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5 Steps in Good Decision Making


Every day we make decisions. Most of them we don't even realize we made because they are so insignificant and small. However, every so often a choice you make can influence the path of your day, week, and/or life.

-       Practicing and perfecting the secret art of good decision making can change your life and your leadership.

-       Making good decisions is a skill set that needs to be developed like any other.

-       Making decisions is one of the most important skills any leader must develop. 

Five steps in making a good decision

1. List your choices

Know what you have to work with. Remember that saying, "yes" to any situation means a "no" to everything else. I find it helpful to list them on a sheet of paper. Creating my choices into visuals makes them that more real to me. 

2. What is best for you now?

Most of our choices and decisions will be in the moment. We will need to make them quick and with confidence. Ask "What is the best immediately satisfying choice right now." After you make this choice, another in the moment decision will be sure to follow. Quick decisive decisions do not have to be foolish.

3. Think of Others

Most choices you make will involve others in some capacity. "How will this choice impact other important people in the situation?" If you remove this step from this formula, you become a very selfish thinking individual. I have a friend that works for Pimco, the largest bond mutual fund in the world, and the decisions the CEO has made recently affects everyone in the company. My buddy has not been home to see his wife and daughter when the sun was out for over a week now, including weekends! 

4. Think about your future

How will these possible decisions impact my future? What path is this option setting you on? Is the choice worth the consequences, good or bad, which will come out of the decision?

5. Live with your choice

Whatever choice you make you need to live with it. Living in regret for the choices you made will leave you unable to make the decisions in the future. Have no regrets when you make decisions. Take on the consequences and own your choice. If you do not like the outcome of your choice learn from it, re-evaluate the steps taken and make a better decision next time. There will always be a next time.

In Short: A responsible decision means that you must consider others and consider the future before making the choice. This means do the research, finding others to share your options with, and asking yourself how this decision will impact others and yourself.

I love what MindTools.com says about making the right decisions as a leader:

Decision making is an essential leadership skill. If you can learn how to make timely, well-considered decisions, then you can lead your team to well-deserved  success. If, however, you make poor decisions, your time as a leader will be brutally short.

Proverbs 15:22: "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed."