The guide to effective decision making

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The most significant difference between management and the people who work under them is that managers have the responsibility of making decisions, and communicating these decisions to their team. For many managers, new ones as well as the more established, this task presents one of the greatest challenges of their role.

1. Important or Pressing? Understanding the Difference

In stressful situations in particular, it is difficult to distinguish between things that are time-sensitive and those that are important. To have many urgent but small tasks robs us of valuable time, as well as the concentration we need for more significant undertakings.

To have a system that enables us to recognize which tasks need to be tackled right away and which can be set aside until a later time is the foundation of structured decision making. Such a method keeps our concentration focused and frees up space for the more important things.

2. The Difference Between Intuitive and Analytical Decisions

When we face a new task or challenge, most of us tend to jump in rather impulsively and look for solutions. Oftentimes, however, this results in important facts being overlooked and our perspective getting narrowed.

It’s true that numerous studies have shown how experts make good, goal-oriented decisions using their gut intuition. However, these same studies also show how easily our intuition can be influenced by both external and internal factors.

This doesn’t mean we should ignore intuition in future decision-making situations. On the contrary: Trust your own intuition, while also backing up far-reaching decisions with a structured situational analysis.

3. The Structured Way to Analytical Decisions

How can we avoid getting caught up in impulsive decision making, overlooking important factors in the process? Let’s consider pilots, who draw upon metacognitive rules when making their life-or-death decisions:

· First, gather and examine available facts

· Generate as many reactions as possible based on these

· Weigh the pros and cons, and only then make a decision

This relatively simple course of action can be equally useful when applied in workplace projects and collaborative tasks. The aim is to make decisions on the basis of all relevant factors, enabling us to foresee any potential consequences of decisions before they occur.

With these three tools in your arsenal, you’ll be ready to approach decision making in an analytical, structured way, predicting potentially negative consequences and steering clear.

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