Are you making good decisions?

It’s more than an action, it’s a process.

Explore the top pitfalls and biases of decision making

Being a strong and decisive decision maker is essential to leading and leading confidently.  Consider how your decision making can be strengthened, and how to improve decision making in your team.

Because strengthening decision-making in your team can increase engagement, buy-in and commitment to decisions.

Decision making is a process. Most of us think of it as an action. A thing we do. Sometime easy sometimes more complex.

Sometimes we go with our gut, sometimes we find data to support our decisions.

And as a leader, this matters. Because when we make decisions or don’t, others are watching us. Taking their cues from us. Learning from us.

Let’s start by defining it.

From Wikipedia:  In psychology, decision-making is regarded as the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several possible alternative options, it could be either or irrational.

Decision-making process is a reasoning process based on assumptions of values, preferences and beliefs of the decision-maker. Every decision-making process produces a final choice, which may or may not prompt action.

There are many pitfalls to understand and avoid.  Here are 5 that I see the most in leaders I work with.

Key pitfalls of poor decision making include:

  1. Not making one
  2. Not clearly identifying the problem or purpose
  3. Trying to appeal to the collective
  4. Lack of options
  5. Mistaking opinions as facts; aka not relying on facts and evidence

Instill discipline and quality in your decision-making process by using a structured framework.

There are several tools that can be used that aid in decision-making, including a pro/con analysis and a decision matrix.

  • Decision Matrix
  • Pro/Con Analysis

The value of the tools is discipline. Recognizing that without discipline we can fall into the trap of efficiency. How can that be a trap?

In many of my episodes I speak of our brains. An incredibly complex and amazing organ, and because its wired to be so efficient it takes shortcuts on our behalf.

And in decision making this is so true, enter biases. I’ve read statistics which say we process thought automatically versus reflectively about 90+% of the time.

Want to know what might be influencing your automatic thoughts?

Similarity:  we have a preference for what is like us over what is different; see those who are similar to us in a favorable light; hiring, promotions, delegation, development, workload management. Decisions that we make now may be more reflective of those we’ve made in the past, the ones that are like mac and cheese, comfort food.  Comfort decisions.

Experience:  we see the world through our own lens and forget to take into consideration other perspectives and viewpoints.

Confirmation:  we place more emphasis on and value on information that supports our beliefs.

Expedience:  we are threatened by uncertainty and crave certainty; we may move towards quick decisions rather than gathering information, data and facts; need for closure?

Safety:  we prefer to avoid loss, this need to protect may hold us back from risk-taking; research has shown that we prefer not to lose money even more than we prefer to gain it.

To improve your effective in decision making and those around you, consider the following practices.

  1. Discuss biases in problem solving and decision making. Your best defense is awareness and self discipline for you and others.
  2. Look at past decisions. Focus on trends or patterns that you see for yourself.
  3. Pay attention to decisions made my others (in a non-judgmental manner).
  4. Use reflective thinking. Consider decision making as a process and discipline. Give it your deliberate time and attention.

Life is the sum of all of your choices – Albert Camus