An average adult makes about 35000 decisions a day. If one had to summarize a day at work, it would something like: Decisions, Decisions, and Decisions! In fact, a manager’s competency is measured by the quality of decisions made and the outcomes achieved. As you go higher up the ladder, decision making is all you do and every decision is crucial.

I have read that successful businessmen like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg wear similar clothes every day so that they have one less decision to make and thereby use that mental capacity for other more important things. It is fascinating to me how it all finally comes down to making good decisions. And therefore I decided to dedicate a blog to simple steps for making good decisions

Start with the desired outcomes

The point of making a decision is to achieve a certain outcome so that should be a good starting point: The desired outcome; it could be about enhancing metrics like productivity or business outcomes like higher sales, or scaling the presence or solving problems like virus attacks or data leaks. When you know where you want to reach, you align your efforts with getting there and it helps minimizes distractions.

Rely on data & insights to spot patterns

In God we Trust, all others bring data.

Edwards Deming

We live in a digitally connected world where everything from watches to cars is generating volumes of data. These data sources are rich in quality and available in volumes and can be analyzed to derive valuable insights such as customer buying patterns, market behavior, employee performance drivers and cost optimization avenues, just to name a few. With these insights at hand, the decision making becomes more scientific and provides more control over outcomes.

Create scenarios

Once you look at the insights and find clear patterns, you are getting closer to arriving at the realm of decision-making possibilities. It is now time to put down the detailed scenarios on paper and list the pros and cons of each scenario. This is a crucial step in the decision making the process as you actually have something to show for your effort.

Simulate outcomes

Simulating the outcomes for the scenarios is a mix of art and science. The science part can come from methods like Issue Tree, SCQA and MECE to name a few. The art part is really one’s ability to visualize the scenario and the possible outcome. This really comes from experience, business acumen, and customer understanding.

Trust your instinct

Your mind knows only some things. Your inner voice, your instinct, knows everything. If you listen to what you know instinctively, it will always lead you down the right path.

Henry Winkler

Intuition, Gut feeling, instinct…you can call it whatever you prefer, but it is one thing that software code will never be able to replicate. Some of the world’s greatest leaders rely on their intuition to take the final decision and they swear by it. I think it is one of those things that people use every day, but undermine when it comes to making decisions.

As professionals, our growth depends on our ability to make the decision that drives outcomes. So every minute spent honing that skill is going to make the difference between being good and being the best. Time for me to go make some decisions…Hope you enjoyed the blog!