Smart Decision Making Tips by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

Most people have experienced times in their personal or professional lives when they have struggled with decision making. Some of these decisions might have minor and had limited repercussions even if a poor decision was the outcome.

Other errors in making a decision can have more significant and negative results. The wrong decisions can create conflict, add stress to a relationship, or even result in a large monetary or career loss or cost.

Tips and Strategies

People who are good at making decisions and have few regrets about their choices employ several different strategies. Implementing as many of these strategies as possible can help you to increase your effective decision-making process with any type of choice in life.

  • Understand the problem – you cannot make a decision on a solution if you do not fully understand the problem. Take the time to research and learn about the underlying issues with a major decision, including gathering more information rather than relying on limited information.
  • Consider the options – many types of decisions seem like a choice between one solution or another. These types of decisions include the yes or no decisions, or the choose Plan A or Plan B options. However, there are often more options than the two that are immediately visible and on the surface.
  • Evaluate the options – take the time to consider the short and long-term impact of the decision. Is it a short-term fix that creates another problem or is it a solution that will move the company, relationship, or the issues forward with a positive impact?
  • Recognize the risks – there are often risks with any decision. Making a change is typically moving into the unknown and moving out of your comfort zone. Be aware of the risks and consider the consequences of making the change and incurring the risk.
  • Look for patterns – often, decisions that seem unique are similar to events that have happened in the past either to you personally or that you are aware occurred to someone else. Reviewing those past events can provide insight into any decision’s options, risks, and potential pros and cons.

No Decision Is a Decision

It is important to realize that not making a decision does, in fact, become a decision. If you choose not to act on something, it will still either change without your input or continue to remain the same. If either of these choices creates a negative result, failure to make the decision pushes you into the high-risk, negative consequences option.

Taking the time to consider options and work through a strategic overview of options and possibilities does not need to take hours, days, or weeks. The more you practice a strategic approach to decision making, the more confident you will be in making decisions within the required timeframe and feeling confident about your choice.