Decisions Decoded

It is an often heard statement: A business’s success is the sum of good (or bad) decisions that the managers make.

In today’s fast paced and extremely competitive world, making effective decisions has become even more necessary. So brutal is the environment that a single bad decision could cost an upcoming manager his /her career.

Sometimes decisions need to be made in the fraction of second. There is no time for a collaboration or consensus. At other times, it is a long and research intensive process. Multiple aspects perspective and opinions must be considered. Keeping this contrast in mind, employees often find it difficult to form concrete parameters which will help them make effective decisions. However, here are some guidelines which will help make you a better decision maker at work.

Understand the context

No decision can be made effectively if you do not understand its fundamental basis. Understand the problem at hand in context the various choices the stakeholders involved the consequences of the decision and its implications.

Know and research

The employee who makes the best decisions isn’t necessarily the one who is the most experienced. The best decision maker is the person who knows the organization the best. It is only when he /she is acutely aware of the firm’s current strengths weaknesses and operations that decisions will be effective. Additionally being well informed about the prevailing industry atmosphere global trends and the competition is imperative. Research is basis of good decisions. And by research mean hardcore current and verifiable facts.

At the same time don’t be over reliant on data and statistics. In the process of number crunching managers often forget the humane aspect of their decisions. Also, numbers aren’t gospel they can be misleading or unique. Many employees succumb to what we call paralysis by analysis and hence make poor decisions.

Emotions Quotient

Sometimes the best decisions don’t come from the head, but from the heart. I’ve seen some great decisions being made instinctively almost a decade ago, my organization decided to change our packaging design to rival our competitor despite not having done much market research. It was purely based on a gut feeling from the CEO. The spontaneous decision paid off.

Attitude alert

The attitude you bring to the table during the decision making process is of utmost importance. Always remember that it’s nothing personal, so leave your preconceived biases behind. Decision makers are commonly thought to be bossy dominating and all knowing. The ideal decision maker is one who listens, considers and collaborates when time permits. It’s also necessary to be flexible and open to criticism or divergent views.

Collective thought

The best decisions are often ones that stem from varied views and opinions. Collaborative decisions that involve various stakeholders are usually most effective at the workplace. Our company was planning a complete revamp of the organizational structure by redefining the operations of key divisions. We decided to involve the employees in this process as well, since they would be directly affected by the result. We were able to evolve a strategy that addressed their concerns and priorities.

Consider alternatives

One of the biggest mistakes made while taking decisions is getting stuck to a pet solution and refusing to see other alternatives. It is important to consider various alternatives to a problem. These should then be evaluated using the pre-decided criteria or parameters to come up with the best option. Also, remember to consider the trade offs or the opportunity costs involved.

While it is important to come up with a final decision it is equally important to come up with a Plan B. Be prepared for the eventuality that things may not work out as planned. At the same time it doesn’t help to be overly pessimistic. Hope for the best but he prepared for the worst.

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