Every day we make various decisions: what clothes to wear, what to eat, how to spend our time? Making simple decisions is not a big deal. You simply make your choice, and even if the solution is not the best, the consequences that arise rarely lead to disastrous results.
However, sometimes it becomes necessary to make decisions of a higher level: is it the person next to you, which profession to choose, which job offer should you accept?
The possible consequences of a perfect choice are so serious that your head is spinning, and confusion and indecision swallow you whole.
The more you think about which decision to make, the more you feel lost. A hint from heaven would not hurt you: “Hey you, get a job at Amazon, and you will be happy.”
Such a situation sometimes makes you avoid making fatal decisions, letting everything go by itself. However, an avoidance attitude could never be a strategy for success and happiness in life.
The constant scrolling of thoughts in the head does not help much either. Trying to predict the future is an impossible task, no matter how confident you are in the desired result.
Complex decisions require a much greater concentration of attention. These are solutions that include:
- Uncertainty. Many facts may not be known.
- Complexity. There may be many related factors.
- High risk of negative consequences. The choice of solution can have a significant impact.
- Alternatives. There may be various alternatives, each of which has its own set of uncertainties and consequences.
- Interpersonal issues. You need to predict the reactions of different people.
How to make a decision. A systematic approach
In real life situations, decisions made can often fail, because the best alternatives are not clear at first, or key factors are not accepted.
A logical and orderly process can help you make sure that you are addressing all the critical elements necessary for a successful outcome.
This approach will eliminate the likelihood of ignoring important factors.
The decision-making system approach consists of the following steps:
- Define your purpose.
- Examine the situation in detail.
- Generate alternatives.
- Analyze the options.
- Choose the best solution.
- Rate your decision.
- Implement the solution.
1. Define your purpose
People who are ultimately able to make the wrong decisions often really don’t know what they really want.
Before you quit your job and change your field of activity, ask yourself: do you really need a career in another field, or do you just want to change your current manager?
Do not make a decision based on an incorrectly defined goal.
2. Examine the situation in detail
Before you can make a decision, you need to make sure that you fully understand the situation.
It may be a matter of defining your goal, but most likely there are a number of interrelated factors.
For example, a decision made can have side effects and adversely affect other areas, which makes such a decision counterproductive.
Look at the overall situation. Start by looking at the solution in the context of the existing problem for which it is intended.
You can also analyze the root causes of the problem to trace the origins of the problem.
Once you have uncovered the root cause, identify the problem using an estimate of the maximum amount of information that you have, and using inductive reasoning, draw valid conclusions based on the facts.
In addition, you should examine the problem from different perspectives to make sure that the information available is sufficient.
3. Generate alternatives
The more options you develop and research, the better your final decision will be.
At the beginning of generating various options, it may seem that finding a solution is complicated, but creating alternatives makes you dig deeper and look at the problem from different angles.
Thus, you use creative abilities that will help you go beyond the usual patterns of thinking and identify truly innovative solutions.
In addition, you can involve other people in the development and discussion of various options for solving by brainstorming.
4. Analyze the options
When you are satisfied with your choice of alternatives, it’s time to assess the reality of their implementation, the possible risks and consequences of each of them.
Almost every decision is associated with some degree of risk. Risk analysis allows you to consider the options obtained objectively and reduce the likelihood of adverse events.
Don’t forget to evaluate the compliance of the options with your goals.
5. Choose the best solution
The next step after analyzing the alternatives is choosing a solution.
If there is an option that is clearly better than the others, your choice will be obvious.
If there are various criteria for making a choice, you can use the analysis of the decision matrix:
- Create a table.
- Enter your options in the lines.
- In the columns, enter the names of the criteria that affect the selection.
- Determine the importance of the criteria on a scale of 1 to 5 points.
- Count the number of points for each solution.
6. Rate your decision
At this stage, it is time to draw up a “checklist” of your decision. In retrospect, in any case, you will be able to determine what ultimately went wrong, but it is much better to take preventive measures.
Before you start implementing your decision, evaluate it with a long and unemotional look to be sure that mistakes are excluded, and you were thorough in making your choice.
Determine that the final decision itself is as good as your analysis of the facts.
Make sure that your information is trustworthy and that you have done everything possible to avoid using questionable data and a subjective assessment. This will help you avoid bias.
Discuss your preliminary findings with stakeholders so that they can identify gaps, make recommendations, and support your decision.
Listen to your intuition, and then calmly and methodically test the assumptions, using your experience and inner flair. If you have any doubts, carefully analyze them to understand what is bothering you.
7. Implement the solution
Once you have made your decision, you should let everyone in touch in an attractive and inspiring way.
Ask them to participate in the implementation of the decision by discussing how and why you came to your decision. The more information you provide about the risks and predicted benefits, the more likely you are to get support from other people.