach and frame the question at hand?
Author and Leadership Coach John C. Maxwell offered this thought on decision making in business:
“Inability to make decisions is one of the principal reasons executives fail. Deficiency in decision-making ranks much higher than lack of specific knowledge or technical know-how as an indicator of leadership failure.”
Here are some keys to making successful decisions:
Ø Define properly. Be sure to have the problem, opportunity or reason to have to make the decision clearly defined. Many times the clutter around the reason or problem causes confusion and we forget what we were trying to decide. Keep to the facts of the matter and stay laser focused.
Ø Gather your facts. A good decision maker takes the time and effort to gather all information needed to make a sound decision. In many cases it is necessary to seek information outside your normal environment.
Ø Seek counsel. A wise decision maker considers all matters and factors surrounding the decision. Seek the advice and counsel of trusted people both inside and outside your business. Another set of eyes to review the matter might reveal something you have missed.
Ø Act timely. If one acts too quickly all matters may not be considered, however, waiting too long might change the situation and the considerations you have made may no longer apply.
Ø Make the decision. Remember this—you can make the decision, but you cannot control the outcome. Does the outcome determine if you made a good decision? Not really—what determines a good decision is the process described above—did you frame the problem accurately and did you perform your due diligence before moving ahead with your decision.
One thing is for certain—we will all have an opportunity to try again and again on decision making. Take the time to make good decisions—others are depending on you.