8 things you always knew you needed to make the right decisions

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I work with many people to make key decisions for their business and their life. Many of them are usually perplexed especially if the situation is recurring and when they have done just about everything they could think of to eradicate the problem. This stresses them up, leading to ever-decreasing quality of solutions. A truly vicious cycle. But it does not need to be this way. Here are 8 things you probably knew but did not necessarily put in place to solve your problems.

1. What do you really want?

Dive deeper into your reasons. Look out for what you are really after. Sometimes we get really busy doing things and we miss the forest for the trees. Step back first and get really clear about what you are after.

2. Research

Certainly without information, we cannot make a good decision. Research as much as time will allow you. You need to see if there are precedents out there that can help you get to the right decision. Sometimes, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

3. Talk to people

They will give you another perspective. Seek out people whom you know will call it like it is, rather than blow smoke up your you-know-where. And before you decide to discard their thoughts, see if there isn’t some truth to it. This will then lead you to…

4. Question your assumptions

We are all framed one way or another. It is not a bad thing. Yet we need to be aware that assumptions can be wrong and if we didn’t question them, we might go down the wrong track, all the while reinforcing that point of view. Lay down your assumptions and then test them.

5. Dig deeper

There has been a growing tendency to remain on the periphery when solving problems. We take the immediate cause to deal with a bad effect. Many a times, the real cause may be embedded deeper in the system. You need to step back, dig deeper and then uncover what is the true centre of gravity and then apply your solutions there. You will find that they can be simple but very effective.

6. Focus on what you can do

I am amazed by how people try to focus on doing things that they know they cannot possibly have any effect on; these could be natural terrain or phenomena, actions of others, or even stakeholder constraints. Instead of trying to move the mountain away, we need to acknowledge its effect on our decision, and work with it, sometimes directly incorporating it into the decision. By separating what we can - and cannot - do, and focusing on the ones that we have direct impact over, we increase the likelihood of a faster success.

7. Monitor your progress

Another thing that amazes me in terms of decision-making is that once the decision is made, many people assume that it will lead to a smooth and plain-sailing outcome. Most times, it will not and we need to monitor its progress, to see just where it is going. This means we need to have metrics to measure the path.

8. Expect to course-correct

Point 7 really then leads us finally to this – that you need to expect to correct the course of your decision. Having this expectation will therefore mean that you monitor the progress, and also have trigger points for change. If you don’t establish these boundary markers, you might be traversing a minefield without knowing it! No decision is perfect and to be successful, you need to input corrections all the time.

Conclusion

Making the right decisions starts with you embracing an open mind, questioning every detail, and seeing things from different angles. By being able to put yourself into the shoes of others in your decision, by being able to dive deeper into the real issues you are trying to solve, identifying and questioning your assumptions, and then monitoring the implementation of the decision, course-correcting when it seems to move down a different track, you WILL be successful in all your decisions!

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