Decision making is a key role for any manager or leader. Surprisingly many people struggle when it comes to taking decisions. This might be due to:
• Fear of failure
• Lack of a structured approach
• Lack of clarity
Whatever the barriers, there are 6 steps that you can follow when taking any decision.
1. Problem Definition
Before you can start to take any decisions, you need to be absolutely clear the problem you are trying to reach a decision on. One simple technique is just to write out in a sentence what the problem is that you need to take a decision on.
2. Assess the implications
All decisions have implications. If it is a decision at work, it has implications for you, your peers, your team and your superiors. Depending on the decision (e.g. a promotion at work) it may even have implications for your family, especially if it involves relocation.
3. Explore different perspectives
Perspectives are simply different lenses through which you look at the problem. By exploring different perspectives you start to get a feel for those that you are most attracted to.
4. Get clear on your ideal outcome
When you are faced with a big decision, it is easy to get lost in the detail and circumstances. An alternative is to get clear on your ideal outcome and use this ideal outcome to inform your choices. Imagine you aspire to be a CFO of a Top 100 company. By having clarity on your outcome, you can make choices on promotions and experience linked to this ideal outcome.
5. Weigh up pros and cons
Another way of looking at a decision is to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each of the options open to you. Simply listing the advantages and disadvantages of each option is a powerful way of moving forward on decisions.
6. Decide and act
Once you have gone through the previous 5 steps, commit to a choice or course of action and start to make it happen. To avoid procrastination, give yourself permission to be okay with any failings that might arise.
At the end of the day there is no magic formula for decision making. Following some simple steps and acting can however move you into the realm of effective decision maker.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.