Can we improve our decision making skills?

Choices are the hinges of destiny.

Edwin Markham

In my previous post I wrote about how effective strategic thinking is essential for any project. And today, I go a step further, discussing the importance of developing skills for good decision making.shutterstock_104922425

Looking back, when I was younger – it seemed that making decisions went much easier comparing to my later life events, where contrary to the popular belief – “older and wiser” – indecisiveness crept into my mind. And it takes me much more time, energy, thinking, “measuring” what’s the best thing to do – in every given situation. Apparently, when we have a spectrum of different life experiences sitting in our memory, it can influence a lot our way of thinking and generally our willingness for risk taking.

Successful decision-making can be derived in 4 crucial elements:

  1. Ability to recognize the problem
  2. Possible scenarios to solve the problem
  3. Identifying one that will move us closer to the solution
  4. Make that solution happen, e.g. make decision.

In order to take perspective of all manageable scenarios we try to gather as much possible information and sometimes just get lost in between rational and irrational thinking. Intuition can be a great support, but also a misleading – the key is to find a balance and know when it’s time to take action.

In one of the recent studies, conducted by global creative agency Gyro and The Fortune Knowledge Group, it has been shown that emotion plays a huge part in executive decision making. After surveying 720 senior-level executives in the spring of 2014, study found that nearly two-thirds (65%) of executives say subjective factors that can’t be quantified (including company culture and corporate values) increasingly make a difference when evaluating competing proposals. Only 16% disagreed.

Successful people usually don’t know everything. They go forward, with their eyes fixed to the prize and ready to “jump off the cliff” – regardless of is there a net beneath to catch them.Their wings might be just strong enough to get them on “the other side”.

And next time you struggle with indecisiveness, read this poem by Robert Frost – it helps me every time:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.