One of the most important skills you need to have as a manager is that of decision making. But here's the problem: indecisiveness can impede the efforts of even the most adept decision makers. Fortunately (insert sarcasm!), there are hundreds of ways to approach decision making and even more books and opinions on the matter. In this post, I want to share the three inclinations to indecisiveness I discovered during my development as a manager, and three methods to overcome them.
Decision making overload
When I first became a manager, I was given some sage advice by one of the engineering greybeards: the ability to make results-oriented decisions could make or break a career.
I realized that I had a lot to learn.
So I read whatever I could about decision making theory and practice. A lot. I sought out opinions about decision making from anyone who would offer them. Who knew that flipping a coin would be a method alive and well in the business world?
I went to grad school to study systems engineering and analytical methods for holistic decision making. And of course, I made a lot of decisions – good and not so good – along the way and measured the results to determine the methods that worked and those that didn’t.
What I discovered are the three things that contribute to indecisiveness, and three methods to power through them. My approach here isn't to offer another opinion; rather, condense the methods I've used and watched other leaders successfully employ to make results-oriented decisions critical to their business.
The inclination to indecisiveness
Making decisions is hard and mentally taxing, and more often than not, we default (even for a short time) to a state of indecisiveness. The inclination to indecisiveness can be summed up in the following three points:
To power through the impenetrable wall of indecisiveness, here are three methods to help you make better decisions, faster.
3 proven methods to cover 99% of your decision making
In my last blog post, I identified the 3 main types of decisions (low risk, medium risk, high risk) and the three factors to consider for each (people, impact, complexity). Here are the three proven methods to use when making either type of decision.
1. Use your intuition
2. Use a pro/con list (T-chart)
3. Use a decision matrix
Stay off the pot
Spend your time and energy where it counts. Use your intuition for lower risk, more routine decisions and make them quickly.
Invest your time in high risk decisions and use an appropriate method like a decision matrix to guide you. With this method, you’ll make more high-quality decisions, faster, and with a better outcome.
Send me an email or comment below if you’d like access to simple templates for the pro/con list and decision matrix tools, or if you’d like more information about any of the topics discussed in this post.