Mastering the decision making process is crucial for both life and leadership. However, many people find themselves overwhelmed by choices, plagued by indecision, and stressed by analysis paralysis. Fortunately, it’s possible to overcome all of this and learn to make great decisions. Whether you’re struggling to make a specific decision, often second-guess yourself or have post-decision regret, or simply want to add some extra tools to your decision-making toolkit, this article will provide a comprehensive guide to conquering the decision-making process.
The Three P’s of the Decision Making Process
The decision-making process revolves around three core elements: perspective, process, and preference. Here’s a closer look at each of these:
Perspective: what to think about when making a decision
One of the keys to making good decisions is developing a better understanding of the decision itself, which is where perspective comes into play. Here are some important things to consider:
Put the Decision in Context
It’s easy to get bogged down by small decisions, but if you want to make the right personal or business decision, start by rating the importance of the decision on a scale of one to five, with five being a very critical decision to your life (career change, who to marry, or whether to have kids) and one being fairly innocuous, with smaller effects (what meal to order or whether to comment on a social media post).
Whether we realize it or not, we make decisions based on our own personality, beliefs, values, and fears. It’s therefore critical to know yourself, so that you can make better decisions that align with your goals and values.
Learn to Satisfice
Maximizers want to make the absolute best decision, but this often leads to analysis paralysis, stress, and regret. On the other hand, satisficers seek to find what is “good enough” that meets most of their needs or requirements. Learning to satisfice instead of maximize can help you make faster decisions with less regret.
Accept That You Won’t Always Like Your Decision
Often, people hesitate to make a decision because they don’t like the decision–even when they know it’s the best decision. It’s important to recognize that even if a decision is right, it may not be easy to make.
Identify Which Decisions to Streamline
The more decisions that we make, the less energy we have to make wise decisions. This is called decision fatigue. Automating decisions in your daily life can help reduce decision fatigue and free up space for more important ones.
Process: the steps for making a decision
The next step in mastering the decision-making process is to follow a defined set of steps that can help simplify the decision. Here are seven key steps:
1. Outline the Goal and Outcome
Get crystal clear on the problem you’re trying to solve and the desired outcome.
2. Gather Data
Get the relevant information you need to make an informed decision.
3. Develop Alternatives
Brainstorm and identify your options. You want to make sure you have enough options to make a good decision, but not so many that you feel overwhelmed.
4. List Pros and Cons
In this step, weigh the evidence and identify the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
5. Make the Decision
There comes a time when you have to choose based on the information you’ve collected.
6. Immediately Take Action
Once you’ve made your decision, the next step is to take action quickly.
7. Learn and Reflect
Reflect on your decision making process, understand the consequences and results of your decision, and use that information to improve future decision-making.
Preference: identifying your best strategies for decision-making
Finally, the third component of the decision-making process is identifying the strategies that work best for you. Here are some effective strategies:
Listen to Your Inner Voice
Trust your gut to solve the problem.
Identify the Risk and Reward
Determine whether the reward is worth the risk and whether the benefit is worth the cost.
Phone a Friend
Consider getting help from a best friend or mentor to walk you through the relevant questions and reveal your thinking.
Use Your Learning Preference
Understand your preferred learning style: whether you’re a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic decision-maker.
Make the best choice with the information you have and what you feel is best, and then start moving.
Leverage Your Emotions
Understanding how your emotions affect your decision-making can help you to make better decisions.
In conclusion, mastering the decision-making process is essential for achieving success in both life and leadership. We make tens of thousands of decisions daily, and having a clear perspective, following a defined process, and identifying your best strategies for decision-making can all help you to make better, faster decisions with less regret. What’s more, by taking a more proactive approach to the decision-making process, you can unlock your true potential and achieve greater success in all areas of your life and leadership.