Be a Better Decision Maker in 2017

Every day, we are bombarded with decisions to make, big and small. They aren’t always easy to see, but they permeate every part of our lives. Good decision making is all the more important for anyone that wants to start a successful startup, but it’s not always an easy talent to foster. Let’s look at a few ways to hone this all important skill to be a better decision maker in the coming year.

Build a base of knowledge

The best decisions are made when you are as conscious of as many possible ideas and perspectives as possible. If you can take in all that knowledge and synthesize it into something actionable then you’ve pretty much got it made.

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about “bubbles”, narrow perspectives, and a general lack of understanding about the world around us. It’s critical that a good leader and a good decision-maker take the time to understand as many perspectives as possible. This will not only make you a better problem-solver, but a better manager of people.

Be curious about the world. Read widely, question everything, and make sure that you know what you are talking about, especially if it’s particularly relevant to the work that you are doing. This simple effort of expanding knowledge will improve your communication, your capacity to judge every factor when a problem comes up, and the pool of potential options on how to change your business for the better.

Think steps ahead

This is a phrase that people say a lot, but it’s an incredibly difficult thing to actualize in your own mind. Luckily, it doesn’t take a genius to imagine the permutations of a given decision, but what it usually takes is a different way to think.

We have a hard time as humans taking the thoughts in our head and putting them in order. But one of the ways that we seem to be incredibly effective at doing it is with stories. Stories have a logical progression. With stories, it’s much easier to think of how a decision will cascade into an effect and then how you can act off that effect.

If you can take your thought processes and put them down on paper, maybe even in the form of an outline or a storyboard, you can not only visualize how a business decision will play out, but you can situate each and every one of them in the broader context.

Don’t be afraid to commit

Not only is storytelling an incredibly effective way to organize your thoughts, but it’s more exciting too. Decision making can be arduous, even paralyzing at times. If you can situate yourself as a character, as a hero that’s going to go through ups and downs, those decisions might not seem so stressful.

This doesn’t mean they are less important or less meaningful or that they should be made flippantly. But the fact of the matter is that decisions need to be made and it takes a long-term mindset to recognize that not everyone decision will break you, and you can always recover in the future.

Be confident in your future self, be confident that you can recover, and improve with any mistake, and you will be the hero of your own story.

— ZK

Ed Lynes13p5Comment