Dear Young Professional,
Have you ever thought about what really goes into making a good decision? First you need to realize that not all decisions are equal, even when the question is exactly the SAME the variables and desired outcome often are different.
Making the same decision requires a different approach. Think about it….what if you are making a decision on where to eat dinner tonight. Simple right? It depends, what is the situation or “context” in which this decision is being made?
Situation #1 Making the decision for yourself – you may consider how much time you have (will you have fast food, go the grocery store and cook or dine at a restaurant?) Variables are few and decision is straightforward as it only impacts you.
Situations #2 First Date dinner decision – in this decision you are trying to create a memorable experience. The cuisine, restaurant vibe “fun and funky” or “quiet with reputation for impeccable cuisine” which one you choose says a lot about you.
If the date is going well you may want to pick a place that has a bar or coffee house with music for after dinner conversation to continue, so now the neighborhood is a factor. And not that there is any pressure, but you could just be meeting the love of your life so the risk is high, would hate to not have a second date if one was desired, all because you made a poor decision.
Then there is decision making in relationships, be it professional or personal. You and those around you have a preferred communication style. Maybe you are a people-oriented person who is quick to make decisions to keep things moving. Maybe you are a task-oriented person who needs data and time to think about the decision before acting.
Balancing both of these approaches is what makes great decisions. Regardless of your style, you can follow these 5 steps to guide your decisions:
1. Understand the Objective(s) – Dinner decision for myself, deadline tonight 2. Consider the Alternatives – fast food, delivery, cook 3. Assess the Risk – low only impacts you 4. Make the Best Possible Decision – Chipotle sounds good 5. Take Action and Monitor – Stop on way home pick up Beef/Chicken bowl – YAY hunger pain gone.
Sometimes people “get stuck” in trying to make a decision. The higher the risk or complexity the more overwhelming it can be. Remember there is always more than one right answer, so what you are striving to achieve is the best answer for the context in which you are making the decision.
If you break it down into smaller decisions, or questions it’s easier to work through the process. If the risk is high you want to make sure you spend enough time getting clarity in understanding the objective(s) and list as many possible alternatives. This increases your outcome is the best possible decision.
Let me also note for you as you are working through this model, when listing alternatives, it’s important not to judge. Working alone or with others, get the ideas on alternatives listed. As you work through the process of putting those in context against the objectives they will start to filter in or out of the possibilities.
So what decision is on your plate now?
Fondly, Aunt Kris