Should we continue or abandon this project? Which candidate should you choose to join the team? Should you hold this meeting in the morning or afternoon? Which provider should you trust for this task? At work, making decisions is part of our daily tasks, no matter what job post you hold.
Making a decision is making a choice which leads us into the unknown. We don’t know if the decision we are going to take is the right one and what its consequences will be. This is why it’s not always easy to decide and why some decisions are more difficult to make than others. A bad decision can have negative consequences on your project, your company, and even your career. However, decision making is inevitable to move forward and to reach your goals.
Here are 6 tips to help you make the right decisions.
1. Keep your goals in mind
Satisfy the customer, finish the project on time, increase turnover, increase the visibility of the company etc., each of the decisions you make should allow you to achieve your goals. So, before you make a decision, you have to make sure that you are going to move forward in the right direction. For this you need to know the direction in which you are heading, hence the need to know your goals and not lose sight of them.
2. Weigh up the pros and cons
Do you have a little time to make your decision? Use this time to identify all possible solutions to resolve your problem. This includes easy solutions as well as the most difficult or most expensive to implement.
Then, for each of these solutions, list the advantages, disadvantages, and difficulties of implementation. Finally, establish how each of these decisions will impact the project, your team, customer satisfaction and the business.
A decision isn’t made lightly, and each decision should be carefully analysed according to the context. Most importantly, it is essential to take into account and anticipate the possible repercussions of all aspects of your project. With this technique, you have all of the data in hand to make the best possible decision.
3. Trust your intuition
We don’t always have the time to weigh out the pros and cons before making a decision. So when you have to make a choice quickly or in a hurry, listening to your body and emotions can be a big help. Intuition is a powerful and invaluable tool which we tend to forget. It’s a shame because sometimes we look for answers that we already know deep down.
Our body and emotions often turn out to be good indicators of the decisions we have to make. If you hesitate, are sad, uneasy, nervous, angry or scared when making a decision, it would seem that the decision is not the right one. Conversely, if you feel enthusiastic, excited, relaxed, or in a state of general well-being, do not hesitate.
Another factor to take into consideration when making a decision is the body signals which accompany emotions. For example, physical pain, muscle tension, a headache, stomach ache, accelerating heartrate or chills are all indicators that should not leave you indifferent when making a choice.
4. Consult your team
As project leader or manager, you work with a team of competent and experienced colleagues. So, when you are confronted with a tricky problem or a major decision, don’t hesitate to call on their experience and expertise to help you.
Gather your team and ask them what they think about the situation and what their advice is for a successful outcome. Not only will your employees see the problem from a different perspective than you do, they will certainly suggest to you some ideas and solutions which you haven’t thought of. Close these exchanges by making a joint decision. Moreover, this technique allows you to involve your team and show them that you have confidence in them.
Because there is strength in unity, you will inevitably make a better decision by being well supported and advised rather than by remaining alone. You can also ask your supervisor or more experienced project managers to help you make a difficult decision.
5. Make sure you have a plan B
You made a mistake and you made a bad decision. Rest assured, everyone makes mistakes. This is how we learn. However, where you will make the difference is by owning your mistake, knowing how to bounce back and resorting to a plan B.
So, in the event of a tricky decision, plan a back-up solution that you can quickly put in place to avoid any disaster. In addition to saving the day, you will be admired for your judgement and efficiency.
6. Know that no decision is irreversible
Do you know Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos’ secret to make decisions? They practice the two-way door decisions method, otherwise known as reversible decisions.
In a blog article, Richard Branson says, “in general, most of the decisions we make are not necessarily definitive, they are reversable decisions. Even if they seem irreversible, in reality it is possible to go back. You can walk through the door, see how you feel and come back to the other side that doesn’t work. For a business that tries to be innovative, its leaders must make as many reversible decisions as possible.
So don’t be scared to go back when you have made a decision that turns out to be unsuccessful.
To sum up
“I never lose. Either I win, or I learn.” Nelson Mandela.
This quote by Nelson Mandela summarizes the state of mind you should be in when making a decision. Whatever the outcome of your decision, focus on the positive, it will make your decision easier. And most importantly, remember that no decision is irreversible.
Bonus: are you having difficulty solving a problem? Discover two problem-solving methods that you absolutely need to know.