Crossing the Bridge: How to Make Good Decisions
Although it sounds trite, decision-making is something we all have to go through at least once every single day. The decision can be as simple as choosing what color of shoes to wear, to as complex as deciding how to tell your boss that you would like to move on and find another job. From clothing to ethics, decision-making is a major task we have to face, and we cannot afford to do it poorly.
So how does one make a good decision?
There are five main points to bear in mind when you are about to make a decision:
• You are not alone – Consider those who may be affected by your decision. If you can, get these people aside and increase their commitment to the decision’s outcome.
Remember as well that there are decisions that are not yours to make, so think twice before making a decision on your own.
• You are not judging people – Making a decision is not necessarily choosing between right and wrong, or choosing the lesser evil. If you take this weight off your shoulders, you will feel a lot less stressed, and be much more ready and lucid to make the decision.
What you do have to remember is that making a decision means that you are choosing among alternatives, so make sure that you make a choice based on principle, not on people or appearances.
• You should not be in a hurry – Avoid making decisions on the spot. Don’t hurry yourself. Remember that making the right decision at the wrong time is as bad as choosing the wrong alternative at the right time.
Take time in making your decision. Involve those who will be directly affected by it, and brainstorm alternative solutions. This is your chance to gather fresh ideas and opinions, which can allow you to make a better decision.
• You cannot map everything out in your head – As you take your time in making your decision, grab a piece of paper, get a pen, and take down notes. Write down all your ideas so you can see what information and data are involved in the making of your decision.
For each alternative to be considered, make two columns, one listing down the pros or advantages of choosing that alternative, and another assigned to the cons or disadvantages of making that choice. This way, you can clear your mind and remove any distractions that may keep you from concentrating on the decision you have to make.
• You should not hang on to unnecessary baggage – Accept that you are not a perfect person, and that you cannot perfectly predict, with full certainty, that your decision is correct. If you thought your decision through, took your time, and discarded all other alternatives, then regret nothing and stop worrying.
Remember that decisions are made at a certain time because they were the right ones to be made during that time. This timeliness of the decision and the decision-making process also means that you cannot dwell on what you have done, and you must move on and focus on what you should do next. Set aside the speculation and tackle other problems.
Decision-making involves the people around you, and your immediate environment. If you take your time, map out your ideas, and write everything down, you won’t end up regretting your decision – and your colleagues will be glad that they gave you the decision-making task.