Decisiveness is an important skill. It is valued in organizational life and needed for individuals.
While we all make decisions everyday (whether or not to brush our teeth, what to have for breakfast, whether to turn on the TV or change the channel), we aren’t all decisive in the ways that will help us be most productive and successful.
This article gives you tools to help you do just that.
I hope you will think about the decisions that you ponder; the ones that are hard to make – or the ones you avoid altogether – for it is those decisions, not the everyday “easy” ones, that this advice can help you with the most. When you apply these ideas you will make these types of decisions:
- More quickly
- With greater confidence
- More accurately
And all of those things lead to greater productivity and success! Interested in those results? Read on . . .
Making effective decisions starts with knowing where you are going. Before you make productivity decisions you must have:
The starting point for making decisions that lead to higher productivity is a clear goal. For example, if the decision involves problem solving, do you know what the problem really is? If not it will be harder to make an accurate, confident decision. If you are clear on your short and long term goals, and consider them in your thinking, you make more effective and productive decisions.
A clear why.
Goals are great, and targets are important. And, even more important is understanding why you wish to reach the goal. It’s your whys that drive you in the right direction, even when you aren’t sure the goal is on target or you feel the changing world requires a new goal. Consider your why as your true north. When you know your “whys”, you will be more comfortable making decisions that affect them.
Once you’re clear on where you’re going, here are three things to help you make decisions more effectively:
A clear risk perspective.
When considering a course of action compare it to your why. Will that course of action move you further and perhaps faster to your goals? If so, that helps you decide! Risk is about what could go wrong; often we are immobilized by the risk of a mistake or failure. Ask yourself – what is the worst thing that could happen if you take that course of action? If you can live with that, get on with it! If you can’t, consider the chance of it actually that happening and, more importantly, how you can reduce that risk!
Asking the right questions.
When thinking about risk, I suggested a question. In fact throughout this article I am implying questions! Here are some others to consider along with, and beyond, risk:
- What is most important to you now?
- What is the best that could happen?
- What do the facts say?
- What does my intuition say?
- What is it costing to wait or delay this decision (or can I afford to delay it)?
There certainly are many other potentially relevant questions, but these are a great starting point!
Aligning to your reasons.
This refers back to the beginning – your targets (goals) and your true north (whys). When making decisions, ensure alignment by:
- Remembering your goals and whys.
- Reminding yourself of your goals and whys.
- Reviewing your goals and whys (regularly).
- Refreshing your goals and keeping them connected to your whys.
And then, once you have this all in place, make your decision!
For bigger decisions, this analysis or thought process might take quite a few minutes, or longer. However, once you train yourself and practice these approaches (i.e. make them a habit), you will find you are able to make better, more accurate and more productive decisions, and often make them more quickly than you ever have before.
The result? You don’t just have the ability to make decisions, you are truly decisive.