How was the movie? Good or bad? Should we tender for that project? Yes or No? Should I hire someone else? What colour should our logo be, blue or green? When should we launch our new product?
Decisions are damn hard. We have to make so many as well. As you go about your day today, notice how many questions you answer and decisions you make. They are usually presented as binary too. ie. you can go with option A or option B.
Most of my time is spent making decisions day to day. Most of the time about things I don’t know a lot about.
Here is my process.
The red pill or the Blue Pill?
Slow down, breathe! First question, when do you need to know by? Do we need to decide now? What’s the timeline for this? Is this my decision to make?
Find out your runway. Sometimes these things just sort themselves out if you leave them alone, or the information you’re relying on to make your decision changes.
Find out the time you have and then plan.
And don’t make other people’s decisions for them. Often they are just passing on their stress and issues to you. Don’t except it, you aren’t doing them any favours taking that growth opportunity away from them. If they genuinely need guidance help, otherwise stay out if out, you’ve got enough to do!
When a decision is hard, it usually means one of two things;
- the outcome will be unfavourable in some way or to some party no matter what you do; or;
- You are making the decision with incomplete information.
Either way, you need to know you have everything you need to know.
If you know what you need to, option 2 will often disappear, making the decision easy.
Ask good questions to the right people. Find those right people. Get buy in from those around you that you trust.
Don’t be a hero, share the burden around, but know the final decision is yours and make sure others know too – You can’t be seen to be passing the buck.
Ask yourself questions, like – This decision would be easy if I knew …
Fork in the road? It is never a fork in the road. It is more like spokes on a Wheel and you are at the centre.
People who bring you problems offer you the red or the blue pill, but don’t think like that. Reframe the problem and find out what the real options are, it is rarely an x or y situation.
Maybe you have some time and can order some more tests to find that missing piece of information that is crucial to the decision? Maybe you can’t?
Risk assess each option, play the consequences of each decision out in your mind.
The best solution rarely lies at the extremes, it is somewhere in between – reframe the problem and find define your own solution.
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