Wherever you fall on the career ladder, decision-making is a definitively necessary soft skill for all professionals. Decision-making is the ability to analyze information and make appropriate choices based on said analysis. How you make decisions and their outcomes impacts both your work life and the company as a whole. Efficient decision-making increases productivity and your overall success in your career.
Additional benefits of decision making
- Save on time and resources
- Prevents mistakes and errors
- Maintains respect within the workplace
- Meet both personal and company goals
5 Steps to good decision making
Define your problem
Decision-making is done in response to a problem, challenge or opportunity. Before you can start the decision-making process, you need to identify your problem clearly. To help guide your decision making you should have a goal and desired outcome in mind.
Think of possible solutions
After defining your problem, compile a list of possible solutions. These solutions need to align with your desired outcome or goal. Keep in mind if this is a situation you have authority over. We face many decisions in the workplace, some of which we might be better to delegate to your superior. If this is the case, the best solution is to hand it over to a manager
You’ve come up with some solutions; now it’s time to take a closer look. Evaluate each option by examining its pros and cons. What consequences or benefits could come from each option? Choose which options come with more disadvantages than not and gradually thin out your choices.
Choose and implement the best solution
This is the step that will put everything into action. Once you weigh your options, it’s time to select the best one and execute your final decision. This is the hardest part, but don’t get intimidated. Be confident and trust your judgement!
Assess and reflect the outcome of your decision
You hope that each decision you make will be the right one, but sometimes things don’t work out. Reflect on the process and how the outcome did or didn’t align with your goal. If your result wasn’t desired, what can you do next time to make better decisions?
How to improve decision making
Like any other soft skill, decision-making takes time and practice to master. If you find you are easily indecisive, then consider the following:
i. Take a decision-making class
It sounds silly that a class like this even exists, but there are tons of online courses that help develop this skill. LinkedIn has a large selection of courses to help enhance your decision-making skills. It’s just up to you to pick the class that’s right for you.
ii. Limit choices
Part of what makes decision-making hard is being faced with too many options. Limiting your choices down to only a couple will make this process much more manageable and less time-consuming.
iii. Practice in your daily life
Even outside of work, we are faced with decisions daily. Choosing what to wear or picking an entrée at a restaurant are simple decisions we make all the time. These daily situations usually come without dire consequences, making them perfect for practicing our five steps. And with enough practice, decision-making can become an automatic process.
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