If you google what the most underrated skill is, the result will shock you. And according to Forbes, “You can get pretty far in your career without anyone really noticing that you don’t have it or can’t apply it well.” The skill is Effective Decision Making.
Remember the Samsung Note 7 disaster? Their phone was a ticking bomb for their users at that time because of a faulty battery. Over a thousand accidents happened including injuries and property damage. Later, the phone was banned in airports and in many countries. Samsung’s market share value went down dramatically.
See, before this distribution and marketing, a group of well-experienced people took this decision which was really the worst decision of their lifetime.
It doesn’t matter in which situation or in what type of organization you are working, every successful step depends on good decision making. From the beginning to the end of our lives, the decision is the key that opens or closes doors depending on the type. The higher you go up the career ladder, decision-making is all you do and your every decision gets tougher.
A fictitious scenario of good decision-making
Try to visualize this from a leader’s shoe where your company needs to start a new sector in delivery services. Now,
To make an effective decision, you need to identify the core problem first, and before solving it, you must think of the outcome of that problem before making any decision.
Example: This delivery service depends on the delivery person, so the problem involves their need for training and the increase in other costs.
Solutions and Actions:
For every decision you make, you need to anticipate the outcome and some logical consequences, and this will help you to analyze the risk and uncertainty which can come from any direction.
One example of a solution could be that the HR department should hire only experienced delivery men.
Measure the results:
You need to think of some alternatives and the capability to explain and understand why you should follow this particular decision and not the others.
For example, why not inexperienced? Why not low payment?
Advantages and disadvantages:
Discuss every pro and con with the team to understand every step.
Experienced men do not need training (an advantage). Experienced men require more payment (a disadvantage).
The skills you need to develop to be an effective decision maker include:
Having a good lead capability:
Think of yourself as the leader of the XYZ project. Now if you can’t manage your project members, can’t assign them a suitable job, you can’t expect an outcome that will help you to decide what your next move will be. So you have to be a good leader.
You must train your brain to solve problems in many ways. Later, you’ll be able to solve your daily problem with a well-thought-out solution based on quick and effective decisions.
You must ensure every possible way of getting advantage-disadvantage from the core problem. This will help you to have a better vision of the future.
This is the psychology part where it depends if you are going to trust your senses or not. The entire process is based on your previous experiences and how you learned from them. Here you need to make a balance between your instinct and present data.
If you can’t work alongside your team, you won’t get any opinions from them, which most of the time is bad for decision-making.
You have to be aware of your emotions. A bit of uncontrolled emotion can ruin the whole project. So you have to take care of your emotions before making any final decisions.
A perfect balance between logic and emotion creates creativity and helps you to come up with a unique solution. So practice finding a balance between the logical side and the emotional side.
Since every decision has to be made at a fixed time, you should learn to make this possible by creating small steps from a big problem.
When you start to develop those mentioned skills, you will start to do better, but here you will need to learn the process.
Effective Decision Making Don’ts:
Never work first and ask questions later.
- If you do something first and question the consequences later, it won’t make any difference. Because of doing the job in the first place, the result will be an absolute point.
Never act without thinking.
- If you think of doing something as soon as possible is good, it will shatter the whole process of effective decision-making.
Never put ego in between you and your goal.
- The ego never helps to make a good decision rather than ruining it.
Never ignore data.
- If you start to think without data and facts related to your goal, it will just waste your time and will deliver a bad decision.
Effective Decision Making Dos:
Start with the end in mind:
- First, think about what you want to achieve. Like the situation above, you want a delivery system where anyone can have their product at home, and your customer can track every step. So do a group discussion which can help you to work on the initial ideas.
Focus on Data:
- Always cope with data and stats. This helps to anticipate future outcomes and gives you more control over the future. Here you can use risk management or data analysis software like Excel or Google Analytics.
Using the Formula:
- There are many types of formulae like SWOT, Porter’s, pastel, etc. These formulas help to make an organized and constructive decision.
Visualizing the outcomes:
- With the help of imagination, art, and science, you can visualize the full process. Like how the delivery man goes, how the tracking works, the problems in between these processes etc. There are many tools to make this possible. But initially, you have to break down every manageable part, find out the right component to solve and use your team’s help to provide insight on missing issues.
Trusting your senses:
- Doing previous work, you will have a sense of which part is right and which part is not. Once you start to trust these senses with better proof, you will make more efficient decisions. Just keep solving more problems, learning from previous mistakes, and listening to your teammates and you will do better.
Effective decision-making is a very important skill in all stages of our career, starting with our personal life.
- Hypothetical situation:
- Never do the following:
- Try to do the following:
- Skills you need to develop: