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How to Make Better Decisions

By April 27, 2022Leadership

Do I start this post with a statistic or a gripping story? Should it be a short post or an expanded article? Focused on relationships, leadership, or organizational behavior? And when should I write it – today or tomorrow?

So many decisions.

Life is filled with decisions, ranging from simple decisions about having a second or third cup of coffee to more complex decisions that affect cities, states, and countries. Even when we’ve neurologically automated our decisions, they are still decisions. Hundreds of times throughout the day, I’m making a decision – to check email, when to use the restroom, or how to raise money for a project.

With so many decisions facing us every day, you’d think we’d be experts by now at making decisions. But we’re not. In some cases, we keep making the same bad decision hoping it will eventually transform itself into a good decision. But I do believe we can learn ways to improve our ability to make better decisions.

Recognizing that there are entire dissertations written on the science of decision making, I want to offer a simpler, easier-to-digest post on improving your decision making ability. It’s not intended to be exhaustive or exhausting. Like many of the decisions we make each day, it’s intended to be practical. Hopefully, it will help you make better decisions.

If you’ve decided you’re ready to continue reading, let’s go!

Clarity. Good decision makers clearly identify the problem or challenge they are trying to overcome. If I’m not sure what question I’m trying to answer, then any answer will do! Good decision makers ask clarifying questions before making their decision.

Information. In the world of data management, we know that information is golden. Well, let me rephrase that: good information is golden. Under normal circumstances, we have little-to-no excuse for operating with limited information. With a quick Google search, we have access to incredible amounts of information (which requires the next principle, so hold tight). Good decision makers want the right information and enough information.

Sorting. With all the information at our fingertips, it can be overwhelming. Each new page of search results opens a new rabbit trail. Without good sorting skills, these feeling of being overwhelmed can actually lead to paralysis. In other words, we don’t make any decision — not even a bad one. Learning to curate (or sort) information is vital to decision making. Why? Because not all information is equal. Some is good, some is bad.

Think past the sale. This is actually a principle from sales and marketing. It’s about anticipating consequences. It’s about looking beyond whatever the immediate decision might be to how that decision will affect other things. It might look like this: “If I we do _____, then this ______ might happen.”

Act. You haven’t made a decision when all you’ve done is think about making a decision. At some point, you’ll have to pull the trigger and make the decision. That’s why it’s called decision making and not decision thinking.

As you think about what makes for better decision making, what would you add to the conversation?

Experience and Background

  • 25+ years of senior leadership experience
  • masters in business administration (mba)
  • presenter at the WFX National Conference
  • former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
  • helped start 2 for-profit tech companies

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Coaching Opportunities

One of the things I enjoy the most is helping individuals or organizations reach their full potential.  It’s been said, “everyone wins when a leader gets better.”

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